War Machine gets 36 to life

I stopped reading about War Machine after Sir Nigel Longstock, a character I play on the Co-Main Event Podcast, banned him from MasterTweet Theatre. His offense was that he nearly beat a woman to death. Up to that point, our funny mixed martial arts podcast had regarded him as a resource. For example, he legally changed his name from Jon Koppenhaver to War Machine approximately two weeks before he was cut from the UFC. Then he ventured into adult cinema. Finally he went to jail, where his use of Twitter skyrocketed. It also got less funny.

He was still an aggressively dumb person pronouncing on his own excellence, but in the context of an assault conviction, it didn’t strike the right tone. As his tweets went from defiant to self-pitying to Jesus, using him on the show started feel like hackery, at best. Then he did that thing to Christie Mack, and it was over. The guy named War Machine who loses prize fights is funny. The guy named War Machine who assaults and rapes people is not.

At first I typed that he did that thing to Christie Mack and we knew he was a bad person, but that’s not true. We knew before that. The time he spent in jail, Tweeting aggressively-capitalized critiques of Society, was for attacking ordinary people in parking lots and bars. He got blackballed from pornography because he stormed around a party punching strangers. Even before he assaulted Mack, he was a pro fighter who pressed his advantage outside the ring. He was evidently awful. He just hadn’t done anything life-defining yet.

Is this the salient difference between a comic figure and a sociopath? We care how the sociopath has hurt people? War Machine is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. The sentence he received today makes him eligible for parole in 36 years. He will be 71. The body he used to punch and rape people will be gone. The mind that chose to do those things will probably be gone, too. The man will be gone, and what comes out of prison in 2053, still legally known as War Machine, will be a relic of this world.

This world will be gone. Good, one is tempted to think, when considering the operation that produced this person and turned him loose to hurt other people until, collectively, we decided to hurt him forever. I could stand to let that one go. But first, show me what else you’ve got.

Yes, I can hear my parents having sex by Superman

Note: This weekend, Dan Brooks was injured in a freak accident while throwing hammers at a trampoline, so today’s Combat! blog is a guest post by humanitarian and immigration rights activist Superman.

As a virtually indestructible alien given superhuman abilities by Earth’s yellow sun, I get a lot of questions about my powers. Yes, I can cook food with my vision. No, I do not need special scissors to get a haircut. My hair just grows this way, with the gel and everything. I don’t understand why—probably for the same reason I can hear Lois Lane say “Help me, Superglub!” as the room in which she is trapped slowly fills with water, even though she is underground and thousands of miles away. And yes, this same super hearing means that I can hear my parents every time they have sex.

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On the geniuses who out themselves

I went to high school with a genius. In daily life, he offered scant evidence that he possessed a beautiful mind. But we knew he had a 165 IQ, because he kept telling us about it. Whenever he failed a math test, and once when someone corrected his pronunciation of Michaelangelo’s famous Sixteenth Chapel, he reminded us of his giant brain number. “That’s on a test,” he would say. “Not just an estimate.” We wondered whether he was simply lying or if his parents had told him in some irrevocable mistake. If that wasn’t it, then somewhere in town there was an educational psychologist whose license needed revoking. We loved to talk about this question.

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Ben Carson’s rap ad makes the wrong kind of sense

"I got a six-figure check for separating twins / I got a [bleep] this big for putting them in."

“I got a six-figure check for separating twins / I got a [bleep] like that for putting them in.”

By now you have heard of Ben Carson’s rap ad, which is playing on urban radio stations across the southeast and in waiting rooms throughout hell. You can listen to it here, or just wait to hear it bumping from a Buick Lucerne. It’s possible Carson should not have made a rap ad. The circumstances that led him to do so seem fortuitous: self-described “Republican Christian rapper” Aspiring Mogul, aka Robert Donaldson, sent a song to Carson’s campaign manager after seeing the biopic Gifted Hands. The Carson campaign put Asp-Mo’s song on its Facebook page, and from there it was a logical step to collaborating on a rapping campaign spot that goes like this:

Vote and support Ben Carson / for our next president to be awesome. / If we want to get America back on track, / we gotta vote Ben Carson, a matter of fact.

Those are the two couplets by Aspiring Mogul that made it into the one-minute ad; the rest is sound bites—I guess samples—from Carson’s speeches. There is also a flute loop. From a certain perspective, it makes sense that Carson would release a rap ad. But from another, better perspective, it makes no sense at all.

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On my ostensibly kind face

Famous people I don't recognize get excited.

A drunk person makes everyone happy.

This morning I took my breakfast at the Press Box, as is my wont. I was talking to my server about her sister’s novel when a drunk man interrupted us, waving a beeper. He was wearing a Carhartt jacket and a human costume one size too large, which turned out to be his skin. He had the outgoing cheer of a person still up from the night before and the repetitive speech patterns of the more serious partier.

“Oh yeah?” he said, in response to the server’s claim that her sister lived in the Bay Area. “What’s this?” He waved the beeper closer. “What is this?”

“A beeper!” I said. “That’s amazing.”

It did not sound convincing to me, but he was fully convinced. He talked to me for a long time. He never felt like what he was doing was inappropriate, and when finally I rose to flee he thanked me for appraising his beeper and shook my hand.

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