We chose not to continue to eat shit

There was no way they were going to give us anything but the right to eat shit

If you missed Wednesday’s Hell World please read it here it was “One Of The Good Ones.” If you want to listen to an audio version of today’s interview you can find it here in the paid subscriber version of this post.

If you enjoyed this conversation you can see me and David Roth do something like it at The Strand Book Store on January 13 with Ashley Feinberg.

Hello I'm going to do a reading and talk with my two favorite internet writers @david_j_roth and @ashleyfeinberg at the @strandbookstore on january 13 please come look at us.

OR Books@orbooks

NYC: save the date: 1/13/20. @lukeoneil47 @ashleyfeinberg @david_j_roth ALL @strandbookstore https://t.co/jFNr2qL36g

Sometimes people will ask me who are some of my favorite writers working now and I’m like uh and then I say David Roth because it’s true but it feels like cheating sometimes because he’s my pal and he wrote a very nice blurb for my book which you can look at here.

That aside Roth is one of everyone’s favorite writers working today whether it’s about sports or about Trump a man whose brain he seems to have been able to crawl inside of better than almost anyone else and which has to be a curse for him on a personal level. Check out this piece he did for The New Republic this week about this horrible picture.

In this one, though, these vainglorious eternals somehow shamble on atop the culture even in their curdling dotage. From that commanding position they do what they do—pursue their endless blowsy feuds, scheme and carp, watch television and go on television and, where the opportunity presents itself, blithely commit various high crimes and misdemeanors. Far above the struggle and insecurity of everyday life, these brittle titans squabble and gossip and go through acrimonious and highly public divorces; for all the ways in which the toxic runoff of inequality can currently be felt in the culture, the fact that the cheesy churn of rich and petty men drifting into and pissily out of each other’s good graces now so distorts our politics is among the most enervating. It is one thing to see so much of our popular culture narrowing and flattening to suit various billionaires’ crude and idle whims, but it’s something else to realize that the political life of the richest and most powerful country on earth is in large part determined by the spats and obsessions of a super-class of aged and lazy lords, all of whom consider themselves peers of each other and virtually no one else.

Roth recently quit his job as an editor at Deadspin along with everyone else there after some money goons fucked it up real good so I asked him about the last week working there and how it feels to be Very Online like he is and I am and a lot of other things.

I just posted this Don Cherry thing in the chat but I was interested to hear your thoughts on it. Here’s the set up: The Glenn Ordway and Lou Merloni Boston sports talk radio show had Bobby Orr on. 

Lou Merloni!

They said Cherry was on Tucker Carlson last night, they were watching, and Don Cherry said Bobby Orr’s watching! Then Orr said Cherry isn’t a bigot and all this stuff. I don’t know that seems like a group of Guys you would know about. 

I’m really glad Lou Merloni’s in the mix. And is Scott Zolak still involved with things up there too?

Yeah he’s like the main broadcaster for the Patriots games!

That full employment plan for like regional backups of the 1990s is really heartening. 

Do they have that in New York?

Not as much. SNY which is the Mets network has a lot of former Mets on it, but they’re a lot more notable than… Merloni was basically like versatile and ethnically white. He had no valuable moments as a baseball player that I can recall.

They’re the show here that are so happy when there’s a Kaepernick story in the news. 

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by it, because a lot of sports radio is bad, but man Boston seems uniquely… Beyond how, broadly speaking, bad politics is the valence to all that stuff, they seem way more upset all the time than I think you can be in a town that has literally the fucking Patriots and the Red Sox in it. 

Yeah. And they don’t like me so that’s good. 

They don’t like you because of the Boston Globe thing right?

Yeah that’s the main one. I think there was something else before I don’t even remember. 

That’s a shame you’re such a nice fellow. 

You’re stepping on all sorts of my questions here! I was going to say it’s very flattering occasionally when one or two people will say Oh I like David Roth and Luke O’Neil’s writing, and that’s a compliment to be mentioned next to you. But the difference is everyone likes you and people seem to think I’m an asshole. How do you manage that?

I think it’s just… tweet volume. I’ve met you. You seem nice. It’s just, I don’t know. I wouldn’t get mad as much… I think if I had stayed freelance longer you and I would be much closer in terms of our public persona. I got soft because I had health insurance for years so I was just like go along to get along. 

Well now maybe you can get your edge back. 

Yeah I’ve radicalized myself. It’s getting real bad now. 

Does anybody hate you? Are there pockets of David Roth haters?

