Talk Hole: Supply Chain Me Daddy
Talk Hole is the bi-weekly spoken column of New York’s alt-comedy darlings Eric Schwartau and Steven Phillips-Horst, offering their oracular powers of cultural analysis on all corners of the zeitgeist (high, low, top, bottom). From the depths of Brooklyn, Schwartau and P-H (as Steven is lovingly called) prove talk is chic, and drop references to hot trends, hotter temperatures, and scalding political debates. This week, the Talk Hole boys celebrate gay Easter, unpack our global supply chain crisis, and question Britney’s judgement.
SCHWARTAU: Britney is liberated!
P-H: Now I know how the French felt on D-Day.
SCHWARTAU: It’s more like the gay Easter. She’s the closest thing to Jesus we’ve had in a long time.
P-H: Who also famously had a controlling father.
SCHWARTAU: But I will say that although Britney is not a dog—
P-H: Something tells me this point won’t be feminist.
SCHWARTAU: —I was reading that dogs need to know they’re not in charge. When dogs think they’re in control, they get anxious and act out. Once they understand they are not in charge, they can relax and just be a dog.
P-H: Yes, the challenge for Britney now will be reaching the shelf on which her food is stored.
SCHWARTAU: My point is that being free is not happiness. Being free is taking responsibility for your actions.
P-H: And hopefully now she can take full responsibility for her Glory era.
SCHWARTAU: I wish I were in a conservatorship. Then I could blame everything on my dad.
P-H: I’m pretty sure we are in a conservatorship with Interview.
SCHWARTAU: Britney’s freedom feels like the one glimmer of a hope in a world that’s going to hell in a handbasket.
P-H: I’ve never understood that phrase. A handbasket seems like a nice, Cape Cod-ian way to travel to Hell.
SCHWARTAU: In this case it’s the destination, not the journey.
P-H: You’re right. Murders on set, inflation on the rise, supply chain breakdown, a vegan mayor… violence is in the air.
SCHWARTAU: And in your hair.
P-H: Listen, dyeing your hair blonde is a trauma response for gays in their 30s. I’m trying to be open about it.
SCHWARTAU: What’s your trauma again?
P-H: Being in my 30s.
SCHWARATU: You’re 34. Seems like a delayed reaction.
P-H: Supply chain issues.
SCHWARTAU: I’ve also heard a lot of traumatized gay thirty-somethings talk about “bulking.” All that protein powder is clogging the Suez.
P-H: The problem is at the ports. There’s a huge backlog of daddy issues in Shenzhen.
SCHWARTAU: And we thought the sun was bleaching the coral reefs? It’s just gay sailors on freighters.
P-H: Now I’m realizing that coral also bleaches when it’s in crisis.
SCHWARTAU: Nature has spoken on the concept of bleach. It’s always a crisis.
P-H: When the real crisis is the supply chain!
SCHWARTAU: Yes, Kamala said our Christmas presents won’t come in time unless we high tail it to AliExpress now.
P-H: I got a desperate email from Guitar Center saying get those orders for Christmas XLR cables in before this rumored impending collapse of the global shopping network.
SCHWARTAU: What a depressing stocking stuffer.
P-H: With the right partner, you can use them for rope play and ASMR.
SCHWARTAU: To be honest, I don’t know what Kamala Center is talking about. I haven’t noticed an issue. I’ve gotten everything I’ve ever ordered in one day off Amazon Prime.
P-H: Assuming this is mostly dog restraints?
SCHWARTAU: Yes, Opal is still under her conservatorship.
P-H: Spoken like a true parent.
SCHWARTAU: Have your Gaymer chairs been arriving on time?
P-H: Yes, my RealTree Camo x Balenciaga x Crocs x Xbox6 Lounger & Rimming Chair came in 48 hours.
SCHWARTAU: See? I think the supply chain thing is another false flag.
P-H: The real story is people are just less into shopping right now. It’s less satisfying. We can get serotonin for free just by posting 600 selfies versus loading up our cart with knock off Bottega and “whiskey stones.” So they’re wheeling out this supply chain myth to create a false sense of scarcity—therefore getting us excited about shopping again.
