Talk Hole: Bro Hole
Two gay guys discuss the Queen's death, Fashion Week, and the dollar.
WELCOME TO TALK HOLE, A MONTHLY TOPICAL CONVERSATION BETWEEN COMEDIANS ERIC SCHWARTAU AND STEVEN PHILLIPS-HORST.
ERIC: Hey Bro.
STEVEN: Sup Bro. Wyd?
ERIC: Just got back from the gym. Have you seen Bros yet?
STEVEN: I was actually too busy being authentically homosexual this weekend — sleeping late, getting haircuts, etc.
ERIC: So it’s your fault the movie flopped.
STEVEN: Now Hollywood is going to outlaw gay cinema.
ERIC: And we’ll never get a gay Marvel movie.
STEVEN: We already have a Pink Panther.
ERIC: I think it’s okay to be gay and fail at the box office.
STEVEN: A feat straight people have been accomplishing for years.
ERIC: Straight people didn’t like Bros because no one died of AIDS in it.
STEVEN: Straight people didn’t like Bros because Billy Eichner isn’t famous or 19 years old enough.
ERIC: An empty movie theatre is actually really gay — plenty of space for mutual J.O.
STEVEN: And what’s wrong with that? If Billy Eichner were truly a champion of gay rights, he’d be thrilled that closeted Hasids were filling out the back row of the 11 a.m. screening to rub one out in quiet unison.
ERIC: Gay isn’t mainstream— it’s underground. People in Wisconsin still don’t know about it and that’s okay.
STEVEN: But I saw ads for Bros on the subway.
ERIC: And the subway is underground.
STEVEN: True. Maybe the mainstream just feels gayer because everything is campy now. Like how Don’t Worry Darling had to create this “bitchy” behind-the-scenes story to get attention despite it being such a straight movie.
ERIC: That’s just gaybaiting, which still works. Bros was straightbaiting, which hasn’t caught on yet.
STEVEN: Right. The only bating that works is master.
ERIC: I think you mean primary-bating.
STEVEN: Is the stock market gaybaiting by acting so erratic?
ERIC: Yes. Credit Suisse is doing a death drop.
STEVEN: Their balance sheet has more holes than Swiss cheese.
ERIC: Ugh, I’m such a bad investor.
STEVEN: And now’s the perfect time to invest. My stockbroker says it’s a great entry point.
ERIC: Great. Another thing I have to do today. I hate liaising with my stockbroker.
STEVEN: Robin Hood isn’t a stockbroker.
ERIC: Robin Hood is the OG scam artist.
STEVEN: He wasn’t robbing the rich. He was robbin’ the hood. It’s right in the name.
ERIC: It can be hard to steal from the rich. A lot of illiquid assets. Not easy to siphon.
STEVEN: It’s hard to fit a Tesla in a burlap sack.
ERIC: A Tesla’s not an asset. It’s a liability.
STEVEN: I think I’m an asset to the column, but a liability to you.
ERIC: I think most gay people are liabilities.
STEVEN: But people get better with age — more experience, more hilarious stories to tell over boozy drag brunches, better skills in bed. Whereas objects just deteriorate.
ERIC: People are assets if you can exploit them.
STEVEN: Like how the Queen was an asset to Meghan Markle.
ERIC: And now she’s dead.
STEVEN: Luckily Markle still has her podcast.
ERIC: Which can be an asset or liability, depending on what you say.
STEVEN: There’s something absurd about continuing the monarchy after Liz. She presided over the rapid decline of the empire, at a time when the position itself was already a ceremonial vestige. The only reason she was significant was because of her longevity. She was immovable. Like a really heavy armoire.
ERIC: Sometimes doing nothing is the best strategy. Become part of the decor.
STEVEN: It allowed her to evade the reality that she was irrelevant, but it gave Brits a sense of national identity. A mum.
ERIC: Yes there’s nothing more British than being stuffy and old.
STEVEN: If you were born after her reign began, you could maybe fool yourself into imagining she had been there since 1702 when it all still mattered. But Charles can’t do that. The jig feels very much up.
ERIC: Jig sounds more Irish.
STEVEN: Waltz? I guess that’s Austrian. What’s a British dance?
ERIC: Witty conversation.
STEVEN: Good chat, luv.
ERIC: Having a fag in the folly.
STEVEN: In the folly? A folly’s not a place…
ERIC: It is, in fact. “Folly” is an ornamental structure popularized in 18th-century British picturesque landscape architecture.
STEVEN: So it’s a mistake and a place. Kind of like colonialism.
ERIC: Taxes were the real mistake. It’s why we rebelled.
STEVEN: Yet here we are, speaking English.