Yeah I think so. There are like people who seem to think I’m overrated. And as with any of this stuff there’s always like fucking psychopaths, like anime Nazi dudes. There was one dude that would write emails to Deadspin over and over again and fixate on a certain writer. There was a guy who kept changing his email address because people would keep blocking him. It was this artless thing where he would call you a cuck every two days. There’s that guy. He’s out there. There’s another guy that would write me more composed emails about… Most of them were whatever… You ever get things from reactionaries or conservative people where it’s just like a list of things they think of as cultural signifiers about Libs and...fruits? It’s like I bet you drink pumpkin beer in your skinny jeans on mass transit with black people. That guy stayed at it for a long time. He even sent me something the day we were all resigning. I was like I’m going to treat myself and not open this. But he would really try to make me feel bad, like, talk about my video appearances or say my posture was bad. And that was stuff that was actually true, so it was harder to take. But I haven’t made a lot of enemy enemies I think just because I don’t really want it. There are people who I think are bullshit, and certainly things I don’t like, but I feel like the idea of having a spat with another writer feels like… You know I’m not a young man. I have only so many hours left on Earth. 

I don’t know if this is going to sound like a lie but I have really stopped doing that. 

No you have. I credit it to the newsletter thing. I think professionally you’re finally enjoying success. When you were freelancing hardcore the volume of what you were doing was so ridiculous. To do all that then to come home with the lower end of what qualifies as a living salary in a city like Boston, I would’ve been fuming all the time too. 

Yeah I was angry all the time but I came to this realization that sometimes I will pop off with the meanest shit in the world at like Brian Stelter or Jake Tapper, and I’ll be so mad for thirty seconds, then it drains out of my brain and I completely forget about it. So it occurred to me that people who pop off at me that’s probably the same thing. They’re not walking around like fucking Luke O’Neil, it’s just like an orgasm of annoyance. And when you think about it that way… I don’t fucking hate… I mean I think he sucks as a broadcaster and a journalist but who cares. 

Yeah the only moment you’re thinking about them is like that classic Twitter behavior when somebody brings you a dead bird like did you see that Jake Tapper thing and you’re like oh yeah that was real bad I’m gonna yell at him. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. The idea that anybody would know or care enough about me to hate me…Maybe that’s something for me to aspire to or look forward to, but I don’t think... I don’t know. Generally I’m nice to people I am nice to. Whatever, Brian Stelter, I don’t think it matters to him how I feel or how you feel. 

Right. I don’t think so either. He must make at least a million dollars a year. 

Do any of those guys ever respond to you?

Sometimes. And again I’m doing it less now, but I’m furious and fired up all the time about, you know, the profession in general, and the way they won’t just say that things are the way that they are, but it’s more generalized. 

You said you’re going to therapy pretty soon. I was curious if your therapist is Online or media literate in any way. 

I think not that much. He follows the news and he reads and he follows sports, so if I get there on time, which is always a dicey proposition with me being me, he’ll treat me to five minutes on the Knicks or something like that which is always nice to do. He wants me to send him links to my stories sometimes cause I’ll tell him about stuff I’m working on, so I’ll send him that. He’s read a decent amount of my stuff, but I don’t think he’s like out there like… He’s not on Twitter or anything. 

It’s probably better that way.

Definitely. The Twitter version of me is not super far from the actual person that I am, but even that is much more confrontational and angry about stuff than I am. I have an Instagram account I hardly ever put anything on, just like pictures of my niece or nephew or whatever. A nice vacation shot. 

Gas tanks. 

Yeah me standing next to a gas tank. Anything where I look kind of jowly and I’m photographed from too close or a bad angle. I like to put it out there so people can see. So the sort of people that show up in your mentions on Twitter… I have a few hundred followers on Instagram, it’s not a thing I try to cultivate. But you know how some shitty Greek statue guy will show up on your Twitter -- usually the filters will catch that -- but this guy was on some picture of my wife that I took with art. He was like why didn’t she take your last name? Is this even your wife? And I was like you know what, I’m going private with my shit. You can do that to me on Twitter if you want, I make that shit public, but this is like literally for pictures of children that I like. 

I feel that same way. If someone tells me to fuck myself on Instagram it feels like a violation. It’s weird. 

Right we’re trying to be nice here. I’m trying to show you this picture of a shitty marsh in New Jersey that I took. Not to be an asshole about it, but relax. 

Speaking of wifes…

Fuck yeah. Wife chat. 

