My Own Private Energy Crisis
One of the most delightful moments in Airplane, the 1980 screwball parody of the outgoing decade’s disaster flicks, comes as word of a mass food-poisoning incident on board the ill-fated vessel, which has left it without a competent pilot, has hit the nightly newsdesks. The host of a made-up show called Counterpoint —who I want to say is played by Jackie Gleason in a surprise cameo appearance, still with the moustache he had brandished for his recent turn as Sheriff Buford T. Justice, though I may be misremembering—, looks at the screen and bluntly editorializes: “They bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting into. I say, let ‘em crash.”
This is, plainly, a joke on the logic of the media, which ridiculously demands that every conceivable issue must have its “counterpoint”. But it is also a joke on the folly of man. The passengers didn’t know what they were getting into! we are inclined to say at first. But then again, they did. We all know, every time we fly, that we are getting into something a certain deeply ingrained species of folk wisdom would tell us we shouldn’t be getting into. We’ve trained ourselves not to listen to that voice, but no amount of training will shut it out altogether.
I feel it every time I fly: this is wrong, this is pure hubris, and death is indeed the justest punishment for it, I mutter to myself, all sweaty and cramped and combative, as I pass through the inane rituals of the security checkpoint, where, especially in the US, the employees are bellowing out impersonal commands that, even when laced with humor, and even when passing down information we all in principle need to receive (“Laptops out, ladies and gentlemen, laptops and other large electronic devices out and in a separate bin”), nonetheless always lands somewhere in the same register as the language of the highway patrolman (“Sir, step away from the vehicle”). It’s presented as pure information, and semantically that’s what it is. But pragmatically it is an assertion of the sheer ressentiment of the petty enforcers of state power. Whenever cars become “vehicles”, or planes become “aircraft” (even as getting off of these craft becomes an act of “deplaning”), you may be sure there is someone nearby who is prepared to kill you if necessary or expedient.
So when I’m crammed into the security funnel of that awful limbo known as Charles de Gaulle, I often find myself thinking: This can’t last. It’s going to collapse. All of it. It was always wrong. A sin. A disgrace. Yes, yes, my thought declares as it reaches its crescendo: Let ‘em crash. Then I finally get on my “aircraft”, and I do what I always do — I proceed to cue up three or four stupid movies that will get me through the trans-Atlantic voyage without too much anxiety. But this time Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014) is among them, and I find that it is at least fairly effective in doing what it’s supposed to do — triggering my imaginative faculty. So the next thing I know I am fully sold on all the protagonist’s effusing about how we were not destined to live out our species history on earth, how the tellurian phase of human existence has really just been the beginning, and soon enough we will be realizing our full potential out there building ultralight space elevators and Dyson spheres around the stars of other galaxies. Fuck yeah! I’m thinking to myself, and when the movie’s over I go and pay $24.99 for some Boingo in-flight internet just to satisfy my suddenly insatiable desire to read about wormholes.
There is a plain inconsistency here of course — there will be no Dyson spheres in our future if we turn back even from such modest technological achievements as commercial aviation. And this is an instance of the same general class of oppositions that seem, recently, to structure everything about my life. I have said before that I often feel like the very opposite of a skeptic — my general intellectual temperament has me strongly inclined to take just about everything as true, and very often this includes each of the respective members of a given pair of mutually incompatible claims. We should go back to subsistence-level agriculture and colonize space; it’s good to take pride in your accomplishments and pride is a grave sin; it’s good to have enough money to get things done, to move through the world without too much resistance, and no camel ever passed through the eye of a needle; we should respect the bodily autonomy of all women and care for the unborn; we should stand up to aggressors who disrupt the international order and commit categorically to the abolition of all war, for there is no such thing as a war that is “just”, not even a defensive one; and so on.
Nor is this just the sort of “both-sidesism” that was so perfectly parodied in the suggestion that even an imminent airplane crash is something that needs its defender within the logic of mediatic opinion-mongering. I suppose what I want to say is that the structure of reality itself appears ever more antinomic to me. Kant came up with his antinomies of pure reason to show that at least one domain of inquiry, metaphysics, is compromised from the get-go, as any old-school dogmatic metaphysician will inevitably find himself compelled to accept both elements of a given pair of what appear to be individually necessary yet mutually contradictory propositions (“The world has a beginning in time, and is also limited in regards to space” vs. “The world has no beginning, and no limits in space”, etc.). But Kant’s antinomies, properly digested, only require you to step back from the whole affair, to quit trying to find dogmatic solutions to metaphysical problems, and to rethink it all whole-hog, so that this field of study may finally come forward as a science.
But how do you step back, when everything seems to bring you to a similar impasse?
One solution to many instances of this general problem —at least those instances having to do with the question of how one ought to live, whether in accordance with one’s desires and comforts, or in pure devotion to the collective good— is simply to deny that the ideological phantasms that shape your desires, but that are incompatible with your expressed values, have any real purchase on you. I have never been very good at practicing such denial. Growing up lower-middle class, with significant experience of economic precarity, will, I’ve learned, leave you with a chronic and incurable case of bourgeois aspiration, just as surely as childhood polio will leave you with a lifelong limp.
Many of my colleagues who were by contrast to the manor born seem much more comfortable, even in the midst of their obvious bourgeois comforts, flatly denying that the ideology of that world-historical class has any purchase on them whatsoever. What a feat! What a victory of rhetoric over objective material conditions! As for me, who inherited from my father nothing more than a few choice domain names and an iPhone 10 (stolen just days after I was back from the funeral, on the Paris metro, by a swarm of Roma children who appeared no older than eight or nine, God bless them), and who has basically been struggling to make ends meet for my entire adult life, moving around with my beloved, as the Poet said, “From rental to rental / Like dry old students” — for me, I was saying, every little creature comfort that comes my way brings with it the brief and silly thought: “Yes, you’ve finally made it”. Room service, a ride in an Uber, a new pair of Nikes — all such small things come ever as a surprise. I have, I mean, a fundamentally working-class attitude about the material markers of success: they reassure me.
Many in the class I inhabit today —cosmopolitan, polyglot, propertied, and often with significant intergenerational wealth— are much better at concealing this feeling, or perhaps genuinely do not share in it (how can I know?), and instead of acknowledging a feeling of reassurance will prefer to speak of their own material comfort in terms of guilt and regret. Every consumer choice becomes for some of them an opportunity for the display of moral righteousness. The comfortably bourgeois will praise advertisements for women’s undergarments featuring models with BMI’s that are closer to what you might expect to see in the more disadvantaged layers of American society; meanwhile, within those same disadvantaged layers, consumers will tend to prefer the idealized and fantastical representations of impossibly skinny women on their pantyhose packaging (I am speaking anecdotally, of course, but I have lived on both sides of the divide, and if my anecdotes count for nothing, then what even is the point of paying attention, of looking for patterns, as we go through our lives?). The bourgeoisie jockeys for status by displaying how “good” it is in its consumer habits; the lumpen by contrast continue in their rude habit of seeking, through their consumer choices, to bring whatever shimmer they can, by indirect association with the beauties on the underwear packaging, by strained suggestion of royalty through the display of fake gold or cubic zirconia, to a generally sombre existence.
It is not that I don’t understand that bourgeois aspiration is a lie — I’ve already said that I see it as an ideological phantasm, and neither did I need to pursue graduate studies to gain the intellectual resources to figure this out. When, as a child, my little family determined it might finally be coming into enough money to move from our defunct and decaying chicken farm in Rio Linda into the suburbs of Sacramento, we set our sights on an attractive new tract-home development out on Greenback Lane. If this particular location was somewhat nearer to our financial means, this had much to do with the fact that, unlike some other more recherché developments, it abutted the enormous estate of the East Lawn Mortuary and Crematorium. The most affordable of the homes had the windows of the children’s bedrooms looking directly out on the kitsch neoclassical columns of the main pavilion where the bodies were turned to ash. We were so close to getting away from all the decades of accrued chicken-shit, from the junkyard dogs, the wheelless cars on jacks in all the neighbors’ yards, and the infestations of tree frogs and the Ku Klux Klan, but for us the escape could never be complete, since our ticket to the suburbs would have made us neighbors to Death. We are all neighbors to Death, of course, we are all roommates and bedmates of Death, Death comes up everywhere out the pipes and festers in the wainscoting — but what is the driving fantasy of the bourgeois suburbs if not to escape, or to convince yourself that you have escaped, from that grim specter?
