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Sorry for the multiple posts but I just realized that my comments could be construed to imply that your cousin doesn’t have good parents, or that your story somehow reflects weakness on her part. That’s not what I’m getting at. I hope the point I was trying to make more or less shines through.

That is really great that your cousin found a silver lining to her bad week.

But what if, instead of looking to celebrities to undo the self-image problems they help create in the first place, we fostered a culture that encouraged confidence and character-building in people so it wouldn’t be necessary to market anti-hater products to them in the first place?

Swift is a skinny, beautiful woman whose life-sized cardboard cutout stands tall and flawless in the make-up aisle of my local CVS. She’s as famous for her lovelife as she is for her music, a fact she happily capitalizes upon in this very song. No one should begrudge her beauty or her talent, but she’s exactly the sort of unobtainable image that contributes to a culture of misery among teenage girls in the first place.

I’ve got a daughter myself. Here’s hoping I’m a good enough dad that my daughter is able to calibrate her happiness to internal coordinates, rather than sitting around waiting for a pop star to teach her how to love herself.

Also, lest we forget:

“I’m not a hater” -George W. Bush

Don’t be like Bush. Let your hate flag fly.

It’s this completely toxic culture of smarmy “positivity” that we live in. Everything is good, the present is better than the past, nobody can pass judgment, etc.

If it were ACTUALLY about seeking the good in life, I could get down with it. But it’s not. It’s about a total loss of intellectual or moral courage.

When a piece of work is vapid, childish, focus-grouped into oblivion, you’re not allowed to identify it for what it is. You have to get in the conga line and pretend it’s fun because nobody likes a spoilsport.

When “indie” bands promote Target, Apple, or any number of companies whose success hinges on slave labor and market manipulation, you’re not allowed to say it’s crass and careerist. Who are you to judge?

It’s completely boring and it cuts all adult conversation off at the knees. I’m a grown up. I don’t have to kneel at the alter of the Mickey Mouse Club or share your Upworthy meme. The good stuff is only good if we acknowledge that the shitty stuff exists as well.

Spot on. The only term more meaningless than “hater” in 2014 might be “hipster”.

Are you still a “hater” if the thing you hate actually does suck?

 +6Posted on Aug 22nd | re: Dummy Turns 20 (38 comments)

 +1Posted on Aug 22nd | re: Dummy Turns 20 (38 comments)

This might have been the first album that I really connected with emotionally as a teenager. I had a dubbed tape copy (with Soul Coughing’s “Ruby Vroom” on the other side) and carried it in my Walkman absolutely everywhere for the entire 10th grade. Obviously there was a lot of lame adolescent self-fashioning going on (“Just in case any of you were wondering, I’m the weird sad kid!”) but my connection to the music was real. “Wandering Star” can still put a lump in my throat.

Thanks for the reminder. Gonna play this loud today.

Thanks for the insight, Hank.

OK guys, now that literally everybody on the entire internet has had a turn at making Robin Williams’s death all about themselves, can we talk about something else?

 0Posted on Aug 22nd | re: Who Should Arcade Fire Cover In Brooklyn? (56 comments)

Is this tour almost over or what? There’s really, truly nothing interesting about these covers. It’s a fun idea, I’m glad the fans are enjoying it, but it’s really not daily-update-caliber news.