Berniebro, meet Person-Guy

The original Berniebro

The original Berniebro

Over the weekend, I read this essay in the Atlantic titled Here Comes the Berniebro, which suggests Bernie Sanders supporters are a type by adding the word “bro” to them. Just look at how the Berniebro behaves:

The Berniebro is posting a video on his Facebook wall: You really have to watch this. Bernie Sanders says things that no other candidate would ever consider. These are real policy proposals that just might change the country.

The Berniebro asks what you thought of the first Democratic debate, then interrupts to say that you shouldn’t confuse Clinton’s soundbites for actual substance. By the way, the Berniebro adds, he was really impressed with Bernie.

That fucking bro. That these are pretty normal and unobjectionable behaviors for the supporters of a political candidate doesn’t really matter, because the Berniebro is clearly a bro. It’s right in the name of the kind of person he is. It occurred to me after I read this humorous satirical sarcastic straw man essay that “bro” is the new “hipster”: it means “someone who is not you or me.”

I had a whole blog planned about the fashionable rhetorical practice of othering someone like you by making them into a type. It’s fiendishly effective, because they’re a category, while you and the reader are individuals. But Sam Kriss beat me to it with this weird, pleasing Portrait of the Person-Guy. You should read it. It’s probably just as well Kriss executed this idea before I could, because I have one million things to do before the Combat! blog offices temporarily relocate to Stubble’s historic New York futon tomorrow. If I can throw up there, I’ll throw up everywhere, as the song says.

The President should not dignify ISIS by calling it “evil”

A mural decrying the Great Satan on the former US embassy in Tehran. Photo by John Kavanaugh

A mural decrying the Great Satan on the former US embassy in Tehran—photo by John Kavanaugh

Yesterday on Air Force One, the president condemned the ISIS beheading of aid worker Peter Kassig, whom Obama said was “taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group.” I agree that beheading aid workers is awful, and that ISIS is perhaps the most reprehensible pack of hypocrites to emerge from a region famous for producing them. But it is a mistake to call them or their acts “pure evil.” Everything about how ISIS presents itself suggests that they want to operate on the continuum of good and evil, ideally with the west at the other end. It’s their best hope of transcending what they are: a crime syndicate masquerading as a state masquerading as a religious movement.

Continue reading

Ad says Black Friday protestors are paid, lazy millennials


The commercