prayer

What Mitch Said (Professional Sideshow Meltdown Mix)

#rapeculture | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) bows his head in prayer during an event on Capitol Hill, 24 February 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

C-SPAN, via Twitter:

CSPAN (@cspan): ".@SenateMajLdr: 'We have hired a female assistant to go on staff and to ask these questions in a respectful and professional way. We want this hearing to be handled very professionally not a political sideshow...' #Kavanaugh" [via Twitter, 25 September 2018].@SenateMajLdr: “We have hired a female assistant to go on staff and to ask these questions in a respectful and professional way. We want this hearing to be handled very professionally not a political sideshow…” #Kavanaugh

The question arises whether we should thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for acknowledging Senate Republicans are incapable of handling the growing sexual harassment and assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in a respectful and professional way that does not amount to a political sideshow.

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Image notes: Top — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) bows his head in prayer during an event on Capitol Hill, 24 February 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)  Right — Tweet from C-SPAN, 25 September 2018.

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An American Lamentation (Two by “Huh?”)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Everett, Washington, 30 August 2016. (Detail of frame via YouTube)

Americans often lament the fact of their essentially two-party political league, and the top of the Libertarian ticket, Gary Johnson, is capable of providing spectacular reminders of why we tend toward the binary. The former New Mexico governor and middle-tier celebrity stoner has managed to reduce a human atrocity to yet another icon of American stupidity, which really is no good legacy to build. Yet it is true, in the American discourse, “Aleppo” is … well, Matthew Kitchen tries to explain for NBC News:

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson struggled to name a single foreign leader when asked who his favorite was during an MSNBC town hall Wednesday night.

“Any one of the continents, any country. Name one foreign leader that your respect and look up to. Anybody,” host Chris Matthews pushed during the event, causing Johnson to sigh loudly as his VP pick Bill Weld tried to jump in.

“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson finally said, referring to his recent gaffe on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when he asked “What is Aleppo?” after he was questioned about how he would handle the conflict in the Syrian city.

So, yeah. Aleppo is … Gary Johnson being inexcusably stupid. (Look, dude, I mean, you’re, like, running for president, you know, like, aren’t you?)

And then there is Donald Trump.

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Just Some Dude Asking a Question

Detail of the Huffington Post front page, 15 December 2015.

MEMORANDUM

To: Huffington Post, Jamie Feldman (Associate Style Editor)

re: Stylish sexism

In the first place: Why do I care?

The Huffington Post sidebar is, of course, notorious; I can discover all manner of fascinating insights about how you think of your readers, because, you know, some of us just so want to know about Martha Stewart’s sex life, or what slits were too high for comfort. Something about cherries, and something about sex toys; yeah, that was the sort of moment I would never experience without the Huffington Post.

It is not so much a question of why I care about the notoriously obnoxious lack of decent character shown by the HuffPo sidebar; it is, after all, merely software.

But the question persists why I care what Kate Middleton wore yesterday. Nor was this merely in the sidebar; someone chose to put the article about the Duchess of Cambridge being an “outfit repeater” on the front page of the Huffington Post.

'Outfit Repeater': For some reason, Huffington Post thought this article was a good idea.Royals: They’re just like us―when it comes to recycling outfits, that is.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge took her new haircut out to a holiday party at the London’s Anna Freud center Monday, a charity she has visited before as part of her ongoing work for children’s mental health.

Dressed for the holidays, Kate opted for an all-red Alexander McQueen outfit that she has worn not once but twice before

Perhaps Jamie Feldman, associate style editor for HuffPo, might explain if this is one of those moments in which I am suppsoed to squee! uncontrollably.

Maybe weep?

Fall to my knees in prayer? How about just shake my head sadly?

“Outfit Repeater”? Really? Yeah, okay, I can shake my head sadly at that.

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The Value of Prayer in the Twenty-First Century

Detail of frame from Durarara!!!

It is a straightforward headline: “Politicians Can’t Pass Actual Laws to Stop Gun Violence, So They Tweet Prayerfully”. And HuffPo’s Sam Stein and Arthur Delaney deliver the goods.

All of which reminds the basic point: Prayer is something to do if you cannot or will not do anything more useful.

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Your Morning Metal (One Foot in Hell)

Detail of front cover art for 'Twisted into Form' by Forbidden, 1990, by Kent Mathieu.

In a strange way, the caricatures driving rebellion in metal-laden explorations of conscience do not seem so exaggerated today. Once upon a time, we argued about listening to the music. And it feels both strange and familiar, perhaps the one for the other. That is to say, the shape of these arguments going on today, about boys wearing skirts and girls having babies really does feel like nothing more than the heavy metal wars all over again, and this time for higher stakes. It isn’t fair, I don’t think, to say that we got it, understood the mere fact of caricaturization, but they didn’t. Still, that’s how it feels. We built monstrous, shadowy legends to represent the hatred we feared. They really do seem to be dressing up in it. Or, at least, that’s how it feels.

