Feb 20, 2020
Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Ross Douthat Hits A New Low Even For Him Edition
This week’s Times leads, like pretty much every other news source in America, with the release of American prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl, imprisoned by Afghan insurgents for five years. Rather than be happy that our sole POW got to return to American soil, the GOP took this as an opportunity to whine about Obama.
So in order to get Bergdahl back, ‘Merica had to return five Gitmo prisoners to the Taliban. Right-thinking people agree that this is not an ideal set of circumstances, but right-thinking people also agree that if you can bring one of our soldiers back home, you generally do. The GOP, of course, are not right-thinking people.
[W]ord of renewed, secret negotiations with the Taliban brought immediate criticism from some lawmakers, including Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “I have little confidence in the security assurances regarding the movement and activities of the now-released Taliban leaders, and I have even less confidence in this administration’s willingness to ensure they are enforced,” he said. “I believe this decision will threaten the lives of American soldiers for years to come.”
Hey Mike Rogers of Michigan, you unreconstructed douchebag, why not call Bowe Bergdahl’s folks and tell them to eat a dick while you’re at it, because that’s the approximate level of sensitivity and sanity you’re displaying here. Also, too, if your bouncing baby Bush hadn’t gotten us into the hot hot double sided war action he did, we wouldn’t be talking at all about whether to bring a prisoner home from Afghanistan or just let him rot.
There’s a couple Big Shocking Pieces in this week’s New York Times, both of which are the fruits of long and deep investigative reporting, which is sort of Not Our Thing, but you will probably want to read them anyway so you can be a well-informed person. The first is about the NSA collecting millions of pictures of faces from the web in order to create a giant New World Order secret database dystopia. The revelations are, of course, part of the ongoing document dump from attention whore/savior/something-in-between Edward Snowden and you probably care about it a lot, but we suck at analyzing national security issues.
We suck equally hard at knowing anything about soccer or the World Cup except that David Beckham is pretty and those vuvuzela things are noisy as fuck, but we’re still pretty intrigued by the big piece on match-fixing, especially because some of it sounds almost delightfully brazen.
A soccer referee named Ibrahim Chaibou walked into a bank in a small South African city carrying a bag filled with as much as $100,000 in $100 bills, according to another referee traveling with him. The deposit was so large that a bank employee gave Mr. Chaibou a gift of commemorative coins bearing the likeness of Nelson Mandela.
Later that night in May 2010, Mr. Chaibou refereed an exhibition match between South Africa and Guatemala in preparation for the World Cup, the world’s most popular sporting event. Even to the casual fan, his calls were suspicious — he called two penalties for hand balls even though the ball went nowhere near the players’ hands
Soccer. So quaint! So corrupt!
Big doings in Colorado, where it is time to have some good old-fashioned weed panic now that marijuana is legal there. There’s plenty of scare quote material from anti-legalization folks, including how your kids are totally getting high all the time by stealing your stash, man.
Many of Colorado’s starkest problems with legal marijuana stem from pot-infused cookies, chocolates and other surprisingly potent edible treats that are especially popular with tourists and casual marijuana users.
On Colorado’s northern plains, for example, a fourth grader showed up on the playground one day in April and sold some of his grandmother’s marijuana to three classmates. The next day, one of those students returned the favor by bringing in a marijuana edible he had swiped from his own grandmother.
“This was kind of an unintended consequence of Colorado’s new law,” said John Gates, the district’s director of school safety and security. “For crying out loud, secure your weed. If you can legally possess it, that’s fine. But it has no place in an elementary school.”
Dude, this is not a problem unique to marijuana. Yr humble correspondent made a cottage industry out of stealing Dad’s bottles of Everclear and transporting them to high school for other kids to drink themselves blind. That shit will fuck you up. Further, we totally agree! Lock up your stash! Don’t let little Billy bring your pot candy to school, because that is a waste of your pot candy!
We’ve got an advice column two-fer this week, with both the workologist person and the poor social etiquette dude having to field questions. We’re starting to feel kinda sorry for the workologist, because their questions are really really banal.
The woman who sits next to me at my office (we are in a row of cubicles) chews gum all day long, pausing only for her lunch break. She chews it with her mouth wide open and cracks it every few seconds, and the sound drives me crazy.
Other than the clicking of keys and occasional phone calls, it’s the only sound in an otherwise quiet office. I would love to address it with her, but she is easily offended, and I don’t want to damage our relationship. I’ve tried putting in earbuds, but I prefer to work without music. Am I being a big baby?
Workologist answer: either suck it up and talk to your coworker, or suck it up and wear noise-canceling headphones. Agreed on both points. Props to workologist for also remarking on what we were all thinking: the gum chewing is the only real sign of life in your office? Can we come work in your office? Most cube-dwellers would murder everyone in sight to be able to count gum-chewing alone as their greatest annoyance.
We are quite pleased to see the social etiquette guy give his most succinct response to a thoughtless query yet.
Q: My friend from R.O.T.C. invited me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding a year ago. I agreed. Since then, she has missed no opportunity, even during solemn Memorial Day exercises, to chatter endlessly about the stupid party. The wedding is in three weeks. Is there any way for me to bow out now?
