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Join Hank (and sometimes me) on the virtual tour for A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor: http://hankgreen.com

In which amid a difficult week, John celebrates Hank Green's forthcoming novel A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor and Liverpool Football Club's first league title in thirty years.

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Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday.  It's been something of a two-star week here.  I mean, nothing's really wrong aside from *gestures broadly*, I'm just exhausted on a few levels.  Tangentially related, I sometimes experience a cognitive distortion called "negative filtering" where I start to filter out all of the positive information and only see bad stuff, but the thing about negative filtering is that, like other cognitive distortions, it doesn't feel like a cognitive distortion.  It feels like only the negative stuff is true and the positive stuff is inaccurate or irrelevant.  In fact, though, the world is complex and contains multitudes, even amid *gestures broadly* and today, I would like to tell you about two things from this last week that I really liked.

The first, Hank, is your book, A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, which I reread over the weekend.  I really think it's the rare sequel that improves upon the original.  Like, it's really funny and heartwarming and moving and it's this big adventure story, but most of all, it's an astonishingly sophisticated analysis of what the internet is doing to us an what that means for our social orders.  Like, from the way internet platforms use our attention to the way online experience can both humanize and dehumanize others, your book really captures what it now feels like for me.  I mean, obviously, you didn't see a global pandemic coming when you were writing the book, but you did see something coming, and so even though A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor isn't about a pandemic, it has helped me to understand contemporary human life as something more than merely foolish, even if less than merely beautiful, which is the kind of complex and nuanced thinking that my negative filtering brain needs right now.  It's just so good, Hank, and I'm so excited for people to read it.  A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor comes out on July 7th, one week from today!  Also, Hank is doing a virtual live tour and I'm joining him for much of it.  You can find out more at hankgreen.com.

Slightly off topic, but how is July 7th one week from today when June 1st was both three hours and three years ago?  Oh, God, time is folding in on itself.  We need to move on.  Talk about soccer.

So Hank, when I was 12, I was on my middle school soccer team.  I was, of course, terrible and rarely played, but there was one kid on our team who was really good.  His name was James and he was from England.  He told us all about football in England.  He told us that at his old school, there were lots of kids who were better soccer players than him, which seemed impossible and he told us that in England, there were professional teams and that tens of thousands of people would pack into stadiums and sing their hearts out together and he told us that the best team in England was called Liverpool Football Club and we believed him.

That year, Liverpool won their 18th English league title and they would not win another one until four days ago.  I didn't really become a Liverpool fan until later when the premier league came to American TV in the early 2000s, and by then, Liverpool were a bit down on their luck.  In fact, at one point, they were close to bankruptcy, but oh, Hank, over the years, I have imagined so many times how it would feel to win the premier league.  I have imagined where I would be, at the pub in Indianapolis where I watch the games with other Liverpool fans, at (?~3:02) maybe, watching it happen live, but I didn't imagine what would actually happen, which is that Liverpool would win the league after a three month break caused by a global pandemic and that when it happened, I would be alone in my basement watching a football game played in an eerily empty stadium.  

Could it have been better?  Not really!  It was pretty great.  It felt magical.  I thought about the long years since James told us that Liverpool was the best football team in England, and I thought about watching the title slip away in 2014 and coming up agonizingly short in 2009 and I thought about my friend who died a few months ago who would text me after every loss and say, "Thanks for making me a Liverpool fan, you monster," and I also kept thinking about that great old line often attributed, probably incorrectly, to Pope John Paul II, "Of all the unimportant things, football is the most important."  

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.