May 20, 2020
Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Ross Douthat Rolls Over, Plays Dead Edition
Of course today’s NYT leads with all Ukraine all the time, as well they should. However, you know that geopolitical conflict isn’t really how we do here, given that our official policy on Syria is ??????
Oh wait we forgot we totally want to talk about Syria for a minute you guys, because now thanks to the NYT we have a feels! The Times covered the online posting of a hot new pro-Hezbollah song that appeared on the internet recently, and believe us when we say thing is OUR JAM.
It’s got a good beat and you can totally dance to it while engaging in complicated domestic conflict as well! Play it when you’re arguing about who will do the dishes, because it has some super empowering fun time lyrics:
The booming martial ballad, “Seal Your Victory in Yabroud,” warns Hezbollah’s enemies:
The soldiers are coming/they will give you dark days/O Hezbollah, God be with you/ seal your victory in Yabroud.
“We flattened the army of the Jews,” Mr. Barakat sings, “and now it is your turn in Yabroud.”
That shit is climbing the charts, yo.
No snark at all when we say you should go read the big feature on the deplorable conditions in Alabama’s Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. It’s as depressing and necessary a read as you’re going to find today.
Moving along, we find a disturbingly obvious yet obviously disturbing piece on how open plan cube farm nonsense is bad for your life and your ears and your productivity because of the ceaseless noise of the chattering classes that inhabit your office.
Both consciously and unconsciously, we are monitoring our work area for sounds and classifying them as they hit our ears, Dr. Goldsmith said. Then we decide to ignore them (the colleague’s conversation with a spouse) or heed them (someone calling our name).
People must deploy “selective auditory attention” to work effectively in noisy environments, said Adrian K.C. Lee, director of the Laboratory for Auditory Brain Sciences and Neuroengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. This work can be complex and mentally draining, and some people are better at it than others. […]
Auditory distraction occurs when a noise forces you to switch your attention away and then back to your work, Professor Lee said. This amounts to a “cognitive load” that makes it hard to maintain your concentration, he said.
Finally, yet another excuse for why we are not getting shit done at the office. Fortunately, there’s a solution for future generations. Hurl sound at your babby.
There’s evidence that if babies or very young children are brought up in a noisy environment, they will be better able to tune out noises later in life, Dr. Goldsmith said.
Time to break out Baby’s First Rammstein Song, played simultaneously with a blender in the kitchen, a buzzsaw in the garage, and an episode of Teletubbies or whatever shit it is that kids watch these days. Your kid will be a regular Einstein. She’ll be so smart that she’ll end up being one of those nonsense people who are able to buy a $12 million condo with white oak floors in fancy schmancy places that have both up- and downsides, neighbor-wise.
Another sponsor unit, this one a full-floor apartment at One Madison, on the southeast corner of Madison Square Park, sold for $11,709,875 and was the week’s runner-up. The media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, in search of a post-divorce bachelor pad, caused a stir at One Madison by recently contracting to buy the unfinished triplex penthouse and the three-bedroom unit below it on the 57th floor for an aggregate $57.25 million. Other buyers of note at the building are the Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen and her husband, Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, who paid $14 million for their Manhattan pied-à-terre.
We do not know enough fancy new math to know if the bluster of Murdoch outweighs the hotness of Gisele. Perhaps one of you can solve for X in the comments.
No matter what, your noise-fueled babby will probably grow up to at least be smart enough to know that just because it happened on teevee doesn’t mean it is true and no, Virginia, captains cannot automatically marry you at sea. Who is most to blame for feeding you this nonsense? “Love Boat,” duh.
“I saw it on “The Love Boat,’ ” said Diana Biederman, citing the 1970s show in which Capt. Merrill Stubing, the balding officer played by Gavin MacLeod, orchestrated countless unions among B-list television stars (Bob Denver! Jo Anne Worley! Charo!). After Ms. Biederman, 50, and her betrothed, Vincent DeLongis, 53, cemented their relationship at the Marina Jack restaurant and boat dock in Sarasota, Fla., they thought it would be romantic and perfectly plausible to have a captain legally join them in matrimony. “I said, ‘I’m sure a ship boat captain can marry us,’ ” Ms. Biederman said.
Oh, and also too “Star Trek.”
Even Capt. James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise got it wrong. As he noted in a “Star Trek” episode in 1966, “Since the days of the first wooden vessels, all ship masters have had one happy privilege: that of uniting two people in the bonds of matrimony.”
Of course now because people believe this is A Thing, there are cruise ships that are moving to provide this service. Nature abhors a vacuum and all that.
Hopefully after your babby figures out she can’t get married at sea or at least has the smarts to make arrangements for said marriage before she sails, she won’t end up in a marriage with this dude.
My husband and I had successful careers in finance before we married. When we had our first child, we agreed that I would quit my job to spend more time with the baby. (We now have two bright toddlers.) But we never agreed how our finances would be managed after I stopped working. Now, he pays the house- and child-related expenses, and I pay my personal expenses from my savings, which will run out at some point. But when investment decisions are required, he calls the shots, even though he asks for my opinion. This often makes me uncomfortable because he is willing to take greater risks than I am. How do you think we should make these decisions?
Mercifully, social etiquette guy says unless your husband is Warren Buffet, you get a say in the investment portfolio. Oh, snap! Social Q guy is getting feisty up in here!
Remember our vow of remaining ignorant in the realm of geopolitics? Man, we wish Thomas Friedman would take the same vow, because the events in the Ukraine have given Tommy even greater-than-normal license to talk about the flat world or whatever.
THE Egyptian strongman Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi was recently in Moscow visiting with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Putin reportedly offered Sisi $2 billion in arms — just what a country like Egypt, where half the women can’t read, needs. The whole meeting struck me as so 1960s, so Nasser meets Khrushchev — two strongmen bucking each other up in the age of strong people and superempowered individuals. Rather than discuss arms sales, Sisi and Putin should have watched a movie together.
Specifically, Sisi should have brought a copy of “The Square” — the first Egyptian film ever nominated for an Oscar. It’s up this year. Sisi has a copy. Or, to be more precise, his film censor’s office does. For the last few months, the Egyptian authorities have been weighing whether to let the film — an inspiring and gripping documentary that follows six activists from the earliest days of the Tahrir Square revolution in 2011 until the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted by Sisi in 2013 — to be shown in Egypt.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the penultimate example of why Thomas Friedman writes columns rather than providing actual advice to politicians and diplomats. We know you want to play with the big boys, Tommy, but this is not the way to do it. Especially since Friedman gives the film several paragraphs of loving tongue-bathing until he gets around to mentioning that the people who made the film are friends of his, which makes sense because only Tommy’s friends share nonsense thoughts about the world like this.
It captures some of the most important shifts happening today, starting with fact that in today’s hyperconnected world wealth is getting concentrated at the top, but, at the same time, power is getting distributed at the bottom and transparency is being injected everywhere.
Stop trying to make “hyperconnected” happen.
Speaking of stopping, will no one stop Maureen Dowd? Doesn’t she have an editor to say “MoDo, honey, this is the 11,286th column you’ve written about Hillary Clinton. Maybe try something else?” Haha no she does not, so because some of the Clinton presidential papers came out this week, it is all Hillz all the time for MoDo.
[P]olitically, we keep traveling into the past. It won’t be long before we’ll turn on the TV and see Lanny Davis defending President Clinton (the next one) on some mishegoss or other.
When the Clintons lost to Obama, they simply turned Obama’s presidency into their runway. Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, and a passel of other former Obama aides, are now helping Hillary. And Bill is out being the campaigner-in-chief, keeping the Clinton allure on display in 2014.
BREAKING MUST CREDIT MODO: Other Democrats who did not win an office sometimes work with Democrats that did, and use that service as a launching pad for their later run at the office after someone is term-limited! Crazy, right? Someday we hope to believe in something as much as MoDo believes in the notion that all Clintonian acts are de facto nefarious because they involve a Clinton.
We knew from reading Twitter yesterday that Douthat’s column was going to be a pile of dreck, but we dragged our feet on reading it until this morning because we deserve a day unsullied by Ross Douthat. Today, Ross bemoans the fact that his side lost the Big Gay Culture War. He called the column “The Terms of our Surrender,” for fuck’s sake. It is all about Ross’s Big Feels on the Arizona bill, which WAS TOO A RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL YOU GUYS and now florists everywhere will have to make penis-shaped floral arrangements for every gay on pain of death.
In this scenario, the unwilling photographer or caterer would be treated like the proprietor of a segregated lunch counter, and face fines or lose his business — which is the intent of recent legal actions against a wedding photographer in New Mexico, a florist in Washington State, and a baker in Colorado.
Yes, Ross, that is actually how public pressure and laws work. You make it unpleasant or expensive for bigots to stay in business and either they stop being in business and become well-paid Times columnists or they realize they love money and stay in business, or they stop being such hatemongers and also too stay in business.
But waaaahhhhhhhh says Ross! What of freedom??? Why were people SO MEAN about the Arizona bill?
What makes this [anti-bill] response particularly instructive is that such bills have been seen, in the past, as a way for religious conservatives to negotiate surrender — to accept same-sex marriage’s inevitability while carving out protections for dissent. But now, apparently, the official line is that you bigots don’t get to negotiate anymore.
DING DING DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER! Ross, that is exactly right! The Arizona bill didn’t represent some middle ground or negotiation. It represented you and yours being whiny little bitchcakes about the progression of society and using teh gheys as yet another reason to try to trot out your theocracy. Dude, even JAN BREWER doesn’t agree with you anymore. Let it go.
We can only hope that 40 years from now Ross Douthat hangs his head in shame over the fact that he thought he was engaged in a Great Noble Struggle against the forces of gay, and instead acknowledges he was just a terrible neckbearded little bigot all along. Hopefully we’ll be dead by then, though, because the thought of reading Ross Douthat 40 years from now is too terrible to imagine.