We didn’t get the tract house, though we did continue to share in the dream that it represented, and to participate, wherever possible, in the pleasures it would have afforded. The feeling of a direct blast of air-conditioning on my skin, for example, remains perhaps the most powerfully reassuring sensation I’ve ever known. I read somewhere that in his sorry post-presidency Richard Nixon used to sit at home in Yorba Linda and blast the a/c too. He liked to make it so frigid in his home in mid-summer as to compel him to sit in front of the glowing fireplace covered in a blanket while the California sun blazed right outside. That sounds like the ultimate comfort to me as well, yet unlike Nixon I am sharply aware of the untenability of this arrangement — or to put it more bluntly, I am sharply aware of the untenability of this country, whose frontier seems to have been conquered largely as a result of (i) innovations in refrigerant technologies, and (ii) the invention of barbed-wire (on the latter of which, see Reviel Netz’s excellent book, the idea for which came to him on week-end drives while teaching at Stanford, perhaps through Central Valley dustbowl settlements, all fairly bestrewn with barbed-wire, much like the one my own family dreamt of escaping). I am aware of the untenability of this strange arrangement of a country, I was saying, and I want more.
On a world map of energy consumption per capita, where the United States is black and Norway and Canada are a dark maroon, the countries of central Africa are white, and most of Western Europe, including the country I’ve called home for the past decade, is pink (though a somewhat darker shade of pink than the countries of Eastern Europe, some of which are also on the long list of places I’ve thought of as home or home-like). This color-coded difference can easily be felt when moving back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean. In America we blast the a/c, and even in the deserts we mow and water the lawns as if it were a sacred duty (I used to think corporate business parks in Germany were “abandoned”, simply because the lawns out front were unmowed); we pretend to recycle, at most; and, although this habit seems to be vanishing, we were long caught in a peculiar game in which the fuel-inefficiency of a car was itself the source of the status it conferred on its owner. My own first cars were classic 1970s American land-yachts —a Lincoln Continental, a Gran Torino station wagon that for some reason had the words “Necro Panzer” stenciled on the back when I bought it used for $350—, and they were splendid conveyances and a source of great pride and delight for me.
I did not think much about energy policy back then, still less about the fact that for the vastly greater part of human history the energy we consumed was mostly just the biomass that served as our nutrition, plus, at some later stage, the biomass of the wood we burned to help us break down many sorts of nutrition in advance of the work of digestion narrowly speaking. It was only yesterday that coal replaced wood, and the fossil fuels came even more lately, and now, when I commute across the Atlantic, and I insist on turning summer into winter just like Nixon before me, just as my Western American forebears dreamed of doing, the heavenly calorimeter keeping track of all of this is absolutely skyrocketing off any chart that might also measurably map the energy consumption of the Miwok acorn-gatherer who inhabited this land before me. And I know it can’t last, and I keep doing it anyway. Air-conditioning now feels to me, in fact, a lot like drinking used to feel. I can’t keep doing this, I used to say to myself, as I opened the first bottle of wine for the night. I can’t keep doing this, I always said, and then I kept doing it.
Our forebears didn’t think in terms of “energy” — it’s a technical term in Aristotle’s metaphysics, synonymous with something like “actuality”, and for him it characterizes above all the “pure act” of the Unmoved Mover, or God. How it hypostasized from that lofty register down to our current debates about pipelines and fracking and so on is of course an interesting story, though one I will not relate here. I have said before that we are moving from the era of physics as queen of the sciences to an era in which “informatics” alone can claim that title, and another way of putting this is to say that energy was “brought down to earth” and held our mundane attention from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, while in the current century it is data that is (“are”, technically, but that’s a battle I’ve given up) beginning to enjoy that role.
Both, I think, are classic examples of historically embedded conceptual artefacts, and neither will remain part of our ultimate explanations of how the world works forever. But for now, anyhow, we’re stuck with both, and data’s usurpation of its predecessor can never be more than apparent, as any machine that processes data will stop doing so if its battery runs down or it is unplugged, and this brute fact will always send us right back to the lithium mines and the hydroelectric dams, however free of such gross materiality we might have imagined we were up until the moment we ran out of juice.
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Any complete explanation of this untenable country’s obesity epidemic would surely have something to do with a sort of energetic false consciousness — Americans do not see their eating as a matter of measurable inputs and outputs, but simply as a matter of heeding the underlying message of every TV commercial for Chili’s signature Awesome Blossom or Long John Silver’s hush-puppies or whatever, which is, namely, as Slavoj Žižek used to love to say: “You may”.
