Fuck Smores

Graham Crackers were created to stifle the libido. Marshmallows are a sickly-sweet, cloying blob that, when properly heated, becomes a sort of confectionery napalm, a substance suitable at first for administering serious burns and then cooling into the world's most maddeningly effective adhesive.

Chocolate's fine, I guess.

But the cultural persistence of smores can be attributed to nothing other than the twin forces behind all cultural decay: nostalgia and bad taste. And while smores certainly do taste bad, it's clearly nostalgia that does most to ensure their continued presence. This is how the world ends, bursting into flames over a campfire.

But seriously, fuck smores. Fuck covering your hands with a sticky mess at the one context when you're least likely to have access to running water. Fuck the cutesy apostrophe in the name, offering us a glimpse of a world where we delegate branding to old church ladies. There is only one "s'more" that is valid, and it belongs to Busta Rhymes.

Campfires are wonderful. Hell, open flame in almost any non-arson, non-cross-burning context is pretty great. And nearly any foodstuff one might prepare on said open flames are likely to turn out delicious.

Why, then, sully a potentially-great moment with a sugary, sticky mess simply because it reminds you of some scouting memory of youth that's been made fuzzy and improved by the fog of memory? Make your own wonderful moments. And burn your smores in a fire. You'll have a plausible excuse for how it happened.


The diversity story no one is telling.

In my my latest piece for Medium, I wrote about an issue that's been bugging me for a long time: Asian American men in tech don't do enough to speak up about inclusion in our industry.

Honestly, I think our sexism and our racism against fellow people of color are huge factors. And of course there's our own often-overlooked sense of cultural insecurity, the fear that all the progress and advances we've made are so fragile, so tenuous, that if we speak up in defense of others, we might be pushed back to the margins again ourselves.

But we have power. We have a voice. It's well past time we show our strength.


Beyond the Tyranny of Dad Tweets

Much of my presence on social media, especially on Twitter, is predicated on the foilbes of parenthood. "Dad Tweets" are a venerable staple of the medium, as fundamental as "mommy blogs" are to blogging.

But beyond the reductive and dismissive names for these ways of expressing ourselves, there's another story that often gets overlooked: How oppressive this way of constantly talking about our kids and families can be for so many others. I wanted to reflect on this a bit, and so began a conversation on Twitter a few nights ago.

I was shocked by how strong the response was. Though there was a somewhat muted set of public replies to my tweet, there was an incredibly strong and passionate response through direct messages and email. People really wanted to see this story acknowledged by parents, by those of us who spend so much of our time talking about our kids, seemingly blithely ignoring others' realities.

The truth is, I do think about these issues all the time, but struggle to give them voice. Apparently I'm not the only one. I raise this mostly as a reminder to myself; A fairly straightforward set of simple messages turned out to be all it took to begin a deeper conversation that's taught me a lot.

We miss so many changes to connect with others and let them know we recognize what they're living. And in my particular case, I want to show that not all parents have to be as self-absorbed and self-righteous as the worst caricatures of parenthood tend to appear in many media conversations.

I may be a dad tweeter, but I have huge respect for those who aren't, or won't be, or don't want to be, parents and who cringe or roll their eyes or grieve when they see these seemingly ubiquitous messages on social media.

It's always nice when an idea has a little bit of staying power. A few weeks ago, Yahoo Health featured a piece about 8 Ways to Embrace JOMO, a reference to the "Joy of Missing Out that I wrote about a few yearsa ago, after being inspired by Caterina on the Fear of Missing Out. From there it bubbled up in a few places online, which is a welcome contrast from most things on the web, which disappear quickly and seldom value conversations that start on personal websites.

As when JWT's annual list of things to watch named JOMO a key concept for 2013 (and revisited the idea in 2014, when it inspired more discussion), I don't think this is some particular insight on my point so much as it's an articulation of a larger concept in culture that just didn't have a convenient name.

JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2013 from JWTIntelligence

But sometimes naming things helps us think about them. Of all the things that we could be trying to pay attention to, perhaps feeling better about our choices in spending our time wisely is the best one to be thinking about.

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