Oppositional culture for an occupied age

Friday links! Love it or shoot somebody edition


Let us take a moment to note that the guns are real in the photograph above, but the guitars are not. Somewhere there is a continuum of fantasies that runs from Rock Band controllers to the Bushmaster AR-15 with extended clip. I call that continuum America, and the good news is that you are in it. The bad news is that 350 million other people are in it, too, and their fantasy nation is slightly different from yours. Today is Friday, and America is the dream we dream together. Won’t you wake in a cold sweat with me?

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On the varieties of religious exemption

Snake handling

Ever since Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, in which the Supreme Court exempted the craft store chain from covering certain types of employee birth control due to its owners’ sincere religious objections, I’ve been chafing under the yoke of federal oppression. My beliefs may not be as popular as the notion that a fertilized egg that fails to implant in the uterine lining counts as an aborted baby, but I believe them just as hard, and I assure you they are supported by just as little evidence. That’s the key to getting exempted from federal law: your opinions have to be religious, meaning arbitrary and not open to discussion. If you believe the IUDs are bad because they reduce the overall marriage rate or because women who are sexually active are more likely to be victims of assault, you can shut up and pay your employee coverage. But if you believe it because your church told you the morning after pill is murder, we can’t even argue with you. That’s why I’ve taken a series of exemptions to federal, state and baseball-park law, as I explain in my most recent column for the Missoula Independent. You can read it today instead of a real blog. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links and, probably, a tiny baby growing inside us.


Three hypotheticals in which what Terry Branstad did could be uncool

Every 68 year-old man in Iowa, including Terry Branstad

Every 68 year-old man in Iowa, including Governor Terry Branstad

I applaud Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s decision to proclaim July 14, 2014 a day of prayer and repentance, solidifying Iowa as a Christian state and renewing God’s protection for another year. To his critics, who argue it is unseemly for the governor to instruct his citizens to pray according to the Bible, I say the governor has to do it or it doesn’t work. You didn’t grow up there, but I remember when the Lieutenant Governor declared a day of fasting and repentance in 1988, and 100,000 schoolchildren died of the flu. Don’t second-guess Iowa. They didn’t become the tall corn state by not managing the guy with the locusts.

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Combat! blog flies through air, isn’t useful


Combat! blog’s beautiful Chicago trip is drawing to a close, which means it’s time to head to beautiful O’Hare and eat at a beautiful airport Chili’s. While I experience the apogee of American culture, how about you read this article about the shift away from cars-first transit design in California? I know it sounds dry, but that’s the futch. The futch (pronounced fyooch) is what hip young people call the future, as in (while bicycling) “don’t nuke my futch, bro!” We’ll be back with more information on how you should talk tomorrow, tomorrow.

Combat! blog makes remarks, inaudibly

Wrigley Field Saturday, where the Cubs won a purely moral victory

Wrigley Field Saturday, where the Cubs won a purely moral victory

Man, Chicago is a lot of fun, except in the mornings. There’s some sort of atmospheric effect that makes you wake up with a headache, and my best efforts to investigate it by staying up until dawn recording my observations aloud have, somehow, not unraveled the mystery. I need more time. Fortunately, I’m here until tomorrow night, so I’ve got plenty of time to experiment with different combinations of supplements to keep my mind limber and free my body from unnecessary attachments, e.g. hygiene. While I continue my sense journey, how about you read this controversial article about the rhetoric of trauma in contemporary gender activism? The whole internet is made and/or excited about it. We’ll be back Wednesday, cross-eyed with glee.