This writer from an online magazine emailed me -- and I think this is a great story -- and she said she’s interviewing the spouses of people that are Very Online and she wanted to know if mine would comment for it. 

Did she?

Well I told Michelle about it and I said I dunno if I want you to do it. And she got mad at me for making the decision for her. She said she probably wouldn’t have done it. But I still got in trouble anyways. 

Perfectly played. It takes some people decades of husbanding to get at that level. 

Let’s talk about some Deadspin stuff. The way I’m imagining it there were at least two moments for you, one when you were like this is going down the shitter, and that carried with it some hope still, and one that was like, alright, this is done. Is that about right?

It was clear from very early on for whatever reason the CEO was like gunning for us. We were annoying! But if you don’t like bloggers then buying a bunch of blogs is a peculiar choice. For us it was like, he was mad about the story Laura Wagner did about him and the company, which was very professionally done. From there on he was going after Megan Greenwell, who was our editor in chief. She ended up leaving in large part because she thought maybe that would take the pressure off and he would fucking relax. If his problem was her, and she wasn’t there… Of course that didn’t work out. From when Megan left really it was clear, not that we were on borrowed time, because I really didn’t think… On the Monday of the week we all ended up resigning, I wouldn't have said it was a one in a million shot we wouldn’t be there at the end of the week, but it was clear we were going to have to deal with this guy’s shit in intervals indefinitely until we were sold. So everybody tried to work and do what we needed to do. 

But that memo, the stick to sports thing, and the whole rest of that… He had been on vacation then came back, and we got that memo in our inboxes Monday morning. It came from the editorial director, Paul Maidment. He always looked miserable. Just stricken. He was this British guy who had been like a real journalist at one point. He started the Financial Times’ website. He did real shit. Then he took a bunch of years off and he came back and his job now was being the factotum for this weird fluffy rageaholic dude. He sent the memo but it was clearly coming from the CEO. 

He never really convinced me that he actually cared about any of that shit. There was this idea we just needed to do what he was telling us to. And for a long time we didn’t, but traffic was still good, and people were still reading the site, and I just assumed his thought process would be: These guys are irritating and I’m going to sell these sites as quickly as I can and I want to extract maximum profit from them. I thought the second part of that would outweigh the first. It was against his best interest to make this a whole fucking thing and to lose twenty million page views across your network. I guess if you have enough money, or enough issues or whatever, you just let that go. 

I’ve been in bad work situations. All of them were better than freelancing, which I should mention off the top. With Vice it was clear we were on borrowed time too. They didn’t give a shit about what we were doing. It was clear they were working some hustle at the time where they were trying to convince some other rich person that the sites were worth a lot more than they were then sell it to them. 

I didn’t know where it was going to go, I just knew there was a ceiling on it, because the people who owned the site didn’t care much for it. In this case I knew we’d get sold, and we’d been sold since I was there. I just sort of assumed that given the site was successful and people cared about it, I just thought that would win out over the other stuff. Even as it became clear that there was beginning to be a lot of bad feeling. 

I’m still surprised by it! It seems to me like some guy got his feelings hurt and he was like Fuck me? No fuck you! (And also fuck me too at the same time.)

That’s the part of it that’s so peculiar to me. I agree with you on that. That’s the way I’ve understood it. It might be there were other things I don’t know about. There often is. But this is what his reputation was. He’s very erratic and very aggressive. It’s one thing to read that. Laura’s story had all these Glassdoor reviews from the previous places he’s worked. They were all like he’s angry all the time and he’s a bully and he yells, but you get free lunch on Wednesday. And honestly, right down to the free lunch, that shit was dead on accurate. It’s weird to read that and think maybe this time it will be different. These are bigger sites… I think you get to a certain age where people can’t tell you shit and that’s probably doubly true if you’re rich. It mattered more to him on principle that we do what he said than it mattered to make money off our shit. 

What kind of A Guy is he? What coach mold?

Oh! It’s weird. His fluffy gray hair, and the face that’s so normal that it’s a little unsettling? There’s a Jim Mora vibe there. 

I can see that.

That’s unfair to Mora. It’s like… If Tom Coughlin didn’t go to church. He had gone to Jesuits schools his whole life. In the same way that Coughlin tends to have these boom and bust cycles with every team, you bring him in to whip everybody into shape, and then he kind of does. Then at some point everyone starts tuning him out because it’s like why is this guy so fucking mad all the time? Why do I have to get to every meeting seventeen minutes early or else I’m going to be considered late? And then it ends. And this guy’s burn rate was super duper fast. It was like an Adam Gase burn rate on a Tom Coughlin personality. 

