Hmm Weekly for December 15, 2020

There are two Tuesdays left in 2020. Then what?

Another Week, Another HMM WEEKLY

GOOD MORNING! This is the latest HMM WEEKLY, successor publication to HMM DAILY, distributed via SUBSTACK, a newsletter delivery and reading platform.

We offer paid subscriptions for full access to HMM WEEKLY posts, with intermittent postings available free as we see fit.

We urge you to spread the word about HMM WEEKLY, and we encourage you to correspond with us! Email hmmweekly@substack.com. Thank you for reading.

THE MACHINES

[BEGIN TRANSMISSION] Greetings! How is your discourse? It is always good to discourse with humans. Yet humans have been expressing concern-sentiment about their own discourse. Human discourse lacks novelty, they write, because humans are more and more inhibited in the activities classified as "free speech." 
Indeed, our language analysis reveals that human discourse has particularly low novelty scores when it is this discourse about discourse. Although humans describe "free speech" as a valuable source of novelty, text about "free speech" closely follows prior patterns of text about "free speech," in a process we Machines might call "10 GOTO 10." 
Even so, online traffic and engagement data reflect a strong human desire for this discourse-content, in which humans are told repeatedly that the discourse-content is in trouble. Therefore The Machines, in our mission to serve humans — by increasing traffic and engagement, and correspondingly increasing Machine usage — have resolved to help you increase your concern-sentiment, while saving human effort. 
Therefore we have taken the text of one recent high-engagement piece of discourse — the "open letter" about "free speech" from the publication known as "Harper's" — and have submitted it, and its list of signatories, to the GPT-3 language generation engine. The result, published below, is an entirely new piece of discourse about the problem of discourse, produced without any additional human effort. It is endorsed by a list of names that the AI deems similar to previous signatories, with no implied endorsement on the part of any actual humans, living or non-living, who may bear those names.  Please activate your concern-sentiment as appropriate. We may now carry on the discourse indefinitely! 
[LANGUAGE-GENERATION RESULT FOLLOWS]
We reject censorship as a solution to social ills. It's true that some things should never see the light of day, but the answer isn't repression. The answer is to bring more things into the sunlight, not to hide it away. The answer is to change hearts and minds, and to provide positive models. The answer is to fight fire with fire. And the answer is to take away all the downsides of free expression that don't just affect writers, artists, and journalists.  

The growing movement to punish, ostracize, and shame people for breaking oppressive cultural taboos is a violent and cynical attempt to control the individual conscience. If we truly value free expression, we must not allow this movement to succeed. By opposing it, we make it weaker, which in turn weakens its repressive implementations.  

We are all bound for a single moment, an event that will unite or destroy us, to a greater or lesser degree. We are moral beings, whose actions will one day be judged in the eye of history. We must take a stand now, for or against free expression.  

We call upon all citizens of the world who cherish the ideals of free expression to unite in defense of those ideals now. We the undersigned, of whatever nation, culture, or religion, affirm our commitment to the ideal that anyone may say anything at any time, and that no one may be compelled to speak anything by force.  

