A small story:

"Are you going to keep doing your classes?" my friend asked.

It's a fair question, asked at exactly the right time. I keep one of those five-year "Line a day" calendars, where five years you write a single item to mark, say, January 27th.
I started it January 1st, 2020, a time where I would have sworn I was as cynical and pessimistic as a person could be and still respirate.

I was mistaken.

A year ago, I noted the first cases of COVID. In weeks, we'll enter the second year of COVID in LA.
This is both a reasonable time to look ahead, maybe reassess, certainly not rule out daytime drinking. "I think so," I said to my friend, "because @SanteDOr probably won't be able to do their cocktail party fundraiser again this year. Whatever I raise is useful."
"Also," I added, because while I'm a fairly terrible person I own my terribleness and I hate to think anyone is confused about exactly how self-serving I am, "I really, really like making cocktails."

"And you're good at it," my friend said because, unlike me, he is not terrible.
"I don't know about that," I said, honestly, "But the Saturday Gang seems to enjoy watching me blather and spill things."

Every week, I hold a Zoom Mixology thing. I am loathe to call it a class because that means I'm the teacher and that seems highly improbable.
After months of trying out different ways to describe what this group is, I have settled on "Saturday Gang" because that has a nice, Little Rascals feel. They weigh in, or they don't. They show me their drinks, or they keep their cameras off. They keep coming back.
After I finish my part, we switch off my camera and start cleaning the kitchen, many of the gang hanging out, chatting. Last week, some of them stayed for 45 minutes, talking about politics, or podcasts they liked, or nothing in particular. They just sounded...happy.
This week, I received this. In a freefall time, the Saturday Gang feels better because they have each other and me, spilling and blathering, encouraging them to buy from smaller distillers.

( @yolamezcal, @BrenneWhisky, @StGeorgeSpirits, @skepticchicago, @kovaldistillery!)
"You know why I think you like making cocktails?" my friend asked and I listened because he's smarter than I am.

"It's because it's something real," he said, "It's concrete."

Always have smarter friends than yourself.
As you may have noticed, I live on Twitter and yes, it's a septic tank but like certain bacteria, I have evolved to thrive here. Thanks to my lovely Patreon supporters I can make enough to help justify pouring my energy into these Small Stories, my political jokes.
The fact remains, it's ephemera. "Setup, setup, joke (feat: Nutsack)" can also more accurately be described as "Lots of ones and zeros." These jokes are sand mandalas, part of their charm being their brief lifespan.

(We'd better not be talking about those damn gloves in a week)
My drinks are real. I hand them to people. They make people happy. The products I use to create them are designed by people who aren't making any real money this year, thanks to bars and restaurants being decimated, but they're still making wonderful product, because it matters.
Doing something as well as you can feels better than half-assing it and I speak as someone who never met a corner she wouldn't cut in her educational career. I may not make a perfect cocktail but I make the best cocktail that I can, with the best products I can.
My friend asked if I had read THE REVENGE OF ANALOG; Real Things and Why They Matter.

I'd not.

The writer @SaxDavid makes a compelling argument that the pen, the paper, the record player, actual film aren't relics to be jettisoned, but tools humans instinctively respond to.
We are creatures of our senses, beings who gather meaning from the pops in the audio, doodling in our notebook as our professor lectures, holding a Polaroid as it develops. Digital is, by definition, perfect.

Perfect doesn't need us.
The Saturday Gang are perfect not because they're perfect and God knows I'm not. It's wonderful because it's a group of people who show up with no expectations of perfection. They have modest goals of being happy, helping some cats in Los Angeles, watching me goof around.
I got the book from @librofm. "You do realize," I said, "You just encouraged me to get a book lauding analog while we're on a Zoom call and it's currently downloading to my phone, right?"

"There's room for both," he said, because he's smarter than I am. We said our goodbyes.
"Next time," I said to him as I finished the last bit of my perfectly imperfect cocktail, "We decide whether Joe Biden is the analog president."

"Done," he said, we blew each other a kiss and I grabbed my stack of cocktail recipe books to start planning out the next few months.
And now, THE AD! If you like these Small Stories, can I coax you into helping to support them? I promise to show you a ton of ways to use cinnamon simple syrup this week because OH GOD, I MADE SO MUCH OF IT. http://www.quinncummings.com/mix 
And now, the other ad!