SCHWARTAU: I just bought a giant air purifier on a whim—I feel like air is the next shopping frontier.
P-H: Climate change begins at home.
SCHWARTAU: The scarcity thing is basically what QVC has been doing for years.
P-H: Right, it’s always, “There’s only 14 keyhole top eyelet bell-sleeved turquoise ponchos with built in necklaces left!!!! Buy in the next 17 seconds!!!”
SCHWARTAU: Kamala should cut out the middleman and host a show on Home Shopping Network.
P-H: Sneaker Hour with Kamala: Walk, Don’t Run to these deals!
SCHWARTAU: The government will be very sad if we don’t get a Black Friday stampede.
P-H: You’d think we’d had enough after Astroworld.
SCHWARTAU: Stampeding is also a supply chain issue—pent up demand, inflated value, fabricated scarcity.
P-H: I just think the religiosity, the fervor of shopping is on its way out. I’ll never forget when I saw a small crowd of be-puffered young professionals outside the Macy’s in Downtown Boston a few years ago, quietly chanting, “Open, open, open” at midnight on Thanksgiving. Just to get 35% off a Joseph Abboud button-down. It was so rote, so anti-primal. I felt re-virginized just watching it.
SCHWARTAU: So what’s replacing shopping as the new church?
P-H: The metaverse? It’s just a virtual island where you’re forced to give Mark Zuckerberg’s avatar massages. And it’s like a ken doll with no anatomy.
SCHWARTAU: The church of moderated content.
P-H: Yes. Content is the new religion.
SCHWARTAU: And it is just as violent—the cancel crusades are just heating up.
P-H: Alec Baldwin murdered that cinematographer trying to make a movie!
SCHWARTAU: Nearly a dozen people died in a stampede at a Travis Scott concert.
SCHWARTAU: Let’s not forget the milk crates. That sent a whole generation to the hospital.
P-H: As did Tide pods. People think our dystopian violent future is about water wars, race riots and Hunger Squid Games contests to clear our debt—but we’re actually just dying…for content.
SCHWARTAU: I saw a murder happen on my block last week. It was right after I left the park, where we had filmed a TikTok of us walking in our Halloween costumes. We were creating content, and then someone died.
P-H: Important to center yourself in this narrative.
SCHWARTAU: Well it was my block.
P-H: “Content is king” should have been a warning. Kings famously maintain their power through violence. That’s what content is doing now.
SCHWARTAU: I feel bad for Alec Baldwin. Can you imagine murdering your co-worker by accident?
P-H: You’re my only co-worker, so yes.
SCHWARTAU: In our post-truth moment, we’re so used to things being faked, yet here is something that’s actually supposed to be fake—made fatally real.
P-H: At least Alec didn’t try to blame the prop stylist.
SCHWARTAU: As we bravely brought to light with our safety-themed photo shoot this week, you actually don’t need a real gun to look cool.
P-H: But you do need a real photographer.
SCHWARTAU: That’s not true. Boyfriends work just fine.
P-H: It was a freak accident, but not as terrifying to me as the Travis Scott stampede. Maybe because I’m more likely to be at a concert than be DP’ing an Alec Baldwin film.
SCHWARTAU: Have to admire the hustle of Travis Scott offering a free month of online therapy from BetterHelp to anyone emotionally distraught from seeing people around them die.
P-H: Use code TRAMPL at checkout.
SCHWARTAU: I’m just like, one month of therapy? That’s roughly four, forty-five minute sessions. It will take at least a year to realize the Astroworld tragedy is the result of your mother not smiling enough when you were a baby.
P-H: Part of the Astroworld tragedy is the age-old philosophy of cutting corners-ism, so instead of a real venue with experienced staff, you get a shitty venue with staff that was hired by some outsourcing firm two seconds ago, who don’t know or care about issues like crowd control or mass death.
SCHWARTAU: To me, the even sadder part is the bystander syndrome—where everyone is just in their own world. You go to a concert to be on your phone, to broadcast you’re there to other people on other phones in other places. Not only are you out of touch with reality, you’re not even interested in it.
