One of the signal pleasures of reading Jonathan Chait’s essay on political correctness in New York Magazine is being glad you didn’t write it. Chait makes some good points, one of which is that social media will probably excoriate him. He’s right. My personal favorite is the tweet that accuses him of mansplaining the term mansplaining, which includes a shrugging emoticon but does not say how his explanation is wrong. Perhaps the implication is that anyone but a white man should explain what that term means, which seems right. It is certainly a bitter irony that a man should establish the definition of pedantic man-talk. Something about that sentiment seems illiberal, though. Must Chait be wrong in defining mainsplaining even if his definition is correct? Here we encounter the crux of his argument, and the complicating realization that he is the wrong person to make it.
At some point on Saturday, the snake that operates Sarah Palin fell in love with a licorice whip and ran away, leaving her host body to deliver a half-hour nonsense speech at the Iowa Freedom summit. Lest you think I am indulging a liberal trope, I want to make it clear that this was not the usual folksy assault on syntax. It was bona fide word salad. I quote from the 26-minute mark:
Things like that: it must change. Things must change for our government. Look at it. It isn’t too big to fail. It’s too big to succeed. It’s too big to succeed, so we can afford no retreads, or nothing will change. With the same people and same policies that got us into the status quo—another that word, status quo, and it stands for man, the middle-class everyday Americans are really getting taken for a ride. That’s status quo. And GOP leaders, by the way—you know, the man can only ride you when your back is bent.
That’s 23 seconds of a speech that lasted a half hour. I urge you to watch as much of the video as you can tolerate, if only for the reaction shots. That is as publicly surly as Iowans get.
The problem with this blog is that it’s not nearly folksy enough. Sorry—I meant to say, “dang old blog is dicty as all get out.” You’ll never win an audience by encouraging them to rise to meet you. Better to show that you’re just like them—more famous and wealthy, of course, but definitely not cosmopolitan or freethinking. The ideal senator, for example, would be a hog-castrating soldier mom who wore bread bags for shoes. Of course I am speaking of Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), who was chosen to rebut the State of the Union Address but still presented herself as a simple country
girl woman bumpkin. Today is Friday, and what this country needs is a few people who are just like everybody else. Won’t you pander to an imagined mainstream with me?
Our sleepy little mountain town got a little fancier this month, as the law firm of Datsopoulis, MacDonald and Lind has registered as a political action committee. Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl called on DML to register as a PAC last year. Although they contributed only about 5% of the total money raised in local races in 2014, they backed the right horses: every candidate DML supported won. Recipients to which the law firm contributed include the sheriff, a justice of the peace and the Missoula County Attorney. Those are handy people for a law firm to know. Everything DML did is perfectly legal, of course, thanks to Citizens United and the attendant overturning of Montana’s longstanding law against election spending by corporations. You can read all about it in my latest column for the Missoula Independent. Attorneys for DML, if you’re reading this, please don’t call me to talk about how you could totally sue me but you don’t feel like it right now. You’re pretty much the only major firm in town that hasn’t done that, and I think of you fondly. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links.
Something about impending liver failure must make you take good pictures. Last night I flew back from Palm Springs, where we spent the weekend hoarding the last slivers of Mike Cassady’s bachelorhood. It was lovely. The Birthday Boys were there, affable and fun as always. Micky McKeon was there and is the subject of this photo series:
Which I think we can agree captures something about the human spirit. We also watched Jack Hanna ad lib a 90-minute monologue about death and charmed hell out of some strippers. It was an enormously successful weekend—such a successful weekend, in fact, that I must devote the rest of today to paying work and self-care. I know it’s Wednesday. Being friends with Mike Cassady isn’t easy. Okay, it’s incredibly easy, but it’s also fun. He’s going to make a great husband and father, and I am going to make a big pot of coffee.