Not doing fine: young humans. Doing fine: young foxes
Also, Van Gogh doing better than you think.
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Ginny Hogan on the podcast
My guest on this week’s podcast episode is comedian and writer Ginny Hogan. Ginny is the author of a new book of essays called I’m More Dateable Than a Plate of Refried Beans.
I don’t know anything about dating in the modern world since I’ve been married since, like, 1840. I also can’t estimate the appeal of refried beans presented on their own, on a plate. Seems like normally you’d want to have the beans be part of some other dish or at most served as a little side dish alongside some Spanish rice. So on a dating and frijoles level, I really have to take Ginny’s title claim at face value.
One of the overarching themes of the interview is the issue of which mental health problems came first and which appeared as symptoms. Ginny has been dealing - at one point or another with - anxiety, depression, eating disorders, ADHD, and a substance use disorder related to alcohol. And it’s pretty hard to know with solid incontrovertible proof that, say, the eating disorders caused the anxiety and that caused the alcohol use. Or is it the other way around? But such speculation and intellectual research could also be crucial to understanding who one is.
You will find that in this interview, Ginny talks about a habit she developed for getting drunk, putting on headphones, and walking around major cities all night whilst smoking and drinking even more. She’s pretty matter of fact about it while I’m deeply alarmed.
Goddamn Connecticut parents making everything worse for their kids
The New York Times has an article that made me want to tear out my remaining hairs. It’s about a town in Connecticut that wanted to have a mental health clinic available for high school students but the plan was torpedoed by right-wing monsters. Their argument? Those age-old nemeses: witches.
Killingly’s school board, swept up in the culture wars of the Trump era, has repeatedly cast itself as a bulwark against liberalism and government intrusion. Several of its members were elected in 2020, amid popular outrage over a decision to retire the school’s mascot, the Redmen, at the urging of a student group who said it was offensive. After the election, the new board voted 5 to 4 to reinstate the mascot.
The proposed mental health clinic has reopened those divisions, this time around psychotherapy and the values it might instill.
At one meeting, a school board member said that, years ago, a therapist had “meddled with my teenaged son’s mind, because at that age they are most vulnerable and they want someone to talk to.” A local man got up to say that “our modern-day psychology is rooted in occultism,” noting that Sigmund Freud used drugs while writing his thesis and Karl Jung channeled spirit guides.
According to a recent study, 44.2% of young people experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, 19.9% had seriously considered attempting suicide, and 9.0% had attempted suicide.
Instead of helping kids with their problems, the parents - who may be the source of many of their kids’ problems - are actively trying to make the problems worse. Because of witches.
Clearly the kids aren’t learning the occult in school. They’re learning it the normal way. On YouTube:
When the answer to an either/or question is “Yes to both”
That’s the question CNN is asking. And, in fact, young folks were in pretty rough shape before we ever heard about covid 19.
The CNN article is a Q & A with Dr. John Walkup* a prominent child psychiatrist. I mean he’s a grown-up psychiatrist who specializes in treating children.
But overall, when we think about what Covid has done, it has really destroyed the infrastructure for kids with mental health problems. If you really think about it in a slightly deeper way, we've been advocating for mental health for kids for a long time. Families and schools are more aware of mental health issues, so you've now got this kind of perfect storm of increased awareness and increased advocacy, resulting in an increased need for care. And the structure for that care has fallen away over the past two years.
* Dr. John Walkup’s nemesis is Dr. John Purchaser Of Tickets In Advance.
On the other hand, young foxes seem to be doing just fine
Sorry, young humans. Maybe you should go play with a GoPro camera in the woods while cavorting in the mud. No, young people, actually, don’t do that.
VAN GOGH TRIPLE SHOT MONDAY!
That was my attempt to sound like an FM DJ. It did not work.
1. Whether you’re a fan of Van Gogh or a fan of being in enormous pain from stepping on a Lego brick in your bare feet, you’ll want to check out the new Lego Starry Night kit.
A collaboration between MoMA and LEGO, the set reinterprets Van Gogh’s thick impasto brushwork in 2316 tiny plastic bricks, including a mini figure of the artist, equipped with paintbrush, palette, easel, and an adjustable arm for positioning him at sufficient distance to gain perspective on his world famous work.
2. You might be wrong about Van Gogh, this video argues. Turns out he had a great experience at the asylum, had a lot of friends, and was indeed appreciated during his time. As always, that Don McLean is full of shit:
3. My friend Janey pointed to this video from Dr. Who where Van Gogh visits a modern museum and gets all emotional: