Day: 2014.09.12

A ‘Double Hufftendre’

An entry from the Huffington Post most-read sidebar, 11 September 2014, reflecting the consumption priorities of the news site's readers.It really is too easy to pick on Huffington Post; the most-read lists on pretty much any given news site can be depressing, amusing, harrowing, or whatever. And for that we generally can’t blame the site per se, but, rather, its readers. In HuffPo’s case, though, that glammed up sidebar is a neverending wellspring of, “Wait, what?”

To the other, we at This Is generally adore double-entendre, bad puns, and the sorts of inside jokes that make us wonder about our own psyches. Psyche. Psyches. I don’t know; depends on which one of me is in on any given day.

We also have a weakness for hilarious names, as cruel and inappropriate as that might be, but it is a burden bestowed by a grandfather who once told the story of the Rev. Perry Winkle. And real life provides so much better comic relief than Asswipe Johnson.

True, it is in that vein of juvenilia that the sidebar headline stands out so much: “These Slits Were Too High For Comfort On This Week’s Worst Dressed List”. Then again, one would hope it’s the anemic play on “slits” being “too high” that ranked the article among the most read; what a sad testament if that many people are actually out hunting for celebrity fashion gossip or the chance to revel in what may or may not be some idiotic excuse for slut-shaming.

Really, I prefer the exploitative joke of an obscure colloquialism for a vagina to the idea that people really do care that much about who someone else thinks is the worst-dressed celebrity in a given week. The fact that there is anything remotely approaching a weekly worst-dressed list is a suggestion that the species will, indeed, amuse itself to death.


Rick Santorum speaks during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sometimes, being an American has its own unintended rewards. Then again, many of those rewards are silver linings threaded from other disappointments. To wit, there really is no sane purpose in promoting, say, the political arguments of one like former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA); there are, however, days when it is worth the time to witness the Pennsylvania Screech trolling Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Rand Paul insists he’s not an “isolationist.” Writing this week in TIME, he says, “I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally.”

Segar-20131010-RandPaul-crop-bw But in reality, the Kentucky senator has advanced a brand of neo-isolationism and appeasement that is as short-sighted as it mistaken.Despite his recent, and frantic efforts to recast himself as not completely ridiculous on national security issues, the truth is his record often puts him in league with Barack Obama—or even to the president’s left. Anyone who truly cares about American liberty at home must not ignore real enemies and rising threats abroad. Rather, we must confront such challenges wisely and decisively to protect American lives, our economy and our allies.

He may be changing his tune now, but he can’t hide from his record. Senator Paul has long been wrong and far out of the mainstream on three key matters – Iran, the Islamic State and Israel . . . .

What follows is a splatter of inimitable Santorum, including a critique of the Kentucky junior’s foreign policy toward Iran: “But few believe he is serious.” Santorum follows up with a series of messy sound-bite spurts, denouncing neo-isolationism in his Kentucky colleague’s outlook on Israel, asserting, “Not only would this be a dangerous mistake, it once again puts Senator Paul to the left of even the Obama-Clinton-Kerry . . . .” Then again, on that bit, despite the notion that run of the mill, uninspired centrism now strikes Republicans as some sort of flaming leftism, Santorum can stain Mr. Paul’s presidential ambitions for the simple fact that the point is true. As a result, it would seem the Republican gauge would put Mr. Paul somewhere left of … well … Communists.

And while one might reasonably suggest that Mr. Santorum is correct that neo-isolationism “is bad for America”, the entire trolling critique falls apart well before that closing line:

Earlier this summer, Paul questioned in the Wall Street Journal whether there was any good reason for the U.S. military to stop or even slow down the Islamic State’s jihadist offensive in Iraq. He did so despite the fact that ISIL, as it is commonly known, has been slaughtering Muslims and Christians across the region. Yet he saw no serious threat to the American people from ISIL and could not bring himself to support the use of U.S. airpower to help our Arab and Kurdish allies defeat ISIL and prevent the establishment of a radical Islamic caliphate. What’s more, he continued to argue that it is in part the GOP’s fault that Iraq is fast becoming the epicenter of terrorism.

(Boldface accent added)

It really is an internecine dispute; only Republicans would try that line, since most everyone else already knows it’s the GOP’s fault in general, and the Bush Jr. administration’s fault in particular, that the Iraqi Adventure continues to degrade as it does. In the end, the question of the GOP’s fault is one that really only plays within Republican ranks; most days, even the media punditry has no interest in this question—they’re too busy stirring up fake controversies for the sake of ratings by pushing Republican talking points as fact.

Still, though, it’s an awesome throwdown, offering a glimpse inside the Republican mind.


Such as Roberta Rampton and Will Dunham of Reuters did recently, and seemingly with the once-respected news agency’s blessing.

Santorum, Rick. “Will the Real Rand Paul Please Stand Up?” Politico. 5 September 2014.