Splinter being gone too. That was insane. Is the guy a Trump guy… or just a baseline Republican or?

I don’t even think he’s a Republican. I think he’s like an As the father of daughters… type Dem. Initially when we were trying to see if we could still figure this shit out… We thought that they were mad about the Trump stories like getting booed at the World Series. Dan McQuade did a blog that night with the video and a few paragraphs and it did like 750,000 uniques. It was fine, it was perfectly amusing, it didn’t have any editorializing in it. Then I wrote the next day, it had a lot of editorializing, but I made sure to get World Series in the headline. They were like both of those are fine, it’s not a Trump thing. He doesn’t like Trump. The stuff that made him mad were silly posts. I think the idea was if you want us to sell this to advertisers they want to know they can go look at the front page of the site and they’d understand it and get why it’s sports. 

The other sillier stuff, which, again, did really well, but wasn’t inflammatory or offensive --  it would be like Albert talking about how to make a good burger -- fit within the broader outline of the thing. I think the Splinter deal probably could’ve gone two ways. It was stupid obviously. They had this website that people respected. It was a known quantity as a left news thing. It was so decimated by the buyouts that came when we were getting ready to be sold and they never really hired anyway. It was so small, but it was good, and it punched way above its weight. But there’s two ways to go about that. Either you double the staff and commit to doing the shit with that editorial perspective, and trust that they’ll do a good job, which they always did. Or you just pull the plug entirely. I don’t understand pulling the plug given we were facing this huge awful shitty news cycle that’s going to crush the world for an entire year. People like to read about that. 

I think in this case some of it is spite. I think there were people that worked there that he didn’t like. Now we know he’s willing to go the extra mile to make the point that he thinks you’re an asshole. I think some of it too was the types of sites that he wants, and the extent I’m able to figure out any business justification for what he did is this: It’s that he is not a reader. He doesn’t have a very advanced idea of why people would read websites. What he’s trying to do is get these mushy, normal, middle websites. And you’re allowed to write them as well as you want. He’s not mad if you do a good job on a blog post. But he doesn’t care if you do a good one either. You just have to stick within that. He’s trying to sell this stuff to advertisers that he imagines that are even more conservative than him. So with politics I guess a Splinter headline that’s really sharp-edged or any of the stuff that he would actually see, because I really don’t think he read any stories on any sites -- if he saw that he was like you’re fucking it up because the people I’m trying to sell ads to are like banks or insurance companies. If you have a post that’s like health insurance is a fucking racket and it should be Medicare for All immediately, then in his mind, and this is the closest I can come to figuring it out, he’s like well how am I going to sell that to Aetna?

But even there it’s fucking stupid. You point to the numbers you have. If it’s true those places will only advertise on places or platforms that will never make them look bad or will only ever flatter them, then maybe... that’s what the world is, but you still ought to try? Right?

If I had bought Gizmodo Media personally I would have simply and very easily sold profitable ads on sites that everyone liked. 

It doesn’t seem like it’s that difficult. I agree it would have been very simple for you or I, famously good at business… That’s the other thing. They had all these people there who knew how to do that shit. They had been at the site forever and they knew the culture and they knew how to sell it and he systematically pushed all those people out and replaced them with identical dudes in light blue dress shirts who are used to selling ads for CNN or Yahoo! or whatever. So they’re presented with this other weirder shit with like curses in the headlines… I think they probably maybe would have struggled to sell that stuff. That’s why he should’ve kept the old people. Don’t assume everyone at the place you bought is a fucking idiot asshole who doesn’t know his job. 

It seems like a Matt Patricia of Mike Vrabel move. 

Yeah Patricia is a good call. It’s clear that he’s a jerk but it’s not clear that he’s competent. He’s doing all the Belichick shit except for winning. That salty vibe he had from day one. 

The thing that everyone loves about you…

Go on… 

Is your Trump mind meld. You seem to be able to get inside the brain of the man in a way that a lot of people really enjoy and seems very authentic. When did you realize you could do that, and how… are you a Long Island Guy?

No I’m from New Jersey. 

Ok same thing… 

I think with Trump the only real insight I have into the guy, and this is the part I’m self conscious about because it’s nice to be praised, but I don’t think I really know that much. I just know that whatever it is it seems like he’s doing, if it looks like he’s lying in an obvious way, he is. If he says I didn’t do this he did. He’s just not smart and he’s not really trying very hard either I think. So whatever it is he appears to be doing is what he’s doing.