This infantile fantasy, of suckling whenever inner appetite or Pavlovian conditioning moves us, of a sort of God-given right to eat whenever and whatever we wish, a dietary manifest destiny, came together with the industrial food policy forged largely under the Nixon administration to permanently banish the once constant threat of mass hunger — and the somewhat paradoxical result was mass obesity for the economically disadvantaged, and slenderness as a fairly reliable outward sign of membership in the elite. It is not to take sides in a fraught debate simply to observe this much. The beauty standards enforced by underwear packaging are indeed ideological, but dietary manifest destiny is ideological too, as ideological as the cluster of beliefs that drove the conquest of the American frontier, and it together with the system of industrial food production has left us with a real and gravely serious epidemic. If you live in the United States and you do not see this, I strongly recommend you renew your passport and go visit pretty much any other country in the world.
My internalized fatphobia, if that is how you wish to see it —I myself see it as a very reasonable measure for avoiding degeneration into an amorphous blob as I age, which is the typical arc of a life among my kinfolk, whom I believe to be at least part walrus—, now has me at the gym for around ninety minutes every day. Here in California I typically go to a Planet Fitness, where the membership rate is $35 per month, and where you will see all sorts of signs on the walls assuring you, in aggressively un-Kantian fashion, that you have landed in a “Judgement-Free Zone” (this time the British spelling is not mine), and that here there are “No Critics Allowed”. The ultimate taboo is extended to any action that might be interpreted as what they call “Gymtimidation”, which includes paradigmatically the behavior of the “Lunks”, creatures who groan when they lift weights, take large gulps from gallon-sized water bottles, and allow their barbells to crash to the floor when they have finished their reps. On the occasion of any such transgression, a “Lunk Alarm”, a rotating blue police light, will be set off — proving that there is at least one class of people, the Lunks themselves, to whom this vaunted freedom from “judgement” does not extend.
Of course, notwithstanding their stated policy, Planet Fitness cannot prevent silent self-critics from coming in, and I seldom go more than a few minutes in that space, with that terrible music (I want to see David Guetta in the dock at The Hague), without thinking “critically” about the political dimensions of my business there. Of course my aspiration to being slim and chiseled is an ideological fantasy, just like the desire to live in the suburban tract house. And just like the desire to live in that suburban tract house it is also a fantasy that remains at every instant, in spite of my best efforts, haunted by the specter of Death. And yet I also love the gym — I lie in bed at night and think about all the new things I’m going to try there the next day, all the personal records I’m going to break, as I once lay in bed and fantasized about going to the waterslide park, as one might lie in bed and fantasize about the next day’s Awesome Blossom. It is an ideological fantasy, but so is the idea that I have a right to go to Chili’s, or get on an airplane, or blast the a/c, or anything else we lie awake and long after in this broken world.
These days I live almost exclusively on almonds, avocados, salmon, and blueberries: the diet of an apex predator, to be sure, and also a diet that requires massive quantities of energy, vastly more than the calories contained in the food itself. I recently saw Nick Kristof worrying, as he does, that a single almond “gulps” —what a Nick Kristof word!— 3.2 gallons of water in the course of its growth. Almonds, it turns out, are Lunks too. So, here we are again with another antinomy: you should both eat almonds and not eat almonds. It’s overwhelming, the way the world keeps splitting into dilemmata like this. I’m feeling gymtimidated.
My grandpa worked at the Blue Diamond factory in Sacramento before the war, where Fordist principles were applied for the mass canning of our Central Valley almonds. I doubt he ever thought about the energy-inefficiency of these nuts (seeds, technically), though years later he became something of an activist for Laetrile, an unapproved cancer drug made from the pits of peaches — the almonds’ cousin in the Amygdalus family. He used to have to go on runs down Mexico way to pick up his drug of choice in that under-regulated land. I saw him talking about it once on the local news. As I recall they invited someone else on as well, to provide the “counterpoint”.
I’ve heard rumors that Putin is currently scheming to build a sort of utopian community near Moscow for disaffected right-wingers from the US and Canada, so that they might go and live according to their own ideal of “freedom”. Like the Volga German Mennonites before them, or the handful of American Jewish socialists who took up Stalin’s offer to resettle in Birobidzhan, there may soon be a MAGA colony in Podmoskov’e.
