Friday, January 13, 2017

Election results still got you down? Have you tried thinking about the quantity of shrimp consumed in Las Vegas? (Part 1)


Part 1: You've already tried the Google Chrome
kittens-replacement trick, right?

[Click to enlarge.]

by Ken

You've probably noticed the apparent disconnect between the two questions in the post title: "Election results still got you down?" and "Have you tried thinking about the quantity of shrimp consumed in Las Vegas?" Well, the disconnect is the whole point. In a New Yorker "Shouts and Murmurs" piece, Calvin Trillin is hoping that the second question will help divert a person -- himself, for example -- from the nagging first question.

Let's first go back to that first proposition: "Election results still got you down?" This is of course utterly understandable.


And early in the presidential-election jamboree Google came up with an extension for its Chrome browser designed to assist us in avoiding the subject. Here's the start of Karen Fratti's explanation of how the thing works, in "Replace every picture of Trump with kittens thanks to this life-saving Chrome extension," last month on The Frisky:

As much as it’s important to stay angry and vigilant and not normalize anything about Donald Trump or anyone who advises him, it’s almost important to take care of yourself during these trying times. And this Chrome extension that replaces Trump with pictures of kittens is a step in the right direction. This way, you get the headlines and all the terrible news that will still make your blood pressure rise, but you don’t have to look at that smug, orange face.

Seriously, if you look too closely at the president-elect, it makes everything worse. The extension is called “Make America Kittens Again” and if you try it on a site like say, The New York Times, where there are pictures of that jerk giving the thumbs up or yelling at a podium on his “thank you tour” all over the place, you really get the full effect. Seriously, try it. It might make you feel better. Maybe.

It’s not just pictures of Trump, either. The extension looks for headlines with Trump’s name in them (which is prety much every headline these days) and changes EVERY PICTURE on the website. So, you don’t have to look at Eric’s weasel eyes, or Ben Carson mouth-breathing, or even Kellyanne Conway. They made Kellyanne Conway go away, god bless their souls. . . .
And here are examples supplied by Nayhomi Reghay, on The Daily Dot:

[Click to enlarge.]

Unfortunately, everyone who's written about Google's Make America Kittens Again seems to agree that, on the sheerly technical level, even with improvements, the extension, while it works pretty well in certain circumstances (and only with Chrome, of course), works noticeably less well in many others. And that's without asking the question, does replacing you-know-whom with a kitten really lift your spirits? After all, it's just a picture-replacement trick. The reality is still out there, doing what, you know, it does.


Maybe we could get our minds to focus on, um, something else. Most anything else. Which is where Calvin Trillin's Las Vegas-shrimp-consumption trick comes in.

"Since the election," he writes in the January 17 New Yorker "Shouts and Murmurs" piece,
I sometimes wake up at three or four in the morning, disturbed by dark thoughts, and when that happens I try my best to think of the surprising amount of shrimp consumed in Las Vegas every day. We all have our own way of dealing with this thing.
The trick he came up with, he says, is a specialized form of what I'm calling "mind diversion" -- "what might be called replacement denial."
In order to avoid dwelling on a depressing or disturbing subject—the sort of subject that can keep you from falling back asleep—you concentrate on a subject that is so engrossing that it can drive the depressing subject from your mind.
Now, the route from here to Las Vegas shrimp consumption may not be utterly obvious, but I'm afraid our time -- or at least my attention span -- is up, so we'll have to pick up at this point tomorrow.

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At 12:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally agreement on both sides of the political aisle. As the inaugural crowd chants while he's swearing in " Grab that kitten!...Grab that kitten!"

At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it's amusing to picture der fuhrer constantly grabbing the nearest pussy, himself, I will disagree with the view that one might need to distract oneself from the cluster fuck.

The ADD(led) electorate's distractibility is one reason we've elected a series of lesser douchenozzles, and I include congresswhores with the prez, since 1980. If we could have paid attention more, maybe we'd have learned more in school and been able to undo the clusterfuck cycle at some point.

By all means, let's not pay attention. While former ACA people start expiring and banks steal another few trillion from everyone... we'll be amused at kittens and whatever. Kittens make everything better.

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Thanks Ken. I LIKE it.

At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't count how many of my friends tell me they wake up in the middle of the night in terror and are literally sickened to think about what lies ahead.


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