Yesterday in the comments section, one Cookie Greene brought my attention to a grievous error in this week’s Indy column. I said Rep. Ryan Zinke (R–MT) had not previously revealed his military service record, when in fact he “mentioned it in nearly every ad on TV during his campaign and at every talk he did traveling the state.” I don’t know how that escaped me, since it was obvious to everyone else, but here we are. It’s probably because I’m not a Montanan. Touché, Cookie. Today is Friday, and it’s funny because it’s true. Won’t you join me in trying to be a little more honest?
Last week, Montana’s own Ryan Zinke celebrated his first month as a congressman by correcting the President. Obama was mistaken to think his proposed operation against ISIS could be successful without large-scale ground operations, Zinke said to pretty much any news outlet that would listen. In doing so, he also dropped a thunderbolt: Ryan Zinke used to be in the Navy. I think I speak for all Montanans when I say that I am shocked to learn of this chapter in his life. It’s no wonder Zinke never mentioned his military service, though, what with America’s pervasive bias against the troops. The only way to restore respect for the men and women of our armed services is to get them into combat immediately, before our quick successes in Iraq and Afghanistan convince the public that war is something anybody can do. That’s my argument in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, and I’m sticking to it. Probably, this one will cost me some readers. Not you, though—we’ll both be back here tomorrow for Friday links. Right?
By the time you read this, I’ll be famous. I assume that everyone else on the internet also spent the last few weeks listening to Prince Buster, and this blog post about his influence on The Specials will go viral instantly. Probably, the Combat! blog server has already crashed, and this essay is now hosted by NASA. In case you live in Iraq or something and don’t know the central elements of western culture: Prince Buster was a musician during the first wave of Jamaican ska in the 1960s. The Specials were a band during the 2-Tone ska revival in late-seventies London. They relate to each other much as the individual relates to the culture he or she inherits, echoing Ortega y Gasset’s construction of modernity. Video after the jump.
You should follow Willy Staley on Twitter, not just because he is responsible for the best thing that happened to my career in 2014, but also because he has coined the phrase “digital Manichaeism.” He was referring, in part, to this amazing story about Justine Sacco in the New York Times. Flying to South Africa to visit family for the holidays, she tweeted the above ill-considered joke to her 170 followers before she got on the plane. By the time she landed, she had been fired from her job and was the number-one trending topic on Twitter. Sacco became the focus of social media’s robust shaming culture, and it blew up her life.
E-CREAM, dog: elderly caucasians rule everything around me. While the country scoffed at one Montana legislator’s proposal to ban yoga pants, thousands of very rich people were about their father’s business, figuratively and literally. The Koch brothers announced plans to spend $889 million on the 2016 election cycle, more than twice the amount the actual Republican Party spent in 2012. That’s a lot of speech. It’s weird because I can’t remember what either of their voices sounds like, or even reading anything they wrote. Today is Friday, and the most powerful forces in America are not ones you can interact with. Won’t you pan forebodingly across the horizon with me?