A: Permission denied, soldier. (But shushing is allowed.)
Aww. Perhaps he learned brevity from us! Though if he was truly taking our lead, there would be swearing too.
You know, of course, that rich people remain overcompensated and awful, and there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to the multi-million dollar monstrosities littering the New York landscape. Marble floors, carpet knit out of solid gold babies and persian kittens, and so on and so on. However, we do applaud the Times for trying to write about these things in increasingly overwrought ways, as if to slyly remind us how nonsensical they all are.
A duplex penthouse perched near the pinnacle of the coveted park-side “House” portion of 15 Central Park West, the twin-towered limestone condominium where resale residences are appreciating in value much like vintage wine, sold for $48 million
You just know someone whipped out the thesaurus for “perched” and “pinnacle” and just gave up and went for it with the vintage wine reference after trying to write this thing for a few hours and getting increasingly rage fueled and resentful.
Speaking of rage-fueled, we often feel that way about Ms. Maureen Dowd! Today, though, MoDo just leaves us vaguely confused with her “I ate lunch with Gerry Adams” column. You’ll recall that Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein (the ones who want to unite Northern Ireland and Ireland, in case you don’t keep score at home) was arrested but then released without charge for the 1972 murder of Jean McConville that he allegedly ordered. MoDo’s column is a lightweight trip through some of the Troubles that have plagued Northern Ireland, but it is marred by Dowd’s crappy writing, in which she has to keep reminding us that Gerry Adams is indeed Irish. He has a brogue! It makes words sound different! He wears tweed! With a green ribbon! He says “wee”! She breezes right past Adams’s discussion of his role in the murder. Unsurprisingly, he says he is not guilty. We make no judgment as to whether he was, but good Christ we would probably dig a little deeper into our writing skills to address it rather than focusing on where we ate with the man, as Dowd does.
Similarly, little Tommy Friedman’s column has a topic which, on its face, does not make us want to throttle Tom Friedman: the fact that Obama inherited the disastrous foreign policy messes of his predecessors and that he then faced unexpected and grueling new challenges like the conflict in Syria. No problem there. The problem, of course, is that Thomas Friedman writes like Thomas Friedman.
When President Obama sits down to write his foreign policy memoir he may be tempted to use as his book title the four words he reportedly uses privately to summarize the Obama doctrine: “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” (with “stuff” sometimes defined more spicily). […]
Obviously, Obama would much prefer that his foreign policy memoir be called “Present at the Re-Integration” — at the forging of a new, stable pro-Western order.
The chances that you are right about either of those things, Thomas Friedman, remains something approaching absolute zero. Stop this thing where you imagine you know what world leaders are thinking. It’s precious, and not in a good way.
We warned you last week that Ross Douthat would write about the Santa Barbara shootings, and oh does he, and in a particularly repugnant way, even for Ross Douthat. We’re almost not even sure what parts to BIG BLOCKQUOTE for you. Should it be the part where he blames feminism for trying to hold men accountable to the really relatively minor task of respecting women, instead suggesting that the real victims here are dudes who are not getting laid, and feminism should teach those men to love themselves first? Is it the part where he pretends, as always, to be evenhanded about addressing the fact that a man who left a violent trail of misogyny-filled writings behind him was probably actually fueled by misogyny but hey maybe not? Nah. Ross really outdoes himself this time by explaining that because all sorts of people are getting much sadder and weirder because other people get to have more sex than them, and that is of course the fault of feminists and their other sex positive fellow travelers. SPOILER ALERT: We are gonna blockquote your faces SO HARD right now so you can get a double-barreled dose of Ross.
The Santa Barbara case hints at one such source — the tension between our culture’s official attitude toward sex on the one hand and our actual patterns of sexual and romantic life on the other. […] Sexual fulfillment is treated as the source and summit of a life well lived, the thing without which nobody (from a carefree college student to a Cialis-taking senior) can be truly happy, enviable or free.
Meanwhile, social alternatives to sexual partnerships are disfavored or in decline: Virginity is for weirdos and losers, celibate life is either a form of unhealthy repression or a smoke screen for deviancy, the kind of intense friendships celebrated by past civilizations are associated with closeted homosexuality, and the steady shrinking of extended families has reduced many people’s access to the familial forms of platonic intimacy.
Yet as sex looms ever larger as an aspirational good, we also live in a society where more people are single and likely to remain so than in any previous era. And since single people have, on average, a lot less sex than the partnered and wedded, a growing number of Americans are statistically guaranteed to feel that they’re not living up to the culture’s standard of fulfillment, happiness and worth.
This tension between sexual expectations and social reality is a potential problem for both sexes, but for a variety of reasons — social, cultural and biological — it’s more likely to produce toxic reactions in the male of the species.
Funny, we would have thought that it is more of a “potential problem” for the ladies that keep getting themselves assaulted or killed dead by men like this, but that’s just us. Also, too, if your suggestion as to how to fix this essentially amounts to “force gays back into the closet so they have non-sexy relationships because they’re too scared or repressed to get their fuck on and make single people live at home forever with their parents as their only source of intimacy” you are a deeply idiotic and terrible sort of person.
Please join us all in conveying our motto to Ross Douthat: SHUT UP YOU FUCKING BABY.