Arthur Chu Profile picture
Mad genius, comedian, actor, and freelance voiceover artist broadcasting from the distant shores of Lake Erie (he/him)
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21 Jan
"Mainstream" evangelicalism is always teetering on the edge of falling into some kind of cult movement -- local or global, big or small -- at any given moment

People outside have no fucking idea how common this actually is and people inside are disturbingly numb to it
Still remember listening to music with friends in high school who were like "Ah yeah I used to have a whole Metallica collection on vinyl before we burned it all in that bonfire three years ago"

Like that's just... a thing that happens, like bad weather
Sometimes you get in a car accident, sometimes an electrical fire breaks out in your house, sometimes a traveling preacher comes through and gets everyone all hyped up about how they need to purge all secular culture from their lives to get right with God

You get used to it
Read 6 tweets
20 Jan
A Poem

Sometimes you have to jump out of the plane
It's the opposite of what they train you to do

Everything is designed to keep you in the plane

You're strapped in tight, the door is locked and barred, and every move toward jumping out trips a dozen shrieking alarms
And the wind is wild and howling and rabid, clutching and groping at you like an animal

And the ground spins dizzy below you, and the empty sky yawns hungry around you, and there's no one here to tell you you're doing the right thing

But you still have to jump from the plane
Read 25 tweets
18 Jan
Dad under investigation from the FBI for insurrection threatens his own children with a gun to try to keep them from turning him in

Gets turned in
Okay so the whole "children informing on parents" stuff has become a right-wing outrage meme, and I gotta say

If you intend to call on bonds of loyalty and love to keep yourself out of trouble, you also need to not threaten lethal violence

You don't get to use both approaches
Like, I think you *shouldn't* threaten to kill your kids in general, because that's, you know, bad karma

But while some abusive dads may have completely normalized this kind of relationship with their kids, *springing* the death threats on them in a panic is just bad tactics
Read 7 tweets
18 Jan
"Meaning" and "community" are extremely loaded terms, especially because a ton of the essence of fash ideology is bashing other people's definition of meaning and community as fake/degenerate/pathetic/childish/effeminate/gross/weird/stupid
The red-light districts of Weimar Berlin WERE a nexus of meaning and community, and the Nazis tore it all up and burned it all down because it was the WRONG KIND of meaning and community
Of course the world sucks and people are unhappy

What I am deeply suspicious of is arguments that everyone is less happy than they would've been in the Good Old Days, and gosh if we want people to be happy we should import some of those Good Old Days values into modern times
Read 5 tweets
16 Jan
Yeah I want to be clear I do not think this in and of itself was a valid justification for picking Biden in the primary

But hoooooly shit how stirred up would these people be if it were Harris actually becoming President -- or Warren, or Sanders
That old joke about the old Jewish guy reading Nazi newspapers because "In these papers we're always winning" resonates with me a lot these days

I get my hope from blackpilled Pepes whining about how "Joe Biden's presidency will irreversibly put us on the path to socialism"
"Sleepy Joe is just a figurehead! He's a puppet for that foreign agent KaMAla, who only pretended to be a law-and-order DA until she could get the chance to put her Marxist professor father's ideas into action!"

Yeah, that's it baby, you know just what to say, keep going
Read 4 tweets
14 Jan
I had a thread once about how if you listen to the lyrics of the song "Day-O" they're a horribly depressing description of a truly horrible job

Which means that associating it with tourists on vacation at a resort is kind of wildly perverse
(The song is from the POV of dock workers loading the bananas for shipping, hence the subtitle "The Banana Boat Song"

So it's not technically a "sea shanty" but it's shanty-adjacent)
Seriously, one of the verses of the song is about how when you're exhausted at the end of your shift and tipsy because you've had a little nip to take the edge off is the perfect time for a tarantula to ambush you
Read 5 tweets
14 Jan
I'm sitting here weighing the idea that you could get rid of a lot of what's toxic about the word "working-class" (as well as misleading, hypocritical, inconsistent, etc.) in ordinary discourse by just committing to saying "poor" instead
Yes I know that in Marxist theory etc. it has a specific meaning

