Who is Lord Birthday?
He’s a brilliant cartoonist who has a new book that just came out, How to Appear Normal at Social Events.
But it’s more complicated than that.
His cartoons started on an Instagram account in 2015, and as their popularity grew to become a sensation, drawing a following that’s now up to 184k, his real identity remained a closely guarded secret. No one knew who Lord Birthday was except he and his wife.
The cartoons themselves reflected this mystery. They are hilarious and fascinating, but cryptic and absurd, with a cartooning style that is reminiscent of outsider art. They seem weird and oddly authentic, and you could imagine their creator as someone living on society’s fringes.
Then in 2017, with a book deal done and publication looming, Lord Birthday very reluctantly revealed himself on a podcast, Invisibilia. The link is here, and the segment on Lord Birthday starts at 20:00.
He’s Chad Murphy, a business school professor at Oregon State University, described as “the squarest man on Earth,” raised a Mormon, and he talks about the “birth” of Lord Birthday as though it was something that was visited upon him very suddenly. As though another personality suddenly appeared to him, and within moments he was drawing these strange pictures and making absurd word combinations.
He’s now apparently coming to terms with the secret coming out. As a fellow pseudonymous cartoonist whose personality seemed to be split in two, I can relate.
Not only does he have to incorporate the existence of Lord Birthday into his professional life, but also into his family. Read the rest
Walt Disney World is apparently planning to allow guests who stay at their most expensive resorts with "club level" service to buy cut-the-line ride Fastpasses for $50/day, according to WFTV's Chip Skambis.
This privilege would be only for those who stay three nights in club-level rooms, which seem to go for about $800/night and up (way up).
Disney has long tried to seem egalitarian in the way it treats ride lines. The Universal Orlando theme parks down the road have no such compunctions -- they allow anyone willing and able to pay $170 - $190 per day to cut past every poor slob who could only afford the $110/day admission price.
But Disney has avoided this overt wealth-pandering, basically having everyone play by the same line-waiting rules. Sure, Disney has had its “VIP tour service,” in which, for $425-$600 per hour (that’s not a typo: per HOUR) you can hire your very own line-cutting top-flight Disney “cast member,” but that's clearly for the super-rich, and who wouldn't cater to that group? Not even the most militant Marxist would want to see Mark Zuckerberg and family among the crowd waiting in line for Peter Pan’s Flight.
But I just came from Disney World, and I could see the writing on the wall.
First of all, the nature of these Fastpasses has changed. When they got their start, they were a way for people to show up at a ride, and then, instead of waiting on the line, get a slip of paper to show up at a later time and get right onto the ride -- essentially allowing them to do other things during the time they would have otherwise been waiting on the line. Read the rest