Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
September 27, 2018
Brief thoughts on the Kavanaugh sitch
Category: Current Events … Linkage … Serious

So I'm following the Kavanaugh drama, and I'm seeing Dr. Ford's testimony heralded as a turning point in the national conversation about sexual misconduct/harassment/assault against women... and I wish I were as optimistic about that. I mean, certainly Ford's experience has inspired a lot of women to share their own stories, and I'm glad these women feel empowered to do so and hope they get the support they deserve. But I'm also hearing the familiar dismissals of those accounts (and from high-profile elected officials like the President of the United States) and I don't expect Ford's testimony to prevent Kavanaugh from ascending to the Supreme Court. I hope I'm wrong on that. We'll see.

In other related news, re: this Daily Show segment about Kavanaugh's supposed virginity -- can someone explain to me what makes it (particularly the latter bit with Dulcé Sloan) funny? It's clearly going over my head. I mean, I get the "lol virgins are lame" joke, to the extent that that's the entirety of the joke -- but sometimes it's possible for an audience to interpret a joke in a different way, or at least to find it funny for reasons not necessarily reducible to mean-spiritedness and/or prejudice. (Frex, I think some of the cartoons about a Trump/Putin romantic relationship work on an absurdist level, even though I acknowledge that homophobia -- or misogyny, to the extent that those cartoons feminize Trump -- might explain the amusement of some audiences, and therefore I understand why gay people might find those cartoons offensive.) I'm just curious about the possibility of an alternative explanation for the humor here.

-posted by Wes | 3:13 pm | Comments (0)
May 15, 2018
RIP Tom Wolfe
Category: Ancient … Current Events … Serious

With the news of author Tom Wolfe's death, my first thought was, "Hey, didn't I do a comic about him way back when? I think I did!" And then I looked the comic up and... holy crap, lol. But I think that was a pretty common humor template back then: point out a potentially ludicrous thing, explain why it's potentially ludicrous, and punctuate the discussion with a desire for the perpetrator of the potential ludicrousness to die horribly. I still remember a bit on Garfield and Friends -- yes, Garfield the orange cat -- that ended with Garfield muttering, "People who sing like that should be dragged out into the street and shot." Again, this was on Garfield and Friends. Rating: TV-G. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 3:28 pm | Comments (0)
January 14, 2018
Trump’s Ambiguity Assault
Category: Current Events … Serious

So I admit that I've probably been less horrified by Trump's antics than most of the folks in my orbit. I mean, yeah, he consistently shows himself to be a ridiculous buffoon who's in no way up to the task of running the country -- but he's also often hilarious. I often talk about how I read Trump's Twitter feed because I want to see his comments unfiltered, from the source; I also read it because it frequently sends me into peals of laughter. Not a lot of things have that effect on me.

But his current freakout about whether he said "I" or "I'd" isn't even funny -- it's just sad and stupid, and I can't even bring myself to giggle about it.

For those of you who missed it, Trump tweeted an accusation that the Wall Street Journal deliberately misquoted him, writing that he said "I probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un" instead of that same statement with "I'd" instead of "I". The extra consonant sound does indeed change the meaning of the statement -- arguably significantly -- but this really shouldn't be a big deal. It's an easy thing to mishear and an easy thing to misspeak -- especially since, quite naturally, we often drop trailing consonant sounds. (It's also worth noting that this president isn't the most careful when it comes to enunciation; remember the confusion over whether he was saying "bigly" versus "big league"? Not that that's necessarily a criticism; in America we don't require every citizen to sound like a British royal.) All Trump had to do was clarify what he meant, without assigning blame to anyone, and that would have been that. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 8:06 pm | Comments (0)
November 10, 2017
But I don’t blame China.
Category: Current Events … Serious

After all, who could blame one party for knowingly and eagerly taking advantage of another party in agreements that were supposed to work to the mutual benefit of both parties? Any lopsidedness in these agreements was clearly the fault of the United States -- and its stupid leaders, and its stupid people for electing those leaders -- for being so incredibly stupid and inferior. China was both right and in fact morally obligated to exploit that stupidity for the benefit of its citizens.

This is the kind of "leadership" we get from a "businessman" president. Silver lining: Trump can't actually file for moral bankruptcy.

-posted by Wes | 8:30 pm | Comments (0)
November 8, 2017
Too Soon
Category: Current Events … Serious

Over the last couple of days, I've been thinking a lot about the Right's aversion to gun control efforts and the insistence that it's "too soon" to discuss those efforts in the wake of tragedies. Intuitively, that latter response seems especially baffling to me. In the days following a hideous car accident -- one that likely resulted from some problem with an automobile's construction or design -- we wouldn't insist that it was too soon for the manufacturer to begin looking into the problem and consider issuing a recall. So why, when guns are involved in tragedies that take the lives of too many Americans, are we so hesitant to discuss policies that might prevent those tragedies from happening in the future? Why is it too soon to talk about saving lives?

And as I think about it, I think it partly comes down to an issue of trust. The Right might sincerely disbelieve the premise that gun control measures will actually help, but more significantly they believe that liberals also don't believe gun control measures will have any positive impact. Instead, the Right maintains that this is a Right/Left culture-war issue. Liberals simply want to take their guns because liberals hate guns in principle, and fuck those liberals and everything they stand for. This isn't actually about saving lives or preventing tragedies; it's about trying to screw over one's political enemies. Those libtards are just taking advantage of bad press and dead kids (for shame!) to push their anti-gun and anti-conservative and big-government agenda. And that's all well and good, libs, but we should at least call a temporary truce to mourn the dead. The Right's not saying it's too soon to advance potentially helpful policies (note how quickly Trump tweets about restricting immigration and railroading/executing suspects following incidents where he believes "radical Islamic terror" is to blame); they're saying that it's too soon for that antagonistic back-and-forth that now characterizes our politics. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 7:35 pm | Comments (0)
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