I'm saying that meaning has been so messed up by the way people use it and bicker over it that outside of an academic context, "poor" works much better
It's just really grating hearing about "the working class" to refer to people who own giant ranch houses and huge pickup trucks and a whole arsenal and so forth, and who turn out to own businesses and have employees

Over and over and over again
Read 7 tweets
12 Jan
I already expressed my feelings about Ashley Babbitt so let me just say it's certainly interesting seeing the same accounts that were calling her a "Wife. Veteran. Patriot" suddenly turn on her as a "sexual deviant" and "antifa plant"
It's just funny how powerful narrative is

Before anyone knew anything about her they'd spun this narrative that she was a decorated combat veteran, mother to three children, devoted Christian, etc that they just made up

One phrase, "Air Force vet", and it's off to the races
Anyway if we were actually "grading on points" then the fact that she never really participated in any foreign wars and that she's a queer poly weirdo should theoretically make someone like me more sympathetic to her

But I find it all irrelevant
Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
Yeah one of the ways evangelical Christianity messes you up is it actively pushes you to rewrite history and memory

They give you a universal life script (sin, repentance, salvation) and tell you to remember your life that way
And because so much of this narrative is internal and invisible it's really easy to do

You get tons of extremely pat narratives about how anything that went wrong in your life was a test or a punishment for unaddressed sin, and then God took care of it as soon as you prayed
This is just why I'm generally averse to "spirituality" in this vein even divorced from theology

It is very important to understand, as the writer of Ecclesiastes did, that everything does NOT happen for a reason
Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
As someone who came out of this subculture, you really do never know how much they mean shit like this and how much they're bullshitting
Like as a fellow believer you're supposed to carefully and patiently go "Well pray on it deeply to ensure you aren't being misled" even though YOU KNOW you can just say you "felt God pushing you" to do any damn thing
Like even just charitably speaking about people who really do believe they hear God's voice -

I strongly believe it's really important to at least try to understand why you're making a decision when you make them

This kind of mystical shit is directly designed to obscure that
Read 5 tweets
11 Jan
There was huge drama between the Booths over this, like shortly after New York audiences "canceled" John over making a public anti-Lincoln rant Edwin had a huge fight with him in private and told him he was no longer welcome at his house
And then he went and got himself arrested on suspicion of sedition in St. Louis and had to spend a ton of money to get out of it and Edwin had to do the whole "Famous actor refuses to comment on estranged controversial brother" thing
The story goes that when the news of the assassination got out, Edwin Booth read the papers and blurted out to his family, "He's done it, he's ruined me, he's ruined all of us, our family name is destroyed"
Read 4 tweets
10 Jan
For every one of him there's two or three cops who were joking around taking selfies with the attackers moments earlier and there's a dozen off-duty cops from all over the country who flew to DC to participate in the attack
I'm thinking of that awful paragraph in that article about a Black Capitol PD officer venting to one of his colleagues "You just let this happen!" and breaking down in tears
Goodman did what he did because the system he signed up to be a part of did not actually have his back and did not actually stand up for the values it claimed to exist to protect

I still remember a line from a speech that "heroism is always a failure of leadership"
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
I think constantly about how there's right-wing bias built into the media - fundamentally built into our culture - and this is part of it

To many people fascists *feel* strong, their brand is built on these symbols of strength, no matter how weak their actions actually are
I've been thinking a lot about this, about how the whole left/right conservative/liberal whatever-you-want-to-call-it divide is built on this

People the culture just says intrinsically belong here, deserve to be here, are the kind of people who live here

And people who aren't
The big tough manly dude and his pretty innocent housewife and their adorable kids

The good Christian family, "all-American", blonde hair and white skin and Anglo names, red white and blue

Everyone unconsciously defers to them, gives them extra credit
Read 10 tweets
9 Jan
Laws can always help fascists if they get in a position to exploit them

*Lack* of laws can *also* always help fascists if they get in a position to exploit that

The only actual solution is that you have to always fight fascists

The upshot is really just that you can't leave anything on autopilot and expect that institutions and norms will protect you from fascism in and of themselves

