COMBAT!

Oppositional culture for an occupied age

Flower beards a “thing,” says unfalsifiable trend piece

Putting flowers in your beard impresses a certain kind of person while I look for my gun.

Put flowers in your beard. Impress a kind of person while I look for my gun.

Hustlin’ Justin Denman sent me this article from CBC News about how flower beards are a thing. As is often the case with trend reporting, it’s not clear what kind of “thing” we’re talking about. Writer Lauren O’Neil wisely and/or cynically begins from a position of skepticism, toward not just flower arrangement but beards themselves:

Often associated with hipster culture (though you’d be hard-pressed to find a young beardo who’d admit that,) large beards have become so much of a trend in some cities that they’ve actually inspired counter-trends. Earlier this year, GQ declared the facial hairstyle “officially uncool” after the New York Times wrote about how “The Brooklyn Beard” was going mainstream in one of its oft-mocked trend pieces. “Now that the New York Times has officially declared beards to be a trend, that trend is, by necessity, over,” wrote Scott Christian.

Having dismissed the validity of big-media style pieces, O’Neil says that GQ was wrong, too, because “Instagram, Twitter, and many a city sidewalk” prove that beards with and without flowers are totally a thing. Welcome to the postmodern era of trend reporting.

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Villagers blame doctors for ebola in Africa

Where ebola is and might be later, according to the World Health Organization

Where ebola is and might be later, according to the World Health Organization

Don’t worry: the turquoise area on the map above only shows where the ebola virus has been found in monkeys imported from the Philippines. I don’t want to succumb to hysteria, but maybe the United States should refrain from importing Filipino monkeys for a while, just until this blood-exploding-through-people’s-skin thing blows over. Then again, that’s the same sort of correlation/causation thinking that has led villagers in Guinea and Liberia to bar aid workers from entering their communities. Where there’s ebola, there are doctors. Ergo, doctors must be causing ebola. Education is a public health issue, you guys.

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Friday links! Humans against humanism edition

A recondite calculus

An abstruse calculus

The woman pictured above opposes the Hungarian Femen movement, which is either a civil rights thing or a “satanists-run prostitutes’ abuse of women’s dignity and grace,” depending on whether you are an editor at Hungarian Ambience. To Hungarian Ambience I say kudos for mastering the English possessive. Also, you guys are fascists. Maybe it’s just my internet, but it seems like fascism is blowing up in geopolitics right now. Humanism ruled and totalitarian systems drooled for so long that I didn’t notice when everybody stopped reading and started wearing shirts about church. Now we’ve overrun with patriots proudly waiving their rights. Today is Friday, and the humans have turned against humanism. Won’t you flee to a high tower with me?

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Times finds that Walsh plagiarized large portions of War College thesis

Senator John Walsh (D–MT) wears a facial expression he plagiarized from a box of Lemonheads.

Senator John Walsh (D–MT) wears a facial expression he plagiarized from a box of Lemonheads.

It is extremely generous of the New York Times to say that Montana Senator John Walsh “confronts questions of plagiarism,” given that the last 800 words of his master’s thesis are taken verbatim from a paper published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The document that Walsh turned in to get his degree from the US Army War College in 2007 contains several uncited passages from related papers on the internet, along with several passages that are footnoted but not quoted, despite being copied from the original sources word-for-word. I encourage you to read the Times article, if only to get a sense of what a mash-up Walsh’s thesis appears to be. There’s also a rad denial from the Senator himself, but you’ll have to click on the jump to read that.

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Palin uses speeding ticket to establish honky bona fides

Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin practices saying "hooah!" in the mirror.

Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin practices saying “hooah!” in the mirror.

Can we take a moment to marvel at how quickly Sarah Palin became what she is now? A scant six years ago, she was the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States. She once claimed to read all newspapers and magazines. Now she’s a female version of Larry the Cable Guy, except instead of making jokes she tells people to buy guns. All right, I guess she also makes jokes: after getting pulled over for speeding last week, she told TMZ that “I wasn’t speeding; I was qualifying.” She also claimed it was because she was listening to Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55.” I think I speak for all of America when I say “no, you weren’t.”

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