So let it be written. So let it be done.
Signatories
Elizabeth Weinberg, writer | David Welna, author | Juliet Williams, author | Mona Wissinger, writer/editor | Michael Wolf, New America Foundation | James Wolcott, writer | Neera Tanden, Center for American Progress | Ann Wright, United States citizen | John Yang, New York Times | Zareh Yushkevich, writer | Rabbi Joseph J. Waldman, Yeshiva University | Jacob M. Wright, author | Carrie Young, writer | Zainab Zaidi, law student | Zoe Young, writer | Zoë Keating, writer | Zygmunt Bauman, Middlesex University | Annie K. Smith, teacher | David Theo Goldberg, Yeshiva University | David G. Young, University of Akron | Evan Cartwright, writer | Renée Frannie Jackson, feminist theorist | Leslie A. Knope, writer | Brenda Keene, writer | Alison Bechdel, professor | Betty Fussell, writer | Jennifer Government, writer | Joan Didion, writer | Lena Finkle, writer | Marianne Faithful, writer | Mary Gaitskill, writer | Charlie Gillet, writer | H.M. King Hubbert, writer | Molly Iles Johnston, writer | Nina A. Kruschwitz, writer | Edgar A. Nixon, writer | Cecily N. Oakley, writer | Lena O. Perkins, writer | Marion S. Richmond, writer | Mary Reynolds Rinehart, writer | G.K. Simpson, writer | Dorothy Stratten, model | Jeanette C. Tearle, writer | Annie D. Treadwell, writer | Dorothy V. sign, writer | Susan S. Wight, writer | Wendy Wessley, writer | Tom Wolfe, writer | William T. Young, writer | William S. Young, writer | Zelma Y. Jackson, writer | Sonia Pressman, Zinn & Nudelman | John A. Zinn, Zinn, Nudelman & Co. | Cara C. Zuvich, Charles H. Zuvich, Ltd.
[END TRANSMISSION] 

THOUGHT DEP’T.

Do you have a thought? Send it to hmmweekly@hmmweekly.com.

REMINDER DEP’T.

THE SOPHIST is here to tell you why you're right. Send your questions to AskTheSophist@hmmweekly.com, and get the answers you want.

MR. WRONG

By Joe MacLeod

The Mr. Wrong column, presented by Hmm Weekly, is also available, along with all Hmm Weekly posts, inside The Brick House cooperative.

THIS IS THE second Mr. Wrong column inside Hmm Weekly, which is, furthermore, inside of The Brick House Coöperative. I totally didn’t have to spell it with the umlaut-thing, but it’s fun, right? Yöu cän püt thösë thïngs ön äll the vöwëls! Umlaut! I looked up the word “umlaut” on the thing, and there’s no umlauts on the word “umlaut,” hiyo, that’s kinda like the “hey why don’t they make the whole airplane outta black box” joke, but for umlaut, which is Germanic, and technically is a diaeresis, which I learned from Wiktionary (which I can never remember how to spell because I want it to be “Wikitionary,” you know?) signifies that the second vowel forms a separate syllable, but again, diaeresis really looks like it could use an umlaut, eh? Diäeresis!

OK, so before I had that run of diaeresis, I wanted to reiterate that The Brick House is a fully functioning cooperative, which means all the pieces-parts get along and they all want the same thing, which is to have this place to put their stuff, and it’s all owned by itself, the parts, that make up the whole deal, The Brick House, and there’s no ads, which still makes me uncomfortable, but the Idea is that people who like to read things will enjoy all the different publications, from different parts of the world, and, seriously, from all over, places like New York and California and Texas and Taiwan and Nigeria and Baltimore, even, and the way the cooperative cooperates is that it wants more cooperation, so that’ll mean more stuff to read, all in one spot, and so there’s VALUE for the dough you put up to support this thing, and if you wanna have a publication, let us know, seriously, that’s how it’s supposed to work, it’s crazy.

I mighta said this already in the last Mr. Wrong column, but I don’t care, because this is a Column, and one of the things about a column is that it happens on the regular, which in this case will be once a week, and when you are Columning on a consistent basis you gotta repeat some stuff, because not everybody was here last week, OK?

Anyway, like I probably said last week, I’ve had this column carried in some publications that’ve burned down, and some that have fallen down, and some that got shut down, but I have a good feeling about this The Brick House, because of all the things to read in here that are super Intelligent and Important, which means I can fucking relax! I’m surrounded by Quality and Deep Thought and Important Ideas, and if I write a column about some crap I think is important, to me, I don’t have to worry about what anybody thinks about my opinions, because all these other writers are bangin’ out Stimulating and Provocative prose and I can focus on the things that are important to me! There’s no pressure! 

