Warning Labels

The Surgeon General's warning on social media. A Ron DeSandwich, and this week's news.

Warning Labels
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Hey Friends,

Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Hopefully, you're not planning to smoke, shoot someone, play video games, or use social media this holiday because they now all bear a warning label from the Surgeon General. I've got a little to say about that.

I'll get to that in a minute...

But first, let's get to The News.

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Hot Takes

Week 21 of 2023

Tina Turner Dies

This Wednesday, the angels said, "I want to take you higher" to Tina Turner, and at 83 years old, the Queen of Rock N Roll has died. She is survived by her husband, German music executive Erwin Bach, in whom she found her "true love" (a secondhand emotion). Fans said she was simply the best and that despite the void she leaves behind in rock music, the big wheel would keep on turning. (more)

Tina was a famous survivor of domestic abuse after leaving her first husband, Ike Turner, who treated her like a catcher's mitt with nice legs, subjecting her to constant abuse and manipulation. She left Ike in 1976 while on tour and never looked back. She took Ike to court for custody of their kids and the right to use her name Tina Turner, a stage name he had trademarked early in their careers. She walked out of the courthouse with her name and two Jaguars and built an enormous solo career in the 80s.

Here's a live performance from 2009, where she spends a full three minutes building up the mood before launching into her smash hit Proud Mary.

Desantis on Twitter

Governor Ron Desantis announced his candidacy for President on Wednesday. He began the day with a pudding cup, licked his fingers, and went live on the internet before a crowd of supporters (of Elon Musk). His announcement was through a live broadcast with Musk on Twitter Spaces, the site's live audio-only streaming service, where aides for Desantis reportedly asked a focus group of voters to picture someone with charisma. It was a sight to behold, presumably. The stream, also serving as a commercial for Twitter, was fraught with technical errors for the first 26 minutes, as predicted by everyone but Musk and Desantis. The event streamed enough to deliver several hot mic moments and had to be restarted for a much smaller crowd after crashing multiple times. The announcement's complete failure was a great success, measured by buzz and column inches.

Ron talked about Covid and his decision to keep schools open. A lot. He also mentioned his chief rival, Disney, all but admitting his sanctioning of them is retaliation for their vocal stand on policy issues.

After months of controversial social policies and politically motivated attacks against Disney, the largest employer in Florida, in a show of support, announced a couple of features at their iconic park in recognition of Ron's contribution to the park by transferring their taxes to citizens. One is a menu item called "Ron DeSandwich," which is very meaty but ultimately has almost no flavor. The other new offering is "Ron DeSanitizer," supplied at every bathroom so Floridians can wash their hands of their Governor after relieving themselves. (more)

Bahkmut is Gone

The most brutal battle to date in Ukraine has resulted in the complete destruction of the city of Bahkmut, which now appears to be controlled by Russia. Most of its buildings are hollowed out from shelling, and most of its 80,000 residents have fled. Literally, the only thing still in business is a 7-Eleven, which is selling large Slurpees for just $1 now. (more)

Debt Ceiling

In the ongoing debt ceiling talks, the two seem to be nearing a deal, but they still continue to have differences. For example, at one point, McCarthy said, "Let's cut 16.66% of the nondefense discretionary spending," to which Biden said, "How about cutting 1/6th instead?" (more)

Facebook is Fined

Facebook has been fined a record 1.2 billion euros for failing to prevent Facebook users' data in the EU from being sent to the US. When the news was posted, 1,632,419 "cared," but to be honest, most people really didn't care. (more)


That's it for the news. Now here's The Gist.

Surgeon Generals Mourning

The Gist

The surgeon general issued a warning that social media use may harm children and adolescents.

In a very ironic tweet, which he thought was cute and might delete later, Dr. Vivek Murthy explained the dangers of social media based on mounting evidence that an increased likelihood of symptoms of depression and anxiety occurs for adolescence using social media for more than three hours per day. After posting the tweet, Dr. Murthy began refreshing his feed repeatedly to see how many likes he got. Murthy celebrated the engagement and posted a follow-up picture of himself crying, where he explained that he was sad about all the kids with depression because of the impact social media has had on them.

Okay, there are a lot of embellishments here, but the truth is the Surgeon General has made social media the new cigarettes. Video reels are the new ashtrays where teens flick their butts. I expect a warning label to be placed on Instagram saying that "Posting causes depression, cancerous relationships, and may complicate pregnancy." Hashtag 'no-filter' – hashtag 'blessed' – hashtag 'warning-signs'.

Another day, another warning to overlook.

Every day, we have a new warning from the surgeon general. And we ignore them faster than you can say, "Accept all cookies," the EU equivalent of an internet fig leaf over your privacy concerns. This reminds me of the warnings which came in 1999 from Bill Clinton's Surgeon General in an attempt to address an obesity epidemic. One which has only expanded, with our society sporting 12% fatter statistical obesity rates than before.

The Surgeon General has moved to make a statement about gun violence as well, calling it an epidemic, which is reasonable since it is the leading cause of death among children in the USA. Clearly, we'll need a warning label placed on the side of the constitution, warning patriots their inalienable rights may cause injury and even death.

The warning labels of today are tomorrow's inconvenience. Marketing teams will look for mandatories to fill their packaging and site footers while they try to maximize the purchase and use of the products they place them on. Cigarettes will be "toasted," and processed carbs will be "enriched." The warnings will do little more than make a statement. At best, they'll give Congress permission to create laws or fund programs that tangibly address the problems of loneliness, depression, or cancer. But kids will largely ignore the warnings so long as their parents do the same – and continue to pay the cell phone bill.

The only hope for the epidemic of loneliness and depression is not on a label, and it doesn't cost us $60 per month for unlimited data. It's outside, in parks and on soccer fields, around bonfires, and in soil.

And it is completely free. However, turning it down has been costly.

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That's it for this week.

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Have a great weekend!

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