I guess it qualifies as an insight because of the fact that somehow still after all this, after every single day he gets his dick stuck in one of those 711 hot dog rollers, everybody is like why did he do it? Let’s unpack this move and see if we can’t figure out why for the 500th consecutive day this guy has managed to get into an argument with a bird and lose..

It’s like the Cillizza brain.

Yeah the people who have to give you analysis on something.

Do you think those guys are told to be like that or do they just have any sort of edge beaten out of them in order to get to a place where we would all know who they are?

That’s a good question. I think it’s probably a little of both. Something about Cillizza he reminds me of a Benny Johnson type where they’re just authentically people that have baby brains.

Cillizza isn’t an evil piece of shit though. He’s just not that smart a guy.

Right. Benny’s thing is about finding engagement or whatever. Because he has no moral compass he’d gladly go fash. And he did. If he notices people are clicking on his listicles about how disgusting immigrants are he’s just going to keep mashing that button again.

Cillizza is weird because he’s like a fantasy sports writer to a certain extent, in the way that a lot of these guys have a who’s up who’s down horse race sports thing. But his thing is he just loves it so much. He loves the game of it, the competition. If a debate is about to start he’s going to tweet the Heath Ledger here we go gif… None of this is real to him or has any resonance. The idea that who’s up and who’s down immiserates millions of people, it might be that he knows that, but it doesn’t seem to trouble him much, or be a big part about what’s interesting about it to him.

Would you be a guy like that for like $750,000?

I would be delighted to try. The one job I don’t think you could pay me enough to do is that Daniel Dale guy.

He fact checks Trump in real time?

Yeah. I’ve interacted with him a little bit in the dms. He’s super nice and unfailingly pleasant. One of my former co-workers from Deadspin played softball with him and said he’s the coolest guy. But that job of watching every Trump speech and flagging every stupid lie for the umpteenth time that week being like this is not true. Saying it’s not Obama’s fault we have hurricanes… If I had to write about Trump more often I know I would feel worse.

Did you see the thing yesterday? I did a little piece on it for the Guardian. He was at some jobs economy thing and he said that Ivanka created fourteen million jobs.

Incredible. Thank you Ivanka.

I guess the real number is six million jobs in the total economy. And then this flourish he did, he said fourteen million jobs, then he paused and he thought about it, and he said fourteen million and climbing every day or something. Doubling the size of it and more wasn’t enough he had to go to the next step. That’s something I feel like you’ve gotten at.

Do you even think Trump knows what he’s doing there? I don’t think he’s going like I’m gonna make this sound better than it is so I look better.

I think some of it is that. Anything that’s sort of good he upgrades to great. Anything that’s small he upgrades to bigger. That’s just the way that he thinks. In part because I think his fucking mind is gone. There are these binaries in his speech where it’s I like him and he likes me. Or there’s a tick where he can’t say someone hugged him without also saying that person kissed him. All the neural pathways in there are absolute hot fudge. The thing with numbers where he exaggerates stuff, like polls say my approval is 65% many say it’s 68% I think it’s more like 80% but they won’t tell you that. Any of those curlicue rhetorical adventures he goes on? All of that shit I think it like… there’s not a thought or an intent. I think a number comes into his head and he puts a couple zeroes on it and looks at it floating in front of him and he’s like nice.

He loves it! One more thing I wanted to ask about the last week at Deadspin was what were you saying. Were you guys like I don’t know if we should do this this is going to be tough? Were you all counseling each other?

Barry was let go. He was an iconic Deadspin dude. He’d been there longer and everyone sort of looked to him and Tom Ley and Billy too in terms of super veterans… They were always helpful for me when I started.. because something bad would be happening, we were being put up for sale, or there would be some all hands meeting with butt head suits from Univision or whatever, and.. I remember talking to Megan about it and it was just a different vibe than I’d ever had at work. They would always be able to say, yeah, this is bad, but it’s probably the seventh worst all hands I’ve been to. This is nothing compared to the time Denton hit a guy with a lamp, or that we found out we were being sued out of existence. So when Barry was gone I think a lot of people were like I don’t think I want to do this anymore. It was one thing without Megan but Deadspin without Barry is not really Deadspin. I think some people were like I don’t want to deal with this shit. Because whoever gets that job next you’re just waiting for it to happen to you. Or you’re waiting to do the wrong blog post and the CEO sees it and fires you. That day was coming for a number of us.

I thought it was coming especially with the stick to sports shit. I thought alright is it going to be me? Am I the guy that needs to be sacrificed here?

The more we talked about it it was clear there was no real way forward. They weren’t going to offer us anything in terms of an olive branch. I remember we had this editorial meeting and they were like maybe now we can move into a period of tranquility, and we were like I don’t really think that’s true. And also what are you prepared to give us beyond the assurance that maybe at some point in the future we will also be fired. Like you have to show us that there’s something there. It was clear there was no compromise. There was no way they were going to give us anything but the right to eat shit at the same desk for an indeterminate period of time.

Those days there was a lot of everyone getting together and, this is a weird thing, they’d moved all the editorial to the floor above us except us. So we’re in this corner of the office that’s totally empty and there are sales guys everywhere. We would just go into people’s offices, this is the last day or two, and try to figure out what was going on.

Nobody wanted to leave but nobody wanted to stay either. I had this idea up until the end of it that was maybe if they understand how urgent this is that they will do something to keep the website. It’s self evidently bad not to have the website where the website could be. I’d seen no indication they were going to wake up to that or actually do that shit, but like we were talking about before, it just didn’t seem possible that it would continue to be this way. But at some point you just run out of road. It was clear that this wasn’t going to get fixed.

After the first wave of people left it was like there wasn’t a site to go back to by the end of that Wednesday. It was like Tom, Lauren, Laura, Luis, Albert, and Chris, at least, had left. Even if one of us had been like, alright, I can’t afford to leave — and a lot of people couldn’t afford to leave — we talked about that in these meetings. We said if you have to stay, and they’re all practical reasons. Drew’s got three kids and a fucking brain injury. Albert’s got kids. You don’t have to have children for that to be a concern either. I went from having enough money live on to being like either I freelance my ass off to not make enough money, or else I go look for other jobs. Everybody knew that that’s what it was and everybody knew it would be no fun. I think people were in earnest about that. Nobody was going to judge anybody else, but, again, once you get to that point, what are you going to do put the whole website out by yourself? Even if no one is going to call you a scab it’s still miserable.

Well I remember seeing a lot of Barstool guys with opinions on labor…

Quitting your job yeah. They thought that that was bad and I think that’s really brave. I think that’s a good stance.

Yeah I think they were probably really excited about the Bobby Orr, Lou Merloni, Tucker Carlson triangle.

I’m fucking grown man I don’t need to have an opinion on Barstool. It’s not for me. I wish they would stop engaging in campaigns of sexism and racial harassment of my co-workers and other people… The issue with a lot of that is part of being a sports fan is having opinions on things it’s not your job to have an opinion on. It’s a choice that you make.

There were a number of — not just Barstool— but the guys who pretend to have left politics but it just means they’re horny for Tulsi and all their followers are Nazis, and there are a number of those dudes, all of them were salty about it too. I think it’s just some people will look at other people that appear principled and be upset as a result. I don’t think what we did — it was kind of dumb in a lot of ways, we’re all really stressed about money and trying to freelance wherever we can do it — I think it wound up seeming principled because we chose not to continue to eat shit. There’s a great deal of that baked into every job. .. I was surprised that peopled bothered to care about it. None of us were like I would sooner die on my shield… or whatever. I don’t fucking care man I would rather have a job. I would’ve stayed there if they had just fucking left us alone. I don’t care who my CEO is.

I think in this media landscape perhaps the act of saying I don’t prefer the taste of shit anymore is a radical act. They’re painting us into a smaller and smaller corner in a room and there aren’t that many more directions people can go anymore. I do think it was — I don’t think you guys are fucking heroes or anything — but it’s admirable. It’s admirable! And I think, as much as you got shit from people, you earned respect from people too.

I don’t think it’s going to be anything that inspires other people, it’s just a blog or whatever, but I think broadly speaking — and, whatever, you said all these nice things about me — I think this is where your newsletter helps, the broader idea of how Hell World feels and what it does to people. I think this is why it seems like it resonates to people. Some people have it worse than others, but everybody has it bad and it’s getting worse. I don’t think that people want that shit. The search for alternatives isn’t going to be easy. Everybody isn’t going to hop on the Bernie Bus and make it better through state action. There’s a cultural neurosis that gets built into us that makes it difficult to see what our own interests are. I think everyone knows that this isn’t it.

No. This definitely is not it.