Friday links! Hardships of the rich edition

From Fyre Festival, a $12,000 concert in the Bahamas that is not going as planned

Experts from Dave Barry to Naven R. Johnson’s grandmother agree that it is better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick. But is being rich really such a sweet deal? Wages have stagnated for the last four decades as corporate profits climbed to all-time highs, so it seems like now is a great time to own things. But that’s a narrow perspective. If you weren’t so wrapped up in working all day, you’d see that the rich are suffering terribly. They never get any sympathy for it, either, what with frothy-mouthed socialism being so popular lately. All this talk about fairness and equality serves only to divide us. Today is Friday, and we all bleed the same shade of Nantucket red. Won’t you pity the masters with me?

Continue reading

Friday links! Best of all possible worlds edition

Mike Pence experiences God’s plan in Korea

Every time I get down about world events—like the United States elects a reality TV star to be its president instead of addressing historic inequality and the threat of environmental collapse, or whatever—I remember that we live in the best of all possible worlds. How could it be otherwise? As we know from reading the philosopher Huckabee, God controls everything. God is also perfect and loves us, so this must be the best world He could arrange. Sure, it would be nice if Noah Baumbach had Lena Dunham’s career instead of her, but then some kid in Chile would fall in love with his sister or something. Trust us—this is as good as it can get. Today is Friday, and non-deities shouldn’t expect so much. Won’t you reconcile yourself to this world with me?

Continue reading

Friday links! Courtesy of the red, white and blue edition

Toby Keith, who did not serve in the military, and his dog tags

Did you hear? President Trump dropped the MOAB on Afghanistan, killing 36 ISIS fighters and presumably ending our 15-year war. “MOAB” stands for “mother of all bombs.” The 11-ton weapon loves all other bombs and just wants them to be happy, and even though it has different expectations for each bomb, it is behind every single one of them 100 percent. You know who else loves bombs? Fox and Friends. Here’s the video they put together for yesterday’s strike:

“The video is black and white,” Ainsley Earhardt says, “but that is what freedom looks like. That’s the red, white and blue.” It’s true that a tyrant could never bomb anyone. Freedom isn’t life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. It’s a giant explosion seen from 30,000 feet. It’s Geraldo Rivera and his Wario mustache saying that “one of my favorite things, in the sixteen years I’ve been here at Fox News, is watching bombs drop on bad guys.” Today is Friday, and the most comfortable people in the world love to watch other people get bombed. Won’t you experience hot, searing freedom with me?

Continue reading

Friday links! Two sides to every story edition

It’s funny how the controversies in American history invariably have two sides. Abolition versus slavery. Gold standard versus free silver. Stalwarts versus Mugwumps. It makes sense that our two-party system would lend itself to such dualities, but what if we ever ran into an issue that had more than two sides? For example, what if it were possible to believe these two contradictory statements?

  1. Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian rebels was an unconscionable violation of both international and moral law.
  2. United States military intervention to remove him would not improve the lives of the Syrian people.

Obviously, this is just a thought experiment. You’re either against Assad or against military strikes; you’re for intervention or for chemical weapons. But what if there were some rupture in the fabric of American discourse that created a third dimension of argument? Come to think of it, what if there were a second political party? Today is Friday, and such are the flights of a fanciful mind: idle, useless, bound for a sharp reunion with the earth. Won’t you choose a side with me?

Continue reading

Friday links! Stop snitching edition


It is possible to live ethically within a civil society and still have an adversarial relationship with the law. At certain times, it’s necessary. As a weak and fearful decent person, I don’t engage in any illegal activities that rise to the level of felonies. I may exceed the speed limit occasionally, and curiosity may have led me to try cocaine ten or twenty times, but I’m not out there violating the social contract. Yet neither am I calling the police. When my neighbor parks across my driveway, I do as decent people do and complain about it on Twitter. Were I to become aware of some criminal conspiracy, I would keep it to myself. You know what conspiracy really extorts people and disrupts their lives? The criminal justice system—and we shouldn’t be complicit in it. Today is Friday, and people need to stop snitching. Won’t you see something and say nothing with me?

Continue reading