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?

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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?

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Friday links! Stop snitching edition

Whites

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?

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Friday links! Extremely smart edition

A Smart Car

Statistically, the smartest human being who ever lived probably couldn’t read. Anatomically modern humans appeared about 200,000 years ago, meaning that for 95% of human history, written language didn’t even exist. The smartest human might easily have been born before spoken language. Perhaps she died of cholera in the 18th century, when the most brilliant minds of the western hemisphere agreed on the miasma theory of disease. Or maybe she lived in Kansas circa 1906, when only 6 percent of Americans graduated from high school. Perhaps she made terrible decisions about her life, routinely burned her hand while cooking, tripped over the threshold on her way out the door each morning and was just preternaturally good at playing the harpsichord. Today is Friday, and “smart” is a term so vague and relative as to bear no meaning. Won’t you look out for what’s dumb with me?

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Friday links! Too much movie make your heart weak edition

UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov and his hat

I went this whole winter without getting sick but now, in the last month, I find my throat is scratchy and my skin hurts. Obviously, I’m not sick. That would mar my perfect record. And I’m fencing in Bozeman tomorrow, so regardless of the condition of my immune system, I am by definition healthy enough to poke and get poked with car antennas. The trick is to ignore the feedback coming from your body. It’s an illusion, as any religion will tell you. Just don’t think about all the people you know who have died, and all the depictions of people sickened unto death that you have seen in movies. Today is Friday, and too much movie make your heart weak. Won’t you push through with me?

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