Did you study abroad in London or Australia? Are you active in the theater? Do you follow Major League Soccer? You could be part of a growing political revolution—a movement to wrest power away from moneyed interests and wrest it back toward the people. If you wear scarves in the summertime, want to make a difference, and know any Democrats over 45, join Dudes Who Say “Cheers” for Bernie Sanders today, meaning Friday. Today is Friday, and the world is full of brand new recognizable types. Won’t you wearily categorize fresh experience with me?
Last week, the Federal Election Commission announced that Ben Carson had raised more money from individual donors in Montana than any other candidate. Like Montanans themselves, his donors cluster around Billings and Kalispell, but they are also more widely distributed than donors to any other candidate. They live in the boonies. This supports the hypothesis I developed during my independent research in Iowa, where I found that Carson had the support of 100% of voters on my great aunt and uncle’s hog farm. He is the candidate of good country people.
That he is not the candidate of the GOP tells us something about the changing dynamics of Republican politics. Carson is not the different from the two other men leading his field. Like Trump, he has no previous experience in government. Like Cruz, he made a name for himself as an outspoken—some might say obstreperous—critic of President Obama. But unlike Trump and Cruz, Carson is meek. His meekness is a quality that good country people hold dear, but in the 2016 Republican nominating contest, talking loud and crazy is a feature, not a bug. You can read all about in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent.
But that’s not all the Indy has to offer. Valentine’s Day is this weekend, and that means it’s time for the annual Love and Sex issue, featuring essays on subjects from strip clubs to the slow fade, Valentine’s for ironists and the charm of first dates. That last one is by me. You can read ’em all here, and I recommend that you do. There’s Jamie Rogers in there, and he is always good.
Meanwhile, Benji Hughes is getting better. If you’ve been foolish enough to let me control your stereo, you’ve probably heard The Mummy, a strange and pleasing song from his 2008 debut. That sprawling double album is fun, but it felt more like a series of ideas for songs rather than a developed work. Eight years later, Hughes has released his second album, Songs in the Key of Animals, and it’s great. It’s got the same 1970s modal sound, but the songs are more fully formed and, as the album progresses, heartfelt. That’s a positive development for a talented artist who has verged on novelty music before. You can read my review here. I consider this track the single:
You’ll find that sweet jam on my Winter 2 mix, which I have recorded as a single, continuous track and uploaded to SoundCloud, because CD drives are a vanishing species. I didn’t think I did much this week, but I guess I’ve been pretty busy. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!
Here’s a worst-outcome life: write a daily blog about things that aren’t actually sexist. When someone calls sexism on what appears to be innocuous, leaping to defend it is a low-percentage play. Part of the problem is that so many things really do turn out to be sexist, when you think about them. That’s the essence of the feminist critique. But pointing out what isn’t, in fact, sexist is also a bad risk because even when you’re right, the reward is small. You get the sweet feeling of proving someone wrong, but the person you proved wrong is invariably a defender of women. Even if logic and integrity are on your side, that sympathetic character is not. I mention this problem because Slate just said the Bernie vs. Hillary meme is sexist. By “the Bernie vs. Hillary meme,” I don’t mean the 2016 campaign for president. I mean what’s after the jump.
This morning, Montana state representative and innocent victim of a politically-motivated campaign practices lawsuit Art Wittich (R–Belgrade) tweeted:
— Art Wittich (@ArtWittich) February 9, 2016
Click on that link if you must, but don’t believe what you read. I’m more interested in the implication that Wittich, a former senate majority leader, is somehow not part of the “Helena Establishment.” It seems like he is abusing the term. But Wittich is a colorful speaker, and it’s only Montana after all. Perhaps you would prefer to hear a national figure speak of the establishment—for example, former president Bill Clinton, who told USA Today that his wife is “not an establishment politician.” At the Democratic debate last week, Hillary Clinton agreed:
Well, look, I’ve got to just jump in here because, honestly, Sen. Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment. And I’ve got to tell you that it is …
It is really quite amusing to me.
Clinton added that she would now express her amusement by making the sound voters call laughter, but she was cut off by more applause. The important thing is that she will strike a blow against the establishment by becoming the first woman president, and also the first president married to someone who was president before.
On Friday night, Gloria Steinem criticized young women who support Bernie Sanders in, uh, problematic terms. “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘where are the boys?'” she told Bill Maher. “The boys are with Bernie.” That’s a bad argument, mostly because it implies that young women care less about politics than catching a man, but also because there’s a much more satisfying generalization right next door. When you’re young, you’re thinking, “where are the young people?” Eighty-five percent of voters under age 30 broke for Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, and he led Hillary by 21 points among voters 30-44. There may be some force at work here other than the overwhelming desire for boys. But if Steinem is a feminist, how can she say something sexist?