WELCOME TO TALK HOLE, A MONTHLY TOPICAL CONVERSATION BETWEEN COMEDIANS ERIC SCHWARTAU AND STEVEN PHILLIPS-HORST.
STEVEN: Welp, another year has gone by.
ERIC: It feels like it’s been a year since the last Talk Hole.
STEVEN: Gawker’s freelance budget got cut, so we got furloughed for two months.
ERIC: I love the word furlough. It sounds so luxurious.
STEVEN: The fur is imported.
ERIC: A good furlough will cost you.
STEVEN: At least it lowered my taxable income.
ERIC: That reminds me I still haven’t done my taxes.
STEVEN: There’s so much that didn’t happen this year.
ERIC: The Queen didn’t continue to live.
STEVEN: Trump didn’t go back on Twitter.
ERIC: People didn’t stop saying Dimes Square.
STEVEN: Putin was not cowed.
ERIC: Inflation was not tamed.
STEVEN: The Red Wave never materialized.
ERIC: Liz Truss didn’t outlast that salad.
STEVEN: We didn’t get replaced by a chatGPT.
ERIC: Or did we?
STEVEN: Prove to me you’re human.
ERIC: I’m… tired.
STEVEN: Exhaustion is something AI can never take away from us.
ERIC: But let us not forget about the things that did happen.
STEVEN: Roe v. Wade got overturned.
ERIC: Which ended up really motivating Democratic voters.
STEVEN: Nancy Pelosi should send Ruth Bader Ginsburg a thank you note for dying.
ERIC: The climate changed.
STEVEN: Which is turning out great for wine producers in non-traditional regions. Norwegian riesling anyone?
ERIC: Norway should send Exxon a thank you note for warming the globe.
STEVEN: The world population reached eight billion.
ERIC: Which is crazy because so many people died.
STEVEN: Kirstie Alley.
STEVEN: Shinzo Abe.
STEVEN: Angela Lansbury.
ERIC: Your Twitter namesake, Cancela Lansbury.
STEVEN: Elon said it was either her or my handle.
ERIC: She died for your sins.
STEVEN: Aaron Carter.
ERIC: Too soon.
STEVEN: Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
ERIC: Not a great year for the A. Carters.
STEVEN: Loretta Lynn, Coolio, Jean Luc Godard, Anne Heche, Issey Miyake, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher.
ERIC: I’m sensing a pattern. They’re all famous.
STEVEN: Ivana Trump. That was a bit suspicious.
ERIC: Maybe her gays were trying to kill her. Like Jennifer Coolidge in the White Lotus.
STEVEN: If I wanted to kill my heiress friend, I would take her to Dimes Square and load her up with fentanyl.
ERIC: That’s dark.
STEVEN: Not as dark as being buried on your ex’s golf course.
ERIC: Congrats are in order. First off, to Biden who is still alive.
STEVEN: Congrats to Zelensky on having the year’s most successful GoFundMe.
ERIC: Congrats to all the monkeys whose SEO was ruined by Monkeypox.
STEVEN: Congrats to Brittney Griner for having the best jumpshot of anyone in the gulag.
ERIC: Congrats to Will Smith and Chris Rock whose display of homoeroticism was more successful than the movie Bros.
STEVEN: Congrats to Che Diaz and the bald nuclear-oversight gay luggage thief for making “non-binary” the preferred orientation of villains everywhere.
ERIC: Move over bisexuals.
STEVEN: Congrats to Lionel Messi on his huge bulge.
ERIC: His team also won the World Cup.
STEVEN: I’d let him get my sheets Messi any day of the week.
ERIC: Brown card!
STEVEN: The World Cup was really important for people interested in men being hot.
ERIC: One of the most underserved communities in today’s society.
STEVEN: Soccer players are so much hotter than other athletes. It crosses all demographic lines — ethnicity, nationality, levels of hirsuteness. It is an upsetting level of hotness.
ERIC: Almost as upsetting as the hotness of temperatures that killed all the migrant workers who built the stadiums.
STEVEN: Why are they so hot, you ask? It’s science.
ERIC: The forbidden pillar of STEM.
STEVEN: First, the sport requires cardio instead of brute strength. You don’t need the fridge-like body of a football player. You’re running for 90 minutes straight. It makes you limber.
ERIC: There’s a more uniform hot appearance too. There’s not a seven-foot center or a giant linebacker — not that they can’t be hot but their bodies are more specialized. Hotness is the standard and the standard is hot. One organism, thousands of abs.
STEVEN: They’re also not covered in helmets. So you can see them.
ERIC: I can always tell someone’s hot just by looking at them.