I have a deal for you on @librofm ( http://libro.fm/redeem/Quinn )

My membership benefits @vromans! Yours could benefit your local indie bookstore!

Read @saxdavid's book and then do something analog! You'll feel better!

No one on Netflix right now is more analog than Fran Lebowitz. Apparently the demand for her two books, long out of print, is such that your old ratty copy of METROPOLITAN LIFE is worth several hundred dollars.

We crave analog now.

Plan your next business accordingly.
A small story:

Consort read this yesterday and shouted from the other room - it's a small house, but we have created fiefdoms to help us from killing each other - "Did you make up the 'Biden is the analog Presidency' idea?"

I shouted back, as I do 724 times a day, "WHAT?"
The house, while small, has utterly baffling acoustics. Watch TV in the living room at regular volume and the person in the bedroom is trapped in an IMAX theater. Face away from your loved one in the kitchen and you might as well be on the dark side of the moon.
I walked in and he repeated himself. I considered this because, like any comedy writer worth the title, I have a horror of stealing the material of others.

"I think I made it up," I said, "But let's confirm."

I Googled and it appears it's mine.

"That's very good," he said.
I nodded my thanks, turned to walk out of the room.

"You should write it out before someone else runs with it," he said.

"What," I said, because I was facing away from him.

I turned, he repeated himself.

I sighed.

Here we are.
"Analog? Digital?"

Here is a basic side-by-side.

There will be no quiz.

It's mostly a metaphor anyway.
If you read @saxdavid's book, he makes excellent distinctions between digital and analog products, the difference between vinyl and Apple music, between picking up your camera to take with you for a walk and grabbing your phone because "Oh, look. The cat is sleeping."
( @JimGaffigan's line. I wasn't kidding about not stealing material)
The acme of the digital experience might be Amazon:

1. I see a commercial for vitamins, remember I need selenium,
2. I have now ordered selenium and also arranged for it to arrive every three months, before the commercial is done.

Easy, no bumps.

No thought.
If you are doing anything analog right now, you have just told the world, "A bump-free life is basically a vegetative state with vitamins. I want to stop, to think, to consider. I want to doodle in the margins, blow the dust off SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, give an hour to risotto."
I'm thinking this out as I write it, so I am going to take a break, have a bit of a think, come back.
The thing all analog experiences have in common when compared to digital experiences is time; they will take more time. This is not a flaw.

Or rather, where it is a flaw, stick with the improvement.
Let no one think I'm romanticizing pounding my dirty clothes with rocks down by the LA river to clean them. I punch buttons to start the washing machine computer, add detergent designed to remove the general musk, and am grateful that task is being done by a machine and not me.
What we're talking about is, at the core, time.

Digital time is fast and grows faster with every year although apparently Moore's Law takes the dirt nap in the next year. That's fun to know for the second it sticks with me.

Analog time is profoundly human time.
As galling as it is to certain people I have dated, we're still human, our brains all but identical to the souls wandering around the veldt 100,000 years ago, hoping for a nest of grub worms. Every marginal bit of time saved getting food meant higher chance of survival.
This eventually became a heartbreaking misunderstanding that "Faster is always better."

Consort often quotes Goethe, "Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action," or as you may know it, social media.

(Waves "Hello" to our old and new enemies, the Russians)
As far as political relevance, Russia should be nothing more than an Appalachian holler, cooking up their meth and shooting their competitors. They, however, did two things right:

1. They bought themselves an American simpleton,
2. They weaponized our love of novelty.
That whole #GameStop business?

There's a Russian at the center of it.

"WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" we scream in delight as we believe we're driving the car as it heads towards the digital abyss.
We have built the digital world but it isn't our world. Imagine you moved to a country as an adult where another language was spoken. You'd learn the language, but you would always speak it with an accent and constantly living in your second language, I'm told, is exhausting.
The language we're living in, the digital language, is not our mother tongue. The pandemic, which has forced even the most Luddish among us online all the time, has just hung a spotlight on how tiring it is, never living in your own familiar world.
Which brings us to...Joe Biden.

