Joke book “literally kills lives,” says person so right I cannot agree

A satirical cover from the recently-pulled Bad Little Children’s Books

Following accusations of racism, Abrams has taken the collection of satirical illustrations Bad Little Children’s Books off the market at the author’s request. The pseudonymous Arthur Gackley maintains that neither he nor his book is prejudiced, but that public outcry has made it impossible to have “the kind of dialogue I hoped to promote.” If that sounds suspiciously high-minded to you, you’ll love his quote in The Guardian:

This act of censorship is dangerous on so many levels, as free speech, satire and parody are tools to help make us a stronger society, not a more divided one.

Totally true re: speech and satire, but I question his use of the phrase “act of censorship.” When you pull your own book because people said you were a jerk for writing it, that’s not censorship. That’s free speech convincing you. I’m kind of surprised it did, though, because the speech used to condemn Bad Little Children’s Books seems like the wrong way to convince anybody. Example after the jump.

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Unfalsifiable: “Thirsty” is the worst insult we have

thirsty

Of all the names you can get called on the internet, “thirsty” is the worst. This is not to say “thirsty” is the worst thing you can say. That would be the n-word. But the n-word is one of those insults that reveals more about the person who says it than the person so insulted. When someone uses a slur, people think less of him immediately. He is a bumpkin or a coward. The person who calls you thirsty, on the other hand, establishes himself in a position of superiority. From there he observes your behavior and dismisses you with a word. It’s a pretty sick burn.

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Breitbart plays the race card in Carson vs. Pelosi

The homepage of Breitbart.com around noon eastern

The homepage of Breitbart.com around noon eastern

I was astonished to see the Breitbart headline in the screenshot above, but it changed when I clicked on it. The story-page headline reads Nancy Pelosi Calls Ben Carson “Disturbingly Unqualified,” which is probably a more precise way to describe her than “white Democrat leader.” Beware autoplay video with sound, should you click on that link yourself. The story is short enough to quote entirely here:

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is calling the decision to tap Ben Carson as head of Housing and Urban Development a “disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice.” Pelosi says the country deserves someone with “relevant experience” to protect the rights of homeowners and renters.

In her statement released Monday, she says “there is no evidence that Dr. Carson brings the necessary credentials to hold a position with such immense responsibilities and impact on families and communities across America.”

Trump says, “Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans.”

There’s a lot missing from this report, including what Carson’s qualifications might actually be. If you want those kinds of nuances, you’re better off with the Times. It’s kind of weird that Breitbart would just reprint a statement from the House Minority Leader with none of its own commentary or counterpoint, save that quote from Donald Trump. But all the commentary they need is in that homepage headline: White Democrat Leader Calls…

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Friday links! It’s the children who are wrong edition

children-who-are-wrong

Every time some recount widens Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote, the Democratic Party looks stupider. It’s one thing to lose to a game show host. Losing to a game show host even though more people voted for you really plants the flag atop Mount Fuckup. Now is the time for Democrats to turn on one another in recrimination and gnashing of teeth, but wait: Jonathan Chait says they have nothing to learn from their loss. The 2016 Election Is a Disaster Without a Moral, he writes in New York Magazine. The only lesson to be taken is “don’t run Hillary Clinton again.” Other than the thrilling moment when you realize the DNC might do that, this lesson sucks. Plenty of mistakes were made in the process of losing by getting 2.5 million more votes. But Chait blames the voters themselves:

If you listened to the political scientists, Hillary Clinton’s defeat was relatively predictable — winning a third term for a party is pretty difficult. Most of us believed that dynamic wouldn’t matter in 2016 because the Republican Party nominated a singularly unfit candidate for office. But it turned out this factor was cancelled out by Hillary Clinton’s almost equal level of unpopularity. To many people who follow politics closely, it was hard to believe that the voters might see the ordinary flaws of a consummate establishmentarian pol as equivalent to those of a raving ignorant sociopathic sexual predator. And yet.

Let me get this straight: “This factor,” by which you mean one candidate’s unfitness for office, was cancelled out by the other candidate’s unpopularity? Sounds like an election, dude. I agree it’s awful and surprising that Trump won, but to say it only happened because people hated the Democratic candidate more than him is to jam the snake’s tail into its mouth. Chait spends the next several paragraphs convincing the reader there’s nothing to be learned from the last election by limiting himself to describing it. When he dismisses Sanders as a “message candidate,” he draws attention to the lacuna haunting his whole nihilist project: maybe the lesson is that your candidate should have a clear message. Today is Friday, and the Democratic Party is free to spend the next 3.75 years deciding what its message might be. Won’t you fill the silence with me?

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Ed Butcher and Snoop Dogg are old, but only one is good

Montana Republican Ed Butcher (right) and Snoop Dogg

Montana Republican Ed Butcher (right) and Snoop Dogg

Readers of the Missoulian’s opinion pages know the paper has a strict policy of publishing only those opinions submitted in writing. Back in March, they published a letter to the editor from a woman who is not prejudiced, arguing that the Bible commands us to keep separate from Muslims. But that’s just an LTE, and the Missoulian’s stated policy is to publish all letters that “meet our guidelines.” Presumably they curate their guest columns a little more carefully, but you know what happens when we presume: our local newspaper publishes an editorial arguing that people without jobs should not be allowed to vote.

Ed Butcher is a former state senator and self-described historian/teacher of history, although his last teaching position—as a lecturer in American studies at Great Falls University—ended forty years ago. He appears to be retired, but don’t worry about him running afoul of his own proposal, because he owns a ranch. Like many retired landowners, he has a keen eye for who isn’t working. Quote:

Thousands of people are marching in highly organized mass protests across America. They obviously are not working for a living; so who is feeding, clothing and housing these radicals who are railing against the society supporting their “lifestyle?”

Butcher goes on to trace the decline of “the founding fathers’ republic” to the extension of the vote to men without property, a process that occurred during the 1820s. Now that’s conservative. His remedy is to require proof of employment to vote. You can read my full-throated defense of this idea in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. Mister Butcher—Ed—if you’re reading this, reasonable people can disagree. But you are not a reasonable person, so I am forced to agree with you wholeheartedly.

It’s hard to read about anything other than fascism lately, but if you care to take a moment for something lighter, Snoop Dogg is coming to Missoula as part of the Puff Puff Pass Tour Part 2. Let’s all take a moment to wonder what the fudge that might look like, and whether our girlfriend made good on her threat to buy tickets. Once that’s done, check out my meditation on the uncharted path of the middle-aged rapper, also in this week’s Indy. If you had told me, when this song came out and I was a young dummy in Brooklyn, that I would write about Snoop Dogg for a Montana newspaper in 2016, I would have been confused. Once you told me Donald Trump would be president, though, I would have known exactly what kind of person I was talking to.