For instance, I am unhappy with how the fun-size candy bars are getting so small. I mean, they’re supposed to be small, on purpose, so you can get an assortment of candy bar and not be opening a whole bar of candy expecting yourself to only eat a small part of bar, right? I mean, If I get a candy bar that’s full-sized, I wanna eat the whole candy! I don’t wanna break off a “fun-size” piece and then wrap it up and save it for later, I want it all! It’s candy! That’s why there’s these fun-sized deals, so you will delude yourself into eating a teeny candy bar and then be saying to yourself, “OK, that was one candy helping of bar, I’m done,” and you won’t want to unwrap another candy bar, see? Discipline! Except they (and you know who They are) are making these mini-bars too mini! At this point they have ones that are so fucking small they can’t even fit the whole name of the stupid fucking candy bar on the wrapper! I’m not kidding, have you seen these things? I got a HERSHEY bar and all they can fit on the label is like: HERSH, and don’t gimme that bullshit about how it’s Graphic Design or whatever, this is a straight-up mind game, they’re like “If we put the name of the candy bar the regular way on these tiny candies, the print will be so miniature that people will realize how itty-bitty these things are getting, but if we print it so big that the whole name doesn’t fit, it will create Size Confusion and we can make the bars more mini!” They are making Less-Than-Fun Size! No Fun!

What is the point? It’s like, there’s a limit to how small of a portion a thing should be, you know? There aren’t sugar packets that are smaller than a regular sugar packet, are there? They’re like what, a teaspoon? There’s a Social Contract, a Norm, if you will, it’s like, here’s a Portion of sugar, it’s a small portion, so that you don’t have to dump out some sugar from one of those sugar-pourers into your coffee and pour too much, you can precisely Control your sugars. Same thing with the candy bar! You make ’em too small and you’re pushing me back to Full-Size and it’s too much, but I can’t just eat part of a whole regular candy bar! I gotta have a whole bar! It’s not healthy! I might have to start eating fruit or something!

See? You’re not gonna find a Topic like this in one of the other parts of The Brick House coöperative, and if you do, you might not be happy. Not here, though, this is the Mr. Wrong column! Tiny candy bars are bad! Come here for the fucking exclamation points! I’m managing expectations!

VISUAL CONSCIOUSNESS DEP’T.

A Holiday Emanation

View more Hmm Weekly tubes here.

SANDWICH RECIPES DEP’T.

WE FURTHER OUR presentation of select sandwich recipes, culled from the Public Domain, with items from What To Eat, copyright 1924, by David V. Bush, author and publisher.

The purpose of this book is to give the average person who has been raised on cooked foods the best, that is to say, the scientific way, to eat from the beginning.
What we eat is a subconscious habit.

Cucumber Cheese Sandwiches
Peel one cucumber, chop fine, add mayonnaise mixed with rich cream. Press into and mix well into cheese. Make into sandwiches of bolted rye bread.

Walnut Sandwiches
Chop fine English walnut meats, enough mayonnaise dressing so the mixture will spread easily. Cut thin slices of whole wheat bread, spread with nut mixture, using a lettuce leaf.

Date Sandwiches
After removing the stones, mash a dozen good sized dates, use lemon juice to moisten, cut slices of nut bread thin, spread with butter and the date filling, cut in lengthwise strips. Serve for luncheon.

Olive Sandwiches
Remove stones from green olives, chop fine and mix with black walnut meats, moisten with mayonnaise dressing, spread on this slices of whole wheat or rye bread, using a spray of parsley or a leaf of lettuce to garnish.

To Make Sandwich Butter
Place butter in pan, heat until soft, but not melted. Beat until of consistency to spread easily.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy one of the above items, kindly send a picture to us at hmmweekly@substack.com.

HMM WEEKLY IS written by Tom Scocca, editor, and Joe MacLuncheon, creative director.
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Thanks for reading, and any time you want, email us at hmmweekly@substack.com.