Regression! Progressive downfall! Grabbing what’s there and still wanting it all! On words they fall. Obsession! Religioius belief! Worshipped on Sunday, forgotten all week! One foot in Hell. Taking the truth from “The Book” and then twisting it, feeling they’re touched by the Lord. Loving their neighbor, yet tasting the flavor of sin but seeing no wrong. Cramming the wisdom that righteously flows in them, walking the crooked straight line. Closing of minds to these innocent crimes, now they’re deaf, dumb, and blind! One foot in Hell! Wretches! This pitiful man, preaching and teaching with Cross in hand. On words he falls. Into his final mistake; this fool was fooled, it was all give and take. One foot in hell. I look to the Heavens and call the Lord’s name. Praying on my knees, with much faith, and little doubt. I have a yearning for the answers to my calling in life. Am I wasting away on spirits of myth? Am I questioning the Lord’s prayer? Is this unholy temptation or my final realization? Please, God, if you’re there for me, give me wisdom for faith. Help me, Lord! God help me! Show me the way; point to the light. Is there a Heaven after I die? What is a truth, where does it lie? Give me the answer! Bare my soul, naked and cold! End confusion, shed my last tear! Take me, Lord! Open your Gates! End my deep sorrow! One foot in Hell. Who’s answering the bell?

Forbidden, “One Foot in Hell” (1990)

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A Fart Joke

There are two schools of thought about fart humor that may be reasonably encapsulated if we start with the phrase, “I forgot to post this last night”. That is to say, there are two general responses:

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 26 November 2014.How could you forget!

Why would you want to post a fart joke?

True, there is a third alternative—It’s a freakin’ fart joke. Who cares?—but such pedantry spoils the fun.

And, in any case, the answer to that beeblebrox is simply that it’s a fart joke, and it doesn’t really matter if anyone cares.

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Huber, Adam. “Stall from Grace”. Bug Martini. 26 November 2014.

Trump-tacular?

Donald Trump.

Is it cruel?

You know, you can see the disaster coming, yet the village idiot just keeps dancing toward destruction. It’s illegal to actually grab him by the lapels and shake him until he comprehends the monumental idiocy he is attempting to commit, so, you know, sometimes you just let things happen because, well, the only other alternative is to look away.

Donald Trump is teasing his 2016 presidential run again.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said at a press conference during a fundraiser for Iowa Congressman Steve King on Saturday. “We’ll see what’s going to happen, first of all, in the next month because that’s going to be very interesting.”

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Back in July 2013, Trump told the National Review that he was “looking” to run because the country was being “stupidly and foolishly led.” He added that his business and economic reputation could help the United States take on China and put the U.S. back on top. Trump also told Reuters, in January, that running for president is something he “would certainly look at” because he is “unhappy with the way things are going in America.”

So, right. Is it cruel? Is it cruel to actually want to witness such a debacle? Much like last year’s suggestion that Ted Nugent might run for president, it is easy enough to consider prayer: Please, please, please, be there a God in Heaven, let this happen. Please?

It’s not like such campaigns would be without highlights. Watching Chuck Todd try to equivocate until his brain rebels and tries to crawl out his ear would certainly be an unfortunate spectacle, like the time in junior high when two kids from the special education classroom got into a fight in the hallway and everyone just stood around, watching, because, well, yeah, you just had to see it, you know?

But that is also where the question of cruelty arises. It was not enough for some classmates to simply watch the spectacle; they felt some need to labor and set a kid up for embarrassment. And such craven greed is, indeed, a chilling sight unto weary eyes.

Still, though, after watching the media pander to John McCain in 2008—he’s just a bit grumpy for an old man without his morning coffee, and who cares if this icon of foreign policy has no idea who our military is actually fighting against? it just shows how smart he is!—or scramble to keep Mitt Romney in the 2012 race by simply playing stenographer to whatever his campaign wanted to say, watching any number of otherwise respected and respectable journalists destroy themselves trying to throw Donald Trump (or the Nuge, at that) enough bones to keep the race close would be a better end than those reporters and halfwit commentators deserve.

Really, the only downside to a Trump candidacy would be if he actually won, which in turn would still serve a useful purpose in establishing that American society has officially gone “post-society”, and then the everyday working folks who have believed in this American Dream can rest assured that they no longer need to put the effort into a job they have already resigned.

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Taibi, Catherine. “Donald Trump Is STILL Saying He Might Run For President In 2016”. The Huffington Post. 20 October 2014.

Hendrix, Steve. “Shooting from the hip: Ted Nugent rocks politics”. The Washington Post. 2 July 2013.

A Quote: Good Ol’ Fashioned, Honest-to-God, Real Holy Sh*t

And TV preacher Pat Robertson heard from a viewer this week who asked why her ailing husband's condition hasn't improved despite intense prayer: "Robertson responded that the woman's husband probably isn't a faithful Christian and may actually want to be sick: 'There are some people, you know, they enjoy their sickness. That is terrible to say but that is their excuse not to compete, 'well I'd love to compete but my lumbago's got me so I can't do it.'"

Talk about a gem. That’s a real quote. Then again, of course it is. This is the Pat Robertson we’re talking about. Brian Tashman has the brief on Robertson and the faithless, as well as the mildly uncomfortable video. And Steve Benen has the weekly roundup of the goings-on at the intersection of God and State.

Now, if someone could only point us the way to the intersection of Pat Robertson and Reality. Or maybe not; there are some things and places in this world we just don’t need to see.

“There are some people, you know, they enjoy their sickness. That is terrible to say but that is their excuse not to compete, ‘well I’d love to compete but my lumbago’s got me so I can’t do it.'”

Of course, he’s Pat Robertson, so, yeah. He knows. Right? Right?

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