Biden is analog. I don't think it's a coincidence that a man who has famously struggled with a stammer has a voice that puts one in mind of vinyl, with its warmth, its pops, its very humanness.
I don't imagine you're a huge Trump supporter - if you are and you're hate-reading this, welcome, you look ridiculous and no one will come to your funeral - but let's say you are.

Find a transcript of something he said. Read it out loud.

It's meaningless.

I'm not saying this because he is a rapist and a traitor but because it's objectively there, on the page. He used the digital speed to WHOOOOSH past you - well, as long as there weren't stairs - using the digital speed to get you to a feeling.
The words he used, the things he said, were actually gibberish.

That's the poison fang of Digital; nothing has to make sense because it will be replaced by something new HERE IT IS RIGHT NOW ARMIE HAMMER IS MAYBE A CANNIBAL.

Digital, baby.
You may not like Biden, but he speaks in sentences. Those sentences form thoughts. They are not rushed.

"So? Isn't everyone before then like this?"

Not completely. Obama tried to be both digital and analog as needed.
Anyone pandering to #QAnon right now has gone straight up "Goody AOC is hexing my cattle!"

Or, you know, digital.

Great swathes of bullshit, being poured out at great speed. Don't like Lizard People? Here, try some Face-Swapping!
Like kids at Chuck E. Cheese (RIP, you food-free disease vector but thank you for having served beer, that helped), we enjoy digital very much for the very reasons we shouldn't live there; it's both too much and nothing. We are simultaneously filled to bloated and starving.
"Aren't you a huge hypocrite, Quinn?"

Oh, constantly.

You mean, being on here all the time?


But also, these things I create every day, these stories of my life? I have tried to rush a Small Story out and suffice it to say, it didn't end well.

They aren't digital.
They are alive and they are analog. If you like them and aren't just hate-reading me -Honestly, you're still here? Wow - I think what you respond to is the very analogue-ness of my stories. The other "A" word I would use as a synonym for analogue is "authentic."
A soul who is mystifyingly paid by the @washingtonpost to say such things complained yesterday that Biden shows up, says a few things, leaves.

Let's assume he'll snap out of it, soon.

Or, I can help him.

Because, you gibbering idiot, that's called "Doing his job."
That you now don't know what to do without the flummery of dictators, suicidal medical suggestions and the sundowning rantings of a traitor is more about you than about Biden.

Biden, like a risotto, will continue to bubble along whether you're overstimulated or not.
Like an analog recipe, or vinyl, or notes written into a Moleskin, he will not be perfect but the thing about a homemade risotto or a sweater your friend knitted for you is that you know, you understand, everything that it consists of.
Virtually no one understood Collateralized Debt Obligations, including the people selling them; 2008 was us all out way, way, way beyond our skis. If you don't understand it, can't pronounce it or don't know how it made its money, maybe you shouldn't buy it, eat it or elect it.
President Biden is analog. We know exactly who we got. We can, will, object to decisions he makes but I don't see us wondering who his actual boss is. Going back to the example I gave at the beginning of this, analog v. digital, note the "Has more tendency to get distorted."
The people who supported Trump - no, not the murderous racist hoopleheads, his actual bosses in Russia - spent years before he ran saturating social media with Obama/Clinton disinformation.

They're great at this.

There is no reason to imagine they won't continue distorting.
I don't know how to correct for that without becoming more digital. We cede this ground to them and we've lost. We fight with them and we've lost. Being an analogue sort, I'm voting for "Bomb Russia into borscht particulates," but that's probably why I don't have power.
I do know this. The work ahead, the work to first regain our authentic selves and then finally drag America to the place where everyone has the chance to be equal and authentically themselves, without fear or favor, is large.

Much will be required of all of us.
It's easier to do hard things when you've taken a long walk outside IN YOUR DAMN MASK, eaten a meal of foods you can identify, created something with your hands that no one else can do just like you. Find something you love and make it better and don't do it for the Gram.
But first, look up from this damn screen.
And now, THE AD!

Wait, no.

Not today. Thanks to those who already support me.
But here's the other ad!
I have a deal for you on
@librofm ( http://libro.fm/redeem/Quinn )! Get @saxdavid books! Or, something else! My membership benefits
@vromans! Yours could benefit your local indie bookstore!
You can follow @quinncy.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled:

By continuing to use the site, you are consenting to the use of cookies as explained in our Cookie Policy to improve your experience.