It was by no means clear in 2016, when the worry about our new global order was generally expressed in terms of titillating gossip of the sort delivered in the Steele Dossier, but in our approach to the 2024 elections it is undeniable that the world is dividing into the camp of Western imperial LGBTQIA+-branded progressivism, on the one hand, and reactionary counterhegemony on the other. Even if there is no pee tape, it becomes more and more evident by the day that Trumpism is aligned with the axis that also includes Putinism, that TruthSocial is comparable in tone and messaging to what you might find at Sputnik or on VKontakte, and that in this respect, as someone once beautifully put it, Trump really was “our first Central Asian president”.
This new rift confuses many of us, who in the twentieth century were able to take for granted that to be on the side of the wretched of the earth, against the hegemonic power of the Pax Americana, was almost by definition to share in universalist principles of justice and equality. Now, if you’re into justice and equality, you can share Tweets from Raytheon depicting aerial drones bedecked in the rainbow flag, or, if that makes you uneasy, you can switch sides, and pretend that anyone resisting American power around the globe is ipso facto “progressive”, whatever that means at this point, and that all the reactionary rhetoric on that side really just amounts to inarticulacy.
Here we have at least an apparent antinomy, but rather than leaving me with a sharp sense of “both/and” necessity, in this case I’m pretty comfortable stepping back, like Kant from the boundaries of the physical universe, and insisting on a “neither/nor”. Political side-taking is usually, perhaps almost always, for weak and needy joiners, and honesty probably requires of us most of the time that we be prepared to retreat into the forest and wait out the spiraling madness that the side-taking imperative necessarily generates.
From our camouflaged perch in the forest, we are sometimes able to observe curious patterns playing out in the centers of debate. For example, everyone from Frank B. Wilderson III to Ron Unz seems to be coming around to the realization that, at least in the United States, liberal usage of the term “racism” often covers over the aboriginal pitting of every immigrant group, “white” or “non-white”, against the practically criminalized class of the descendants of enslaved people. I can recall from my Rio Linda youth the presence in my high school of a handful of so-called “Nazi Lowriders”, that is, Mexican-American boys who had aligned themselves with the white power scene. No one saw any contradiction here. More recently, I’ve heard, a good number of the most hardcore members of the MAGA or post-MAGA movement —or wherever we’re at now, in any case the eggheads somewhere to the right of Michael Anton— are Hispanic and South Asian, many of the latter coming from the more reactionary corners of the tech world.
I don’t know whether these people would be quite as welcome at the Podmoskov’e MAGA colony as the people Russians probably think of first when they think of American conservatives. But then again, like Russia, the United States is the global power it is thanks to the alchemy of identification, where practically innumerable ethnic groups are convinced to buy into, and blend into, the chauvinism of imperial belonging.
There is so much I don’t understand. I have to get on another airplane soon, and I find I have not yet got to one of the variations on today’s theme I had most wanted to discuss, coming from the academic field known as “disability studies”.
As far as I can tell, according to most accounts of disability, I’ve got at least a few of them. I’m not going to tell you what they are, but whether they are to count as disabilities or not seems to me, personally, a fairly minor question about my earthly condition and my ultimate destiny. From what I’ve seen of scholars working in this field, there is a tendency that almost approaches the common central African folk belief that no death is natural, that everyone who dies has been murdered by an enemy who has had recourse to the workings of a magician, and the best response to the loss of a loved one is to seek out a magician yourself to exact revenge on the supposed enemies of the deceased. Scholars in disability studies, similarly, seem to conduct themselves on the presumption that any time anyone is prevented, because of the condition of their body, from taking part in any socially valued activity, a political injustice has occurred.
But that just can’t be right — our ultimate destiny, of course, is the permanent cessation of all participation, and there has to be some kind of transition into that future state, or non-state, during which the options open to us are reduced. There are complicated questions, beyond this stark truth, as to how much we may mitigate the disadvantages that come with physical decline, but they are going to come one way or another, and it is not for human justice to overcome this. There are all sorts of reasons why your comatose 98-year-old grandmother will not be able to participate in your session at the meeting of the American Philosophical Association. Some of these reasons might inspire you to declare: “It’s not fair!” But if I may play with a sort of contrapositive Rawlsianism here, unfairness, at least of this sort, is not injustice, and working out exactly what may reasonably be asked of a society in order to lessen the disadvantages met by some of its members positively requires that we remain sober and honest about the limits of what may be done.