The simple existence of hate speech laws is no reason to relax and neither is the existence of a "free market of ideas"
I would actually be fine with the First Amendment fetishists' demand that state action always be off the table if they actually kept their promise to always oppose Nazis by every other possible means (public shaming, deplatforming, ostracism)
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
The name of the book isn't actually 1984, even though a lot of people write it that way and a lot of book covers use the numerals

It's #NineteenEightyFour (look at the first edition book cover I pasted)
I hate to be the gatekeeper but there's so many fake Orwell fans these days
I hate people calling 1984 a "big tech" dystopia

The only real Big Tech is the telescreens and they play a really small role in the plot - the point of the book is everyone is very poor and aside from the telescreens people live like it's the Great Depression still
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
If you know ANY history it's really really fucking hard to find anything funny about the Capitol attack, even with inherently hilarious self-owns like the dude accidentally tasing himself
The anti-Chinese riots in LA in 1871, the Wilmington insurrection of 1898, the Tulsa Massacre in 1921
Scenes that at least some of the rioters were deliberately evoking

Symbolically attacking the Capitol building is the ending of The Turner Diaries

Running all the Black elected officials out of the state house is the ending of Birth of a Nation (based on the 1898 uprising)
Read 4 tweets
7 Jan
These chuds were parading around a noose and chanting "Murder the Media" - by which they mean him and his colleagues! - and he's so deep in his bubble of privilege and security he feels the need to dole out humanizing anecdotes

Like it makes any goddamn difference to them
I actually mean it when I say people have a duty to push back on the relentless humanizing of the right wing

That's the whole asymmetry here - they *start off more humanized*

The definition of being right wing is being the kind of person people reflexively think of as authentic
Normal, decent folk

Salt of the earth

Everyday old-fashioned red-blooded Americans

People with a picture postcard version of how the country should look in their heads, based on what they think is the country's history since its founding, and hate to see it change
Read 16 tweets
7 Jan
@JARKH87 @iburs17 The crowd was this close to breaching that door and actually getting access to the legislators so you know what no

I'm relieved as hell that someone actually took that shot and I'm still terrified it got that close and could've easily gone further
@JARKH87 @iburs17 I am angry beyond reason that the institution supposedly safeguarding our system is so weak and filled with so many sympathizers that the fascists even got indoors

I have seen how fragile the infrastructure protecting us from them is and I can't unsee it
@JARKH87 @iburs17 What happened yesterday is proof that we hang by a gossamer thread above the pit, that we are always one hesitant security officer away from being ruled by these fucks

They will always be seen as more human, more legitimate, more worthy of life and liberty and voice
Read 4 tweets
5 Jan
I took a playwriting class a long time ago where the teacher talked about how in music "the rests are just as important as the notes" and how it's the same when writing a script
What we call "compression" tends to involve sucking all the empty space ("ma") out of "content" and it sucks

Cf. the "loudness war" when it came to music, i.e. "dynamic range compression" -- trying to make every second of a track equally loud so it "stands out" on the radio
I keep thinking back to that viral video of those kids discovering Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" for the first time

And how that beat drop is totally meaningless if the song doesn't start out mellow and quiet and then build up
Read 4 tweets
5 Jan
Anyway this is why it was super funny that SWTOR nerds got all mad when they wanted to call a subclass "Jedi Wizard", because in Star Wars the word "wizard" is apparently pejorative

"That wizard is just a crazy old man"

Dr Strange getting low-key pissed at Tony calling him one
The Diablo 3 thing where she's called the Wizard rather than a Sorcerer/ess

Because she got kicked out of Sorcerer school and now has adopted "a vulgar and demeaning term for our noble profession" and the council of elders wants her arrested and executed posthaste
I figure in the Diablo universe a Sorcerer putting the word "wizard" on their business card is like when someone calls themselves a "data wizard" or an "analytics guru" or a "UX ninja" on LinkedIn
Read 4 tweets
5 Jan
I was afraid the big scene in Crazy Rich Asians would lead directly to this
It's just funny to me, mah jong can be a lot of things - upscale, downscale, high stakes, low stakes - but the one big thing I always thought it *can't* be is this Goopified pastel white lady stuff

It's a gambling game
It's like watching all the suburban soccer moms gather for an uplifting and spiritually enriching evening of bonding at the blackjack table

Or, I guess, "blaj"
Read 4 tweets