STEVEN: They’re also kind of gay and dramatic. They roll around and pretend to die and kiss each other.
ERIC: An imprisonable offense in Qatar. Unless you say you’re just pretending.
STEVEN: Then there’s the evolutionary factors. To play soccer, you need a hunter’s face. Piercing eyes to scan the field and find the ball at all times. Sharp cheekbones to decrease wind resistance. No other sport is like this. Baseball is mostly standing around; there’s no body type it favors. In swimming your face is underwater.
ERIC: In polo you need to ride a horse.
STEVEN: So you need the body of a rich girl.
ERIC: I believe the term is “nepo baby.”
Exhaustion is something AI can never take away from us.
STEVEN: So… what was 2022’s vibe?
ERIC: The vibe was expansion. Inflation. Nothing new was created, but what was there got bigger, maybe just more out of reach. On a higher shelf.
STEVEN: Either way it was expensive.
ERIC: And we ate it up. That’s the thing about capitalism, every year they sell you a new year.
STEVEN: There’s a built-in obsolescence to the Gregorian calendar.
ERIC: The old year isn’t working anymore. Time to upgrade your year!
STEVEN: And they’re always the same length. They always perform the same basic functions as the previous year — Oscars, Hurricanes, Toyotathon. Do we really need a new one?
ERIC: Yet there we are on Dec. 31, lining up like a bunch of losers at the year store.
STEVEN: I’m gonna be a conscientious objector. It’s 2022 for me, as far as the eye can see.
ERIC: That’s one way to stem inflation.
STEVEN: To put 2022 in context, I feel like 2020 was the year of guilt — masking, GoFundMes, infographics, vaccine shaming. Then 2021 was the year of checking out. Everyone was over everything. I went to France for two months.
ERIC: I adopted a dog, which really took me off the social calendar.
STEVEN: 2022 was about… checking back in.
ERIC: The year of circling back.
STEVEN: We circled back to our privilege.
ERIC: 2022 was about not apologizing for our lifestyle. Politics and money and hardships don’t exist anymore. I was just watching House Hunters and instead of mentioning their “problems,” couples now just call everything a “challenge.” That’s a change in the way people are thinking.
STEVEN: My husband’s need for a bonus room is a challenge.
ERIC: We’re tired of the victim narrative. We want to be players, not bystanders. Even if we can’t afford groceries, we still think we can win the game.
STEVEN: That sounds like a return to a more classic reading of capitalist ethos and the American Dream. No matter who you are — you can make it here. I believe it was Mark Twain who once said that Americans all see themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
ERIC: I am definitely feeling very humiliated right now.
STEVEN: Because you’re not a millionaire?
ERIC: Because I just bought a 2010 Prius. With no Apple CarPlay.
STEVEN: At least you didn’t get a Tesla.
ERIC: Priuses are kind of the OG Tesla.
STEVEN: When environmentalism was still a comfortably upper-middle class indulgence, and not an upper-upper class indulgence.
ERIC: There was no Elon Musk with Priuses. Just dads who liked saving money by driving 50 mph on the freeway.
STEVEN: Speaking of family, the holiday party was back in a big way this year. Friend groups, offices, Patreon-subscriber Zooms.
ERIC: There’s something mandatory about a holiday party that feels comforting.
STEVEN: It’s kind of like the Oscars. Hollywood actors are always like “This is a small town. I look around this room and I see my family.”
ERIC: I look around and see people I’ve had sex with. Or I’m going to have sex with.
STEVEN: If you can see the future, you should head over to the Fed.
ERIC: That reminds me of gay tarot card reading I got at a holiday party.
STEVEN: What was the prediction?
ERIC: I just remember the words “underdeveloped” and “beginner.”
STEVEN: You sound like an emerging economy. Watch out, Indonesia.
ERIC: Also the words “sneaky” and “slutty” came up.
STEVEN: That’s giving more Baltic crypto sex state. Maybe Latvia.
ERIC: Speaking of the economy, I have not purchased gifts yet.
STEVEN: Gifts sales were down across the board. I saw one completely random photo of an empty mall on Twitter, which I will assume is representative of the entire global economic climate.
ERIC: Does an empty mall mean people bought everything already? Or that no one wanted anything?
STEVEN: It means people got their shopping done early, because they were afraid of supply-chain shortages.
ERIC: The supply-chain shortage of 2021 was our generational trauma.
STEVEN: Personally, I will say I felt less of an urge to shop this year. “Buy, buy, buy” turned into “Save For Later.”
ERIC: Maybe we reached peak shopping during the pandemic.
STEVEN: Serotonin overload. And now we know that “adding to cart” can never really fill the cart inside.
ERIC: I’ve been shopping but I also did all the pandemic things on a delay. I got a dog and a car after the vaccine.
STEVEN: And what are you doing with this car?
ERIC: I drove to see Avatar.
STEVEN: The sequel to Tár.
ERIC: CGI has come so far.
STEVEN: Why are they called Avatars? I feel like that word used to be kind of meaningless to most people and now it’s a bit fraught, as our online personas are more important than our real lives.
ERIC: In order to infiltrate the native villages on Pandora, the humans created this technology that turns you into an Avatar by uploading your brain into the body of a blue person.
STEVEN: So it’s a racial brain transplant.
ERIC: Yes, just like white gays doing digital blackface on Twitter.
STEVEN: Insert Real Housewives of Atlanta reaction gif here.
ERIC: One thing I thought Avatar was missing was some sort of Jar Jar Binks.
STEVEN: So, a Jamaican person?
ERIC: Or maybe a Jennifer Coolidge. Comic relief.
STEVEN: Maybe a Jamaican Jennifer Coolidge.
ERIC: That might be too funny.
STEVEN: She’d put the comedy industry out of business.
ERIC: We’re gonna get furloughed again.
STEVEN: You know what’s funny? Being forced to buy Twitter after you tried to back out of it.
ERIC: I empathize with Elon. Commitment is hard.
STEVEN: I will say this about the Twitter Files, and then we can talk about Elon: I liked the Hunter Biden laptop story and I liked the dick pics. And yeah, I think it’s rude that Twitter mods tried to squash the Hunter story, and it’s hypocritical of mainstream media to say they don’t care now.
ERIC: I also liked the Hunter dick pics.
STEVEN: And Twitter’s brass was saying they couldn’t post them because they were “hacked?” First of all, they weren’t even hacked. He left his laptop at a repair shop like a good American. But also, what does “hacked” even mean? I’m hacking Gawker right now by writing this piece.
ERIC: Yes, you’re a hack.
STEVEN: What I also find hypocritical is Her Majesty Elon releasing these files in these homosexual little “dumps” to random Twitter users, instead of making a searchable database like Wikileaks. Wikileaks is straight. Twitter is gay.
ERIC: You want to see if there’s a file on you?
STEVEN: I want to see Hunter Biden’s dick.
ERIC: It’s a matter of national security.
STEVEN: Exactly. I will feel more secure if I can see it regularly.
ERIC: I believe in dick transparency.
Wikileaks is straight. Twitter is gay.
STEVEN: Here’s the problem with Elon: the whole point of Twitter was that it was run by herby, cringey HR office people. People who do not really use Twitter. People who do not strive to have banger tweets. But Elon is the ultimate Twitter user, just desperate to go viral. It’s sad.
ERIC: Him and AOC have too much sexual tension. They were just bonding over their stalkers on Twitter.
STEVEN: Incel BF, socialist GF.
ERIC: They could be the new Grimes and Elon.
STEVEN: He loves an anime-watching, art-fair tote bag-toting, Acela corridor communist e-girl.
ERIC: Well, AOC has a Tesla. They’re perfect for each other. If they got together it would heal this country.
STEVEN: One nation, under cringe, with shadowbans and throttled tweets for all.
ERIC: It’s very Evita. Because he’s kind of the fascist leader, but she’s glamorous, and everyone would be into it.
STEVEN: I think it shows the limitations of everyone’s prescribed internet “avatar,” if you will. The socialist e-girl dunking on the billionaire is this kind of narrow, repressed feminine archetype that just wants to sit on daddy’s lap. And the fashy-tech bro overlord is just horny and pale.
ERIC: Ultimately AOC is skinny. And that trumps most identities.
STEVEN: Do you think Elon would ever date a curvier femme?
ERIC: I think he likes two-dimensional women. An upload.
STEVEN: An NFT.
ERIC: No fat thighs.
STEVEN: Let’s talk about buccal fat removal because everyone is talking about that.
ERIC: It turns your face into an hourglass shape.
STEVEN: It makes the cheekbones allegedly higher and it fashions a little waist out of your cheeks. Which makes sense in the age of Instagram — now your face has to be your whole body.
ERIC: The face is the body of the face.
STEVEN: And buccal fat removal is like permanent contouring.
ERIC: It’s the tattooed eyeliner of the year.
STEVEN: The obvious problem is that cheek fat is a huge signifer of youth.
ERIC: It’s going to age you like Hell. And then you’ll need to fill it in later. You’re just signing up for an endless list of things that need to be done. What if the economy collapses? Will you still be able to get the same surgery?