P-H: Right. It’s like this mix of not knowing and not caring that people are dying next to you—a mix I like to call narcissism.
SCHWARTAU: People booed the girl who got on stage to tell Travis to stop performing.
P-H: Kylie is watching ambulances roll up and she’s thinking “oh, that reminds me I should launch an extra-stay highlighter kit for EMTs.”
SCHWARTAU: Then she’s getting whisked away in her upside-down Yeezy snorkel boots while people go into cardiac arrest two feet away.
P-H: Kognitive dissonance.
SCHWARTAU: This raises the obvious question of I wanna say, class? It wasn’t the VIP seats getting crushed. Wealth buys distance, which can save your life.
P-H: For only $1500, Astro+ seating comes with guaranteed survival.
SCHWARTAU: There’s also something about the chaotic aesthetic of our era. Our visual language is so muddied, we can’t tell what’s spectacle and what’s dangerous, what’s real and what’s fake, who’s dying and what matters.
P-H; Right, it’s like in the Middle Ages people were often hacking away at friendlies in battle because you couldn’t really see the colors of the sashes or whatever. Especially in the mud.
SCHWARTAU: This is why I would’ve been an archer.
P-H: Speaking of Taylor Swift… Kyle Rittenhouse.
SCHWARTAU: I’d like to see him try to blame the prop stylist.
P-H: My take is Kyle needs to lay off the McDonald’s.
SCHWARTAU: Not sure you’re even allowed to fat shame a murderer.
P-H: There’s a larger issue here no one is discussing. I’m about to blow your mind.
SCHWARTAU: Not sure that’s the best metaphor.
P-H: Kyle Rittenhouse. Dylan Roof. Both famous shooters. Both with housing structures for last names.
SCHWARTAU: Waiting for the She-Shed shooter.
P-H: But wait there’s more. John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin. A booth is a thing you go in.
SCHWARTAU: John Wilkes Breakfast Nook.
P-H: And the Las Vegas shooter? Stephen Paddock. Another structural enclosure.
SCHWARTAU: Ok… this is huge actually.
P-H: Maybe I’ve just stumbled on the FBI’s naming convention for its false flag operations.
SCHWARTAU: Or there’s something about having your name be a building that makes you a psychopath.
P-H: Someone should keep an eye on Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
SCHWARTAU: Oh no. Dawn Dorland. Door-land.
SCHWARTAU: Need to order some bullet-proof vests in time for columnist hunting season.
P-H: OK, now I’m running to AliExpress.
P-H; Another girlboss I know—Reshma Saujani—who founded Girls Who Code.
SCHWARTAU: You know her?
P-H: She ran against Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) when I worked for her, so I know her in the way I might know a rival coffee place.
SCHWARTAU: You’re referring to your broken Black & Decker 12-cup as a coffee place?
P-H: Anyway, I was looking up Reshma because I got an email from her called The #BraveReport and I was like, literally what on Earth is she doing with her time that she needs to send me this braindead email? It turns out that in addition to herding young women into Karlie Kloss’s koding koncentration kamps, she’s also the “Godmother” of a Celebrity Cruise ship. Apparently all big cruise ships have one.
SCHWARTAU: So she has to take care of the ship if its parents die?
P-H: Yes, so keep the Celebrity Cruise CEO away from Alec Baldwin and Travis Scott, otherwise these girlbosses will have to spend a life at sea.
SCHWARTAU: That’s kind of like how the Vice President lives at the Naval Observatory. Maybe Kamala’s a godmother too?
P-H: Next topic—Daylight Savings Time. Love it or hate it?
SCHWARTAU: More into Daylight spendings time.
P-H: I love it. Daylight Savings Time is one of the only moments in human experience where we make such an intense bargain with the supernatural. The world becomes darker, sadder and more depressed and in return we are all bestowed with the most precious resource of all—time. The one thing everyone in the world covets—no matter your age, creed or follower count. And we receive it, as if by magic. It just appears on our phones as if blessed by the ghost of Steve Jobs.
SCHWARTAU: That’s Apple Watch erasure. I was in L.A. hungover after a wedding and barely noticed. L.A. is already so late compared to N.Y.— time is more of a vibe than a number.