ERIC: But we’re 35. The younger generation only speaks in TikTok dances and stimming.
STEVEN: Shakespeare would be rolling in his grave.
ERIC: And rolling back and forth is self-stimulating behavior seen in autism spectrum disorder.
STEVEN: The royal family better start rebranding if it wants to stay relevant.
ERIC: They need a new logo. That coat of arms needs an amputation.
STEVEN: The coronation should be an onboarding.
ERIC: The crown should be a bucket hat.
STEVEN: The scepter should be a beautiful jewel-encrusted strap-on to appeal to lesbian subjects.
ERIC: They should send those blood diamonds back to Africa. It’s all about ethically sourced lab-grown diamonds.
ERIC: And “king” is problematic. Has an air of domination.
STEVEN: Let’s try Primary Monarch.
ERIC: Which makes Camilla the Guest Monarch.
STEVEN: Can we make Buckingham Palace sound a little more accessible?
ERIC: Buckingham Palace Bar & Grill.
STEVEN: Maybe a little more modern. Buckingham Speakeasy + Kitchen.
ERIC: And when he needs a staycation, Charlie can take the royal laptop to Windsor Co-Working Space.
STEVEN: Prince George is gay, which feels modern.
ERIC: So was Edward II. Gay is old news.
STEVEN: Then he’ll need to go trans.
ERIC: Georgina Era incoming.
STEVEN: What about pulling out some of the old favorites with a new spin? War with France, but make it drones.
ERIC: Unfortunately Britain is embroiled in a war with itself these days.
STEVEN: They don’t trust Truss.
ERIC: It’s ironic because Elizabeth just died and now they have a new Liz in charge.
STEVEN: They’re Liz-pilled. They’re in their Liz era.
ERIC: Is Lizzo British?
STEVEN: Yes, she’s about to be Chancellor of Body Positivity.
ERIC: Work that Trussy.
STEVEN: Is a trussy when trade has a pussy? Or is it a type of bridge?
ERIC: A bridge promotes trade.
STEVEN: And trade can be a bridge. From England to America. From Lizzo to Liz.
ERIC: Trussy tanked the pound so it’s a good time to be Lizzo, not Liz.
STEVEN: I want my trussy to get pounded.
ERIC: It’s a real schadenfreude moment to see sterling hit the rails. The pound has always been that one currency that you just can’t get a leg up on!
STEVEN: Foreign exchange rates are of little consolation to us Dollaristas right now. The dollar is now the do,ooo,ooo,llar. Have you seen the price of blueberries lately?
ERIC: I actually buy dollar blueberries that are about to go bad from the Korean grocer and then freeze them for my smoothies. Inflation is individual.
STEVEN: Right, by freezing the berries you’re locking in the price.
ERIC: And then I’ll sell them when the price goes up.
STEVEN: This is why I put my jeans in the freezer.
ERIC: I’m currently being harassed by an aggressive buyer from The Real Real. They want me to sell all my possessions. Like an estate sale, but I’m still alive.
STEVEN: That’s beautiful. Too often we don’t auction off people’s stuff until they’re dead.
ERIC: I’m in consignatory — between the heaven of selling and the hell of owning.
STEVEN: We are all but merchants — temporary pushcarts full of wares, shepherding our valuables from one party to the next along the cruel, meandering trade route of life. And then we die.
ERIC: I usually just bring a bottle of wine to a party.
STEVEN: Another thing you buy and then don’t own anymore once you encounter a group of liberals.
ERIC: Conservative women also love wine — they invented wine o’clock.
STEVEN: Speaking of conservative women who love wine, new italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni is a hot cup of Chianti.
ERIC: That clip of her talking about how we’ve all become identity-less consumers spoke to me.
STEVEN: It’s a great time to be a woman in charge. And she brings a natural sultriness to the job we rarely see. It’s usually sturdy warhorses like Merkel or Le Pen, or haunted filler queens like all the Fox News girls.
ERIC: Yes, it’s a win for feminism.
STEVEN: Although her pro-Italy sentiment felt a little hollow in that Zara fit, which is a Spanish brand.
ERIC: I also noticed some fascist aesthetics at Milan Fashion Week — the Ferragamo show’s neoclassical columns against stark red backdrop, the Moncler 70th anniversary 1,000-strong flash mob-white puffer rally in front of the Duomo.
STEVEN: The definition of facism is now just people in unison.
ERIC: There’s something undeniably appealing about a unified front — monochromatic, synchronized. We’re confronted with so many conflicting aesthetics throughout the day.
STEVEN: Yes, it’s nice not to think so much about everyone’s outfit and just focus on the one outfit of everyone.
ERIC: I wish I only had one outfit. Then The RealReal would stop harassing me.
