crazy

David Brooks Being David Brooks

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 2, 'Firestarter'.

So, right. I mean, sure, it’s David Brooks, and that, you know, generally means something, but still―

The big historical context is this: Something fundamental is shifting in our politics. The insiders can’t see it. Outsiders get thrown up amid the tumult, but they are too marginal, eccentric and inexperienced to lead effectively.David Brooks of The New York Times

Without much enthusiasm, many voters seem to be flocking to tough, no-nonsense women who at least seem sensible: Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton and, now, the Conservative Party front-runner, Theresa May.

We probably need a political Pope Francis-type figure, who comes up from the bottom and understands life there, but who can still make the case for an open dynamic world, with free-flowing goods, ideas, capital and people. Until that figure emerges, we could be in for a set of serial leadership crises.

―could somebody please be so kind as to tell me what those paragraphs mean?

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Brooks, David. “Choosing Leaders: Clueless or Crazy”. The New York Times. 5 July 2016.

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A Potsherd Wrapped in Tinfoil Wrapped in Whatnow?

Alveda King

“They entice these ladies into their facility knowing that once they get there, it’s a very lucrative experience. Because they’re going to give her medicines and birth control shots and pills and things that will expose her to breast cancer. Then she’ll go to Susan Komen, because Susan Komen exchanges money with Planned Parenthood, the money goes back and forth between them. And if she gets pregnant, they’re going to give her an abortion and then they’re going to traffic the body parts of the baby. So they make a lot of money off of black women that are underserved, off of all women.”

Alveda King

This is … uh ....

Say what?No, really. This is what it comes to? I mean, holy shit, what does that even mean?

Seriously: How does that even make sense? And here’s an even better question: Is that word salad coherent enough to percolate into the news cycle as a real conspiracy theory?

Alveda King is, after all, a FOX News contributor.

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Arana, Gabriel. “Fox News Signs Alveda King, Niece of Martin Luther King Jr., As Contributor”. The Huffington Post. 6 March 2015.

Blue, Miranda. “Alveda King: Planned Parenthood Gives Women Breast Cancer So They Will Donate To Susan G. Komen”. Right Wing Watch. 27 August 2015.

The Donald Trump Show (Trump Dump)

Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City on 16 June 2015. Trump, one of America's most flamboyant and outspoken billionaires, threw his hat into the race Tuesday for the White House, promising to make America great again. The 69-year-old long-shot candidate ridiculed the country's current crop of politicians and vowed to take on the growing might of China in a speech launching his run for the presidency in 2016.

Welcome to the Donald Trump Show. We expect this will be, proverbially speaking, at least, interesting, and would encourage at all times to bear in mind that this is, after all, Donald Trump we’re talking about.

To wit, NBC has severed ties with Trump; Cynthia Littleton of Variety explains:

NBC is ending its long relationship with Donald Trump in the wake of the presidential hopeful’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants.

NBC said it will no longer carry the Trump-produced Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Nor will he return to the long-running reality show “The Celebrity Apprentice” as host, a role Trump already said he would give up because of his presidential bid.

“Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,” NBC said in a statement. “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.”

Trump told CNN that he was considering filing suit against NBC. He said in a statement that “NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct” before saying that NBC will support disgraced journalist Brian Williams “but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be.”

“We must have strong borders and not let illegal immigrants enter the United States,” Trump said. “As has been stated continuously in the press, people are pouring across our borders unabated. Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now. Long ago I told NBC that I would not being doing ‘The Apprentice’ because I am running for president in order to make our country great again.”

So, here’s the thing: This might be a calculated gamble.

(more…)

A Note on the Republican Clown Car

Kamon Dreams and Stranger Things: Detail of frame from 'FLCL' episode 5, "Brittle Bullet".

There is little about Timonthy Egan’s blistering critique of the Republican Clown Car that we might call … er … ah … not unkind:

Last election cycle, the Republican presidential field was a clown car, holding the thrice-married Newt Gingrich lecturing about values, the pizza magnate Herman Cain fending off sexual harassment claims, and Michele Bachmann confusing John Wayne with a serial killer. That was just the front seat. This time around it’s a clown bus, with as many as 17 Republicans expected to compete for the nomination.

Most of them are unelectable, to say the least. But can any of them get out of the party’s winnowing period without saying things they picked up in the far right netherworld? Probably not. As previous gaffe-a-matics have shown, it pays to be crazy. And for many Republicans, crazy is the new mainstream.

† † †

There is no ceiling for crazy in Texas, nor political consequence. This year, the Lone Star State’s most odious export is Senator Ted Cruz, who also has some concern about the nefarious designs of our military, and those Walmart tunnels. He couldn’t just say, as the Pentagon did, that our troops would soon be conducting a long-planned field operation, called Jade Helm 15. He had to dog-whistle to the mouth frothers.

“I understand a lot of the concerns raised by a lot of citizens about Jade Helm,” said Cruz. “It’s a question I’m getting a lot, and I think part of the reason is we have seen, for six years, a federal government disrespecting the liberty of citizens.” Dwight Eisenhower — look him up, Texans — is rolling over in his five-star grave.

If you don’t think the inability to distinguish a military exercise from a totalitarian takeover disqualifies you from leading the free world, Fox News has a hosting chair for you in its studios. That’s where Mike Huckabee promoted his brand of Gomer Pyle politics over the last few years, building a following for quack health remedies and Christian victimhood.

It is not so much a matter of being funny because it’s true. Rather, this bit that reads like comedy is, at the very least, a little sad because it really, really is happening. Now and then it is easy enough to fancy that what voters really want is a spectacle, but the problem with that notion is the proposition that every spectacle must be a bacchanal of ignorance and clodhopping disgrace.

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Egan, Timothy. “Fringe Festival”. The New York Times. 8 May 2015.

A Bug in the System

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 29 April 2015.This is interesting. Or maybe it isn’t. Who am I to say? In truth, Adam Huber manages to mix disparate elements worth noting.

To the one, Boyfriend Bug there actually does sort of remind me of certain people I know; the thing is that the rest of the strip breaks that form. That is to say, the people I know who would actually pull that line wouldn’t understand the rest.

Or so it seems to me. That, at least, is not interesting. But the joke comes ’round at the end, so in a way I must insist that this is interesting.

Bug Martini, not me.

Oh, right. You could probably figure that last for yourself.

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Huber, Adam. “Date Minds Shrink Alike”. Bug Martini. 29 April 2015.