STEVEN: It’s like how I’m now forced to be on PReP for the rest of my life. What if Elon shuts down the PReP factory? What will my identity be without being able to take toxic loads?
ERIC: Maybe by denying surgeries you’re just denying the person you’re meant to be.
STEVEN: Right, a buccal fat person.
ERIC: Like Lauren Buccal.
STEVEN: Or the Milwaukee Buccs.
ERIC: I want my face to tell a story.
STEVEN: And it has a lot of plot.
ERIC: Every pockmark is a character on White Lotus.
STEVEN: Someone ends up dead after being on it.
ERIC: It's interesting that you and I were drawn to each other, as two people with acne scars.
STEVEN: As I’ve said before, a lot of gays have acne scars because they pick at their faces because they’re self conscious. It’s a self-selecting demographic.
ERIC: Speaking of self-consciousness, this was also the year of the Fox. Julia Fox.
STEVEN: She defines the post-scammer era.
ERIC: She ended an era.
STEVEN: She ended Kanye. She ended Trump.
ERIC: But is she the start of something, too? She’s very skinny. NFTs, perhaps.
STEVEN: She’s BPD. She’s online. She doesn’t care what you think.
ERIC: She’s the mainstream expression of Downtown now known as “Dimes Square,” which is closer to what people think it is than what it actually is. It’s about apathy and presentation of this self. This nihilistic indulgence mixed with creativity. But it’s apolitical.
STEVEN: She doesn’t care who’s president, and she’s making a towel into a dress. She’s low-brow, high end.
ERIC: Meanwhile Kanye and Kim were the ones carrying Balenciga’s water and they got canceled.
STEVEN: Yet Julia Fox escapes unscathed from their (allegedly) pedophilic clutches.
ERIC: Poor Demna. He went all in for Ukraine, for refugees, for peace! But still got taken down by the pearl-clutching arbiters of child safety.
STEVEN: Everyone loses in the Woke Olympics.
ERIC: The Virtue Cup has no golden trophy.
STEVEN: Only dead migrant workers.
ERIC: Interesting how the purported return of “indie sleaze” has morphed into mainstreaming pedophilia.
STEVEN: I like how conservatives are suddenly paying attention to the artistic direction of a self-consciously over-the-top fashion brand. Marjorie Taylor Greene is on Reddit investigating the baroque references of your prop stylist, pouring through ’70s art books featured in the background of a photo shoot. Balenciaga has turned self-professed anti-intellectuals into art history majors.
ERIC: Well, it just reveals how conservatives’ obsession with children is the real pedophilia. It’s always the dad’s alderman friend taking the daughter into the bathroom at the county committee meeting.
STEVEN: Obviously Balenciaga the brand is just a faggot’s artistic vision. His conceptual trolling of the consumer as a design ethos is not pedophilic. But Balenciaga the corporation, owned by one of the biggest fashion conglomerates in the world? That’s nefarious. I bet some Kering shareholders were at Epstein’s island.
ERIC: Right. The culture Balenciaga is aiming to reach — nihilistic gay guys in cities — don’t care about kids. The billionaries who own the company are like ”oh fuck we do traffic children, we need to deny this.” But I wouldn't blink twice if I saw a child wearing a bondage teddy-bear backpack on the streets of New York.
STEVEN: I wouldn’t blink twice if I saw a child at Unter.
ERIC: I feel like it’s only children there.
ERIC: We’re a pun or two away from having our employer issue a statement.
STEVEN: It’s interesting even liberals felt the bondage teddies went too far. You see the free- speech fig leaf fall right off. At least the conservative position is slightly more consistent — they’re the ones already afraid of children at drag shows.
ERIC: They long for the JonBenét Ramsey era when little girls got to be drag queens.
STEVEN: Bring back pageants!
ERIC: But don’t introduce our poor children to harness culture.
STEVEN: Harness culture is the eroticsim of girls who ride horses.
ERIC: The real irony is it’s Catholicism that’s always put boys in little dresses.
STEVEN: And made them fuck priests.
ERIC: Anti-drag really came out of nowhere — curiously right as the gay community was getting bored of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
STEVEN: Drag was left undefended.
ERIC: And Ru went all Oprah and started preaching about the transformative potential and power of drag.
STEVEN: It became more identity vs. an aesthetic art form.
ERIC: And then it got boring.
STEVEN: My New Year’s Resolution is to never be boring or preachy.
ERIC: My New Year’s Resolution is to be more boring.
STEVEN: And that tension creates the perfect dynamic for a conversational column between two gay guys.
ERIC: Or two bots.
STEVEN: See you next year!
ERIC: Unless we’re furloughed again.
Previously on Talk Hole: Talk Hole: Bro Hole