STEVEN: I think people are really responding to her speech that went viral — where she says “they” want to take away our gender, national identity, and religion so we can be more docile consumers — because there’s a rock hard truth at its core. Progressivism is so corporate, man.
ERIC: Our invisible technocrat overlords pronouns are they/them.
STEVEN: Not only are we all just numbers in an Amazon queue waiting for our next delivery of plant-based sex toys, but identity itself is always just another consumer choice.
ERIC: I identify as Prime.
STEVEN: And Meloni identifies as Prime Minister.
ERIC: I’m hearing that she’s not actually that fascist. And Hillary thinks she’s a gutsy woman.
STEVEN: Gutsy and fascist are not mutually exclusive. But Hillary and president are.
ERIC: She never made it past secretary.
STEVEN: And what’s more trad than that!
STEVEN: Which now means “girlboss” because of the franchise.
ERIC: We’ve gone full circle.
STEVEN: Housewife used to be an invisible role. Now it can make you famous.
ERIC: And fame is about visibility.
STEVEN: And visibility is about rights.
ERIC: Except that everyone just wants to be seen, which is the root of exploitation. It’s how Christianity works — God is watching. And he’s on the clock so pay your alms.
STEVEN: It’s also the root of capitalism. Instead of God watching, it’s Siri.
ERIC: To be seen is to become aware of oneself. If you can be commodified, you are valid.
STEVEN: This is why I don’t understand business-friendly American conservatives’ obsession with trans surgery. It’s a huge windfall for the medical industry.
ERIC: Gender affirmation is a booming market. The neoliberals see that.
STEVEN: Conservatism never really wins when it comes to gender trends. Women in the 1950s fought to wear pants, and guess what? They’re still in pants. And those pants sell.
ERIC: And not just any pants. Giant-fit chinos.
STEVEN: Time marches irrevocably forward. Today’s modern chino-clad parents want Logan and Huxon to be they/thems — and they’ll spend whatever it takes to get it. The ship has left the port.
ERIC: And gender is the fluid that that container ship is sailing on. It’s currently passing the Horn of Africa filled with fillers.
STEVEN: All the mothers I know are already picking their kids’ genders.
ERIC: They should book their outpatient procedures now, too.
STEVEN: It’s gonna be hard to find a top surgeon for your teen in 2036.
ERIC: It’s gonna be hard to find a top in 2036.
STEVEN: If you think the pilot shortage is bad, just wait.
ERIC: There’s no line at the pilot surgery booth.
STEVEN: Speaking of lines, the Nord Stream pipeline got blown up.
ERIC: Pipelines. They got Nord Stream 1 and North Stream 2.
STEVEN: I guess if you’re already down there, it makes sense to stock up.
ERIC: They’re calling it an act of sabotage. An inner saboteur perhaps?
STEVEN: I wonder if Biden did it. Maybe Hunter? Macron? Tiffany Trump?
ERIC: She’s got one last score to settle.
STEVEN: Donald Trump always said Germany would be screwed by its reliance on Russian gas. Now she made it real. Back from law school, on a mission to the Baltic to prove her daddy right.
ERIC: I think Putin did it. Backed into a corner, he’s lashing out.
STEVEN: Yes, when I’m up against a wall, I love to self-sabotage, destroy my biggest source of leverage, and make myself the victim.
ERIC: When you’re up against a wall, there’s usually someone Putin-it in.
STEVEN: He’s definitely up against something. His soldiers are deserting. He had to get a draft going, and not the IPA kind.
ERIC: It’s hard to win when your heart’s not in it.
STEVEN: Whereas Ukraine’s head over heels. I was speaking to a Ukrainian who has a lot of family there, he said they’re doing good. Some of them are fighting. They’re feeling good about the war they’re fighting! They’ve found their why.
ERIC: Found their why? You sound like a strategy deck.
STEVEN: All the manpower and artillery in the world isn’t as important as a really good brand pyramid.
ERIC: Has America lost their why?
STEVEN: Our why is usually a stunted, violent homoeroticism that can’t express itself — guns, killing people, being gay with your platoon.
ERIC: The new movie Bros.
STEVEN: All of which has been pretty helpful in our military campaigns so far.
ERIC: Unless you’re a drone operator.
STEVEN: True, you don’t need a why for that. It’s just pressing buttons.
ERIC: And yet, pushing someone’s buttons means to provoke a reaction.
STEVEN: Which leads to fighting.
ERIC: From revolutionary to reactionary, America just wants attention.
STEVEN: There’s no such thing as free press.
ERIC: Or free oil.
STEVEN: And that’s why Tiffany blew up the pipeline.
ERIC: Exactly. For attention.