P-H: So you don’t like it… or?
SCHWARTAU: As someone of office experience, I just think it’s depressing to leave when it’s so dark out.
P-H: I’m sick of people getting mad at Daylight Savings Time because it’s dark when they leave the office. Blaming the sun for not being there—when you should be blaming yourself for having a sad job. Release yourself from the mortal coils of the arbitrary 9-5! Become a sailor or a bartender! Move to St. Thomas!
SCHWARTAU: I mean, it still gets dark and sad when you’re a sailor.
P-H: In the southern hemisphere it’s literally summer right now. Let’s have that conversation.
SCHWARTAU: I was also reading that DST is, to return to our theme—violent. In the Spring when we lose an hour, driver car crashes increase the week after due to lack of sleep. Heart attacks, workplace injuries, all go up. That’s the deal with the devil you were referring to.
P-H: But that’s what makes life interesting. So toot or boot?
SCHWARTAU: I’m not sure “boot” is really an option. Things seem pretty set in stone at this stage in society.
P-H: Right, like how in the ’80s they had this congressional convention to consider changing the U.S. to the metric system, and they kind of like, did a study and it never went anywhere and no one really wanted pull the trigger and now it’s too late because the Freedom Tower is 1,776 feet tall.
SCHWARTAU: Yeah, “541.65 meters of pure, rock-hard American steel” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
P-H: The foot is king! Just like content.
SCHWARTAU: And it was the king’s foot that was the original foot of measuring feet fame.
P-H: You may remember this foot from measurements such as “feet” and “inches.”
SCHWARTAU: My foot is a size 12. The size of the patriarchy. I don’t know how I feel about that.
P-H: Standing on the neck of society, but make it fungal infection.
SCHWARTAU: The gay community has certainly adopted its own system of measurements.
P-H: Yeah “XL” means about 5.5 inches these days.
SCHWARTAU: The word “hung” is experiencing runaway inflation.
P-H: Janet Yellin, do your job.
SCHWARTAU: In this house we believe in regulation of the word “hung.” We need to look at the data before we assign labels.
P-H: I was recently introduced to a horribly dystopian app called “Sniffies” that’s basically a far more slutty Grindr. It’s just a map of New York and everyone’s profile pic is either their dick or hole, and you see these dicks and holes walking around New York in real time! With little open door icons if they’re ready to be mounted. A complete and utter dehumanization of the mating process.
SCHWARTAU: I’m not sure the Raya application process is any more humane.
P-H: Oddly, Sniffies is not allowed in the App Store. For a gay person, Tim Cook really has a lot of sex negativity.
SCHWARTAU: When you’re just reduced to a dick… it’s the end of ambition. You can’t be anything other than what you’ve been given. And that scares people like Tim.
P-H: And this is what optimization has wrought. We think it’s highly civilized but it’s actually rather primitive.
SCHWARTAU: I’m imagining the Sniffies CEO is probably doing a presentation that’s like “Access to all the world’s dick.”
P-H: Big dick, big data.
SCHWARTAU: Soon a dick will just be an NFT.
P-H: And for 400 Queereum tokens you can jack it off.
SCHWARTAU: Or right-click to suck, if you’re a grifter.
P-H: The image of a dick is more valuable than the real thing.
SCHWARTAU: That’s why they invented Viagra— the real thing doesn’t always live up to the hype.
P-H: Except when it’s a gun.
SCHWARTAU: Before we go, I wanna mention that I saw Amy Klobuchar leaving LAX. Her aide had escorted her to the wrong escalator and then the wrong baggage claim. I was worried I was going to witness another violent episode knowing Amy’s short fuse.
P-H: Oh, that’s where they have that whole branded exit thing, right? LAXit?
SCHWARTAU: Yes, you’re forced to take a rumbling shuttle through hostile territory to the LAXit refugee camp and Uber Pickup point. It’s turned me into a strong proponent of airport open borders.
P-H: We need to brand the end of this column.
SCHWARTAU: Column Savings Time.
P-H: Hole closed.
SCHWARTAU: Turning my clock back and pretending this never happened.