Summer 2016: Ugly Haircuts, Adult Coloring Books, Pokémon & Trump
Once in a while I put my head up just to see what’s going on in the world, and it never fails to bemuse and alarm me. I did something similar back in 2008, and traumatized as I became at that time, I have only now attempted to take another peek.
First off, I have to say as a developing curmudgeon that men’s haircuts, the trendy ones, have become incredibly ugly. I am of the generation that enjoyed flowing locks, although in certain cases I admit that style might have had a few scraggly, greasy, over-the-face messes. (If you would like to relive those fabled days of yesteryear, you can listen to the song Hair….)
However this new crop often looks like a small dead furry animal draped front to back over an otherwise shaved head.
It’s just the young trying to be different, I know. But I would like to see long hair and bell bottom jeans come back some day… although I’m glad the one fellow above has maintained the tradition of the tie-dyed shirt.
Adult Coloring Books
They were probably out there before now, but as I hang out in bookstores, those that remain, I’ve come across adult coloring books a lot this year.
As an adult, by appearances anyway, I wouldn’t be caught dead breaking out my crayons and trying, tip of my tongue peeking out in concentration, to put colors in the little spaces. But I guess people are buying them and doing just that, probably in the privacy of their own homes.
There are an amazing variety of them: The Great Canadian Cottage Colouring Book, a Vogue Fashion Coloring Book, Paris Street Style: A Coloring Book, Chill The F*ck Out: A Swear Word Coloring Book, The Aviary: Bird Portraits to Color, and the Meditation Coloring Book.
All seem to be predicated on the idea of relieving stress, which is a good thing. And it is good to get some color in our lives in the midst of the drabness of city streets and monochrome workplaces.
An article in Medical Daily, The Therapeutic Science of Adult Coloring Books declares that adult coloring verges on “art therapy” and the activity helps people to focus and relax.
As a semi-luddite, as indicated by my lack of a smart phone, I know only a little about Pokémon Go, all of it hearsay. (I’m proud to state that I own a wise phone – a flip cell phone – that gives me as much interactivity as I can stand.)
But this game has taken over much of the social media world it seems, and it is a fascinating combination of the virtual and the real.
It basically is a GPS game that takes off on the similar pursuit of geocaching and that activity’s variations on orienteering.
But Pokémon Go has figured out how to monetize geocaching in a way that captures, among others, an entire generation of adults who once played Pokémon on the old Game Boy video game system.
The intriguing thing about the game is its real world activity, and how players will engage in adventures, even dangerous ones, in pursuit of the wild Pokémon.
There are the players who broke into a zoo in Toledo, Ohio to catch a (virtual) Pokémon near a (live) tiger.
Australian players invaded a police station to catch a Sandshrew (whatever that is…).
Some entrepreneurial folks are taking to Craigslist to advertise their services as professional Pokémon hunters.
And then there are the criminally inclined who use Pokémon lures to gather players to isolated areas to mug them, as happened recently in Missouri.
On a more upbeat note, as a welcome diversion for hospital patients, some are even catching Pokémons in their beds.
This is certainly the summer of Trump in the US presidential election campaign.
What can really be said about Trump that hasn’t been said? Senator Elizabeth Warren has him nailed: “Donald Trump is a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud who has never risked anything for anyone and who serves no one but himself.”
I am leaning towards the view, though, after all I’ve read and seen that the man is actually mentally ill. He may be sick in his brain. His father died of dementia, and we may be seeing the playing out of the very early stages of such a syndrome.
Beyond the cagey goading of the media with outrageous statements which are retracted, sort of, as jokes, there are times when he is incoherent and quite muddled. I’m thinking especially of his response in an interview to questions about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine’s Crimea. But there are many other examples.
This idea and concern about Trump’s mental and brain health is not new. From psychologist Dan McAdams’ piece in the Atlantic, to neuroscientist Howard Gardner’s analysis quoted in RawStory, to Kathleen Parker’s column, “Could Trump Be Suffering from Dementia?” , to an article by Steve King, “Does Donald Trump Have Dementia?” the suspicion is certainly out that the man may not be all there. Perhaps he will end up a figure of pity rather than scorn.
The current Time magazine article on Trump, “Inside Donald Trump’s Meltdown” gives rise to the same impression. Reportedly a Clinton campaign aide said of the billionaire’s recent antics, “On other campaigns, we would have to scrounge for crumbs. Here, it’s a fire hose. He can set himself on fire at breakfast, kill a nun at lunch and waterboard a puppy in the afternoon. And that doesn’t even get us to prime time.”
At least the Olympics are on now (with their own set of problems in the midst of athletic excellence) to display a better side of humanity.
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