Thursday, December 2 2021
I normally work at the office in Red Hook on Thursdays, but order has been breaking down in the company and there's also a new coronavirus variant afoot (omicron), so I worked from home.
That allowed me to finish installing the flooring in Powerful's room this morning. The trickiest part was figuring out how to butt the new floor up against the existing vinyl flooring spilling in slightly from the hallway. I measured very carefully and cut the edge of the last piece (which had to be narrowed) with a razor blade, though the results were a bit imperfect, so I then sanded the edge. Then it turned out that there was maybe 1/32 of an inch of overlap between the old and the new, so I put the vinyl plank on the table saw and trimmed off as little of it as I could. This resulted in a pretty good transition between old tile and new, with only a sixteenth of an inch gap between the two. I decided to glue the edge of the new tile down to keep it from bowing up, which it wanted to do.
Something I'd read in the Atlantic had me watching YouTube video about a specific multilevel marketing campaign for an expensive Japanese water ionizer. The market for such ionizers seems to be women who don't know that much about science and fill in the gaps in their knowledge with spirituality and something they refer to as "energy." Such women look to carefree YouTube influencers living in places like Hawaii and Bali and tend to be both vegan (or vegan-aspiring) and anti-vax (indeed, Gretchen and I know several people in this category). Anna, the woman behind this video, tends to make two-hour videos mostly of her talking, often at rapid pace. It's thorough, detailed, and seems well-researched. But she never comes across as mean or didactic; she seems to have genuine concern for the women duped by such schemes. Watching that video led to Anna's other videos, including a fascinating one on the subject of 23 ex-vegan YouTube influencers. I don't know much about influencer culture, but I was struck by the level of narcissism these YouTubers exhibit. The only other of their traits that stood out was willful ignorance. In this respect, they're yet more YouTube-provided evidence that rivers of Dunning-Kruger run strong in America. Almost all of them were vegan for entirely for reasons of personal health, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that their veganism was fragile. When all you care about is yourself, the plight of the animals that may or may not be feeding you is not much of a concern. All these influencers initially claim that veganism was making them feel great: they had more energy, they slept better, and they were either gaining or losing weight (that is, their bodies were moving towards the weight that they preferred to have). But inevitably they experienced health problems, which then led to them abandoning veganism (sometimes on the sly, since often being a vegan was intimately tied to the brand they'd built). Most of the health problems these influencers suffered sounded to me like they might be entirely psychological, a Munchausen-by-celebrity, of you will. Given how spoiled, ignorant, and entitled these people tend to be, it seemed likely that their health problems might be the kind of thing that happens when you don't have real problems. If they were to suddenly turn into poor black pregnant women in Bumfuck, Texas, for example, they wouldn't be so obsessed with their acne or acid reflux.
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