STEVEN: My boyfriend is a scientist and said a really great quote to me recently: “there’s no such thing as free energy.”
ERIC: I stopped listening at “my boyfriend.”
STEVEN: Every mode of energy production has a cost: human, financial, environmental. Wind, solar, nuclear — all require rare metals mining. They all have parts that break down and need to be replaced. They’re all expensive. But what they don’t all do is put a ton of carbon into the air.
ERIC: And not every column produces hot air.
STEVEN: No, I’m pretty sure they all do.
STEVEN: Another question is why do we need so much energy? I was strolling through my neighborhood today and saw a parked car, engine on, spewing exhaust, four people in the vehicle, all staring at their phones in silence.
ERIC: Sounds like your main problem was the silence.
STEVEN: It made me think — what are we doing all this for? In the past 100 years we’ve accelerated a 10,000-year warming cycle in the name of all this life-altering technology. And yet we’re sitting in silence. We could have done that for free.
ERIC: Some people like quiet.
STEVEN: Speaking of saying stuff, I was called out for erasing Chinese culture by coming up with the phrase “Dimes Square.”
ERIC: Sometimes the messenger deserves to get shot.
STEVEN: But the name Dimes Square is already a joke about gentrification. So according to the flyer, talking about gentrification is gentrification. But that means posting a flyer about gentrification would also be gentrification. The call is coming from inside the flyer.
ERIC: And I’m buying that flyer at Coming Soon.
STEVEN: And 30 percent of the proceeds are going to support local businesses affected by Coming Soon.
ERIC: They came a little too soon.
STEVEN: Have you heard of Urbit?
ERIC: Oh, I’ve definitely heard your bit.
STEVEN: Urbit is like a Web 3 thing that is supposed to be an alternative internet, and it’s funded by Thiel bucks so it’s allegedly the province of Dimes Square reactionaries.
ERIC: Does everyone know Peter Thiel is allegedly funding Dimes Square artists?
STEVEN: Yes, Talk Hole is read by an insular group of New York media people who read all the articles about Dimes Square that just reference the other articles. They know who Peter Thiel is. This is Gawker! The website he destroyed nine years ago when I was just 13.
ERIC: That may be true, but we need to think about constantly expanding our audience, like the younger generation that doesn’t remember Gawker’s 9/11.
STEVEN: He funded that NPCC film festival thing last year. The girl who made the Alex Jones documentary premiered it there. That guy died at the after party.
ERIC: That’s one talking point from a year-old New York Times story that’s ringing a bell. Carry on.
STEVEN: Anyway, Urbit alleges it offers some escape from our “current internet” because its servers are in a different place or something. But I recently almost finished a great article by James Deutserberg arguing the makers of Urbit are only interested in gaining clout in the real world, using all the same metrics for power that we already have.
ERIC: Like dick size.
STEVEN: This is the problem with anything claiming to create some new paradigm — it’s never a new paradigm. It only serves to reify existing hierarchies. Urbit is a brand new internet just for getting into IRL parties. NFTs are either investment vehicles, or dumb ape avis for your existing Twitter account. Bitcoin is supposed to revolutionize currency but people only hold on to it because of its conversion value into USD. Every cool “offline” newspaper or zine is always posting on social media so you know how offline they are. BeReal tells us to “get off our phones” and “be more authentic” by…getting on our phones.
ERIC: I don’t have BeReal but I see everyone converting their BeReals back into Instagrams.
STEVEN: Exactly. There’s nothing new to anything.
ERIC: Except in Hollywood. Where we have a gay romcom now.
STEVEN: Hold on, it’s time to BeReal.
ERIC: I’m posting my BeReal from inside Lena Dunham’s casket at the gay pride parade.
STEVEN: I’m posting my BeReal from Taylor Swift’s secret listening party for her new album “Midnight,” which will do more for the gay community than Bros or even its sequel, Bros 2: Sup?.
ERIC: Taylor Swift is not a gay icon.
STEVEN: Our employer would like a word.
ERIC: I get that gay people like her, but she doesn’t traffic in gay aesthetics.
STEVEN: She had that one song with the Fab Five.
ERIC: But she’s not camp. She’s such a girl. She’s just into girly stuff.
STEVEN: I’m gonna let you in on a secret. Every girl is a gay icon.
ERIC: OK. Mind blown.
STEVEN: Even inanimate objects can be gay icons if they’re female-coded.
ERIC: Like pipelines with holes in them.
STEVEN: Like boats.
ERIC: Slay, Queen Mary.
STEVEN: Long may she reign.
ERIC: God Save The King.
STEVEN: And God Save The Hole.
Previously on Talk Hole: TALK HOLE: Quiet Quitting.