Death and decline are not unjust — it wouldn’t make any sense to describe any necessary feature of our existence in this way. The way we respond to their necessity, however, seems to me almost unavoidably ideological: going to the gym, or going to Chili’s; living a life centered on care for the weakest among us, or living a life in celebration of strength. It’s up to you, and someone will tell you you are doing it wrong no matter what you do. As far as I can tell, such reprimands land most painfully on the youth, who still believe there’s a way to get it right and are working hard to build their lives in harmony with some vision of the right. This is why the youth talk mostly in slogans and clichés.
It is worrisome to live in a culture that has little else on offer for those of us who are old enough to have made out the form of Death in every room and landscape, to hear it creaking in the pipes. Most grown-ups, of course, only double down, enjoy hearing their tenuous commitments reconfirmed by Rachel Maddow or Tucker Carlson, move along willingly with the rising tension of the run-up to the next elections. But we don’t have to go along with all that, and declining to do so may in the end, in ways we can’t foresee, have the power to change the world.
Meanwhile, I really must, as Rilke counseled, change my life. I hate airplanes, and am about to get on one. I love a/c, but I know I have to quit it. I don’t know what to do about all the almonds and avocados. I don’t know whether all my time spent at the gym is (i) positive pro-active self-betterment; (ii) compulsive behavior born of pride and selfishness; (iii) a secularized form of self-mortification. Du mußt dein Leben ändern, I tell myself several times a day. But I know that no change could ever issue in some future state where I’ve managed to “get things right”. It’s really just a matter of fine-tuning so as to arrive in a condition of relative equanimity. Or perhaps it’s a matter of something like energy efficiency.
Of course, the most energy-efficient system is the one that does nothing at all. Beyond that, the only way to determine whether the energy burned by a given system is “wasted energy” or not is to determine whether the result of all this burning is something of value. So then, here is my life, and there behind me are all the calories burned to bring this life to this point. Has it been worth it? Is there anything I can change, now, to be able more confidently to answer that same question with a “yes” in the future?
Most of the time, my life does not seem to me worth much more than the acorns that could have sustained it just as well, by themselves, as all the vastly more calorific fuels I have burned, or caused to burn, or had burned for me. Everything else, but everything else, only adds to my incalculable debt — another sort of “crisis” rich with metaphors no less useful, perhaps, for the project of self-understanding.
South San Francisco
Readers will perhaps have noticed the “snazzy” new customized URL (infinite thanks to Substack’s own amazing Ben Cohen for setting this up for me). I am a second-generation domain-name speculator, and the two lessons my dad taught me about this business are (i) keep it as short as possible, and (ii) no hyphens, ever! But “hinternet.com” was already registered by someone in South Korea, and “thehinternet.com” looked ugly to me, so, sorry, Ken Smith, but I had to go with the hyphen. For a while Ken had a page up where he listed the domain names he had registered and wished to sell for a profit. One of them was “fancyfree.com”, for which he wrote up a little description of the several virtues of this property and of its moneymaking potential, only soon enough to veer off into the arcana of a Mexican psychedelic pop group called Los Fancy Free. As I recall the lead singer was a descendant of Swedish Mennonites who had immigrated to Mexico, so by the time Ken arrived at the end of what was supposed to be a sales pitch for the URL, he had completed a fairly thorough summary of that Protestant sect’s complicated diasporic history. I bring all this up only in the hope that it will help you understand at least something of the genetic baggage informing my writing style.
But anyhow, now that this Substack project is called “The Hinternet” (or “The-Hinternet”) even in its URL, effacing my proper name (which was no longer valid anyway) from the identifying address, it strikes me more than ever that it has become a venue suitable for contributions from multiple authors. I’ve received several very promising submissions in the wake of my first announcement to this effect. I am slowly reading through them, and I apologize for my slowness. Some of them are promising, as I’ve said, but not necessarily for The Hinternet. In due time, I’ll get back to each of the authors of these submissions with some comments and suggestions. Meanwhile, let me just reiterate the call, and say that I am very keen on publishing original and expectation-confounding writing here, so if you have a sui-generis authorial voice and something to say with it, please do consider submitting.