Yesterday evening, the internet lit up with news that a former British intelligence operative claimed to have proof that Russian intelligence gathered kompromat on president-elect Donald Trump, in the form of both financial documents and a video of Trump in a hotel room watching two prostitutes urinate on each other. I think we can agree that is the greatest, most luxurious sex act in the world. Also, I probably shouldn’t have used the word “news” in the first sentence of this post. The memo describing this kompromat has been circulating in the intelligence community and among journalists for months. Yesterday afternoon, CNN reported that intelligence agencies had informed Trump that the Russians had compromising information on him. Their willingness to treat the kompromat story as legitimate seems to have inspired Buzzfeed, which released the two-page memo “so that Americans can make up their own minds.”
Christmas is nigh upon us, and that means
peace on Earth the year-end scramble to determine who used Twitter worst in 2016. Although the Gawker network was mortally wounded by Hulk Hogan’s libel suit and then sold to Univision, it’s still producing its most valuable product: the annual Worst Tweets list. Some of them do not seem so bad to me, but others suggest the race to the bottom is moving at breakneck speed. For example, there’s this strong entrant in the microgenre of performative wokeness:
That is very woke. Anyone can be sick of male entitlement, but you have to be really sick of male entitlement to recognize it in an alligator attack. And to be so finished with it that the news doesn’t even make you sad? Being sad at the news is what wokeness is all about. What we have here is some kind of wokeness horseshoe, where concern for the injustices afflicting humanity becomes so great that you stop caring about human lives. That is some next-level stuff, but it may meet its match in this:
re: saying trump has a small dick:
1)having a small dick is perfectly fine & not something to shame ppl for
2)shame his character instead
— Sophia Benoit (@1followernodad) November 15, 2016
Okay, yeah, people should not be shamed for having small penises. But if I say Donald Trump is dumb, and you pop up to say that having low intelligence is nothing to be ashamed of, you’re kind of missing the point. Society needs insults. They are by their nature cruel and unfair, but to limit our range of derision to “you have poor character” is to impoverish expression. Maybe it’s worth reducing language to a 1984-style Newspeak to protect guys with small dicks, but I’m not sure. The important thing is that you have established you are kinder than everyone, by closely scrutinizing their behavior.
It’s a real horse race, this list. Fortunately, the mean socialists behind Chapo Trap House have organized the third annual Shit Account Tourney to determine, democratically via brackets, who used Twitter worst this year. Owing to the narcissism of small differences, probably, a lot of their selections come from liberal/woke Twitter, which did seem to get suddenly more grating around the second Wednesday in November. The subtly insufferable Arthur Chu looked like a shoe-in, at first. But now dark horse Kurt Eichenwald seems poised to knock him out of the semifinals, perhaps thanks to this transcendent interview with Tucker Carlson last weekend:
No one is fooled! It’s kind of unfair that this work of public cynicism is propelling him to the top of the SAT, because it didn’t happen on Twitter. But a few days later, Eichenwald announced that he is suing a Twitter user who sent him a seizure-inducing GIF. If you want snarky writers to hate you, sue Twitter users. In a just world, Eichenwald’s bid for the championship will still crash on the libelous rocks of Mike Cernovich. But maybe the contempt we feel for those people who agree with us wrongly will carry the day. Only time will tell!
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…
The bathroom: we all go there, but do we do it for the right reasons? In many states, Americans reinforce patriarchy by using gender-segregated public restrooms. Other, better states have gender-neutral public restrooms, but people still use them in ways that enforce their gender privilege. By “people,” I mean men. Fortunately, Everyday Feminism has published this handy, 2300-word guide titled 6 Helpful Ways to Check Your Male Privilege in Gender-Neutral Bathrooms. There are actually seven items on the list, but four of them boil down to “don’t cover the seat in urine.” Another item is “wash your hands,” which raises questions about the line between politics and hygiene. But what if washing your hands were a feminist act? What if resisting the patriarchy were as easy as not laughing at strangers when they pass gas? If that were true, I could do feminism every day, just by continuing my normal behavior.
Like a lot of people, Jack Chick had a hard time drawing hands. It’s good that thing on the end of the professor’s sleeve has fingers, or we might not recognize it. But look at his pear-shaped body, his smiling overbite, his stooped mien. He is very much the natural man, trapped in a box—heck, let’s call it cage—made from the rigid lines of the chalkboard, the corner, the portrait, the podium, even the frame itself. Here is a person caught by a fixed idea, a simian out of place in the world of humans. Rembrandt it ain’t, but this work of comic art is at least as good as something you’d find in Mad magazine. And it’s all the vision of one person. The panel above is from a Chick tract, those little black-and-white pamphlets on evangelical themes you have probably found on the bus or at the fair. The man behind them, Jack Chick, died in his sleep Sunday night. I do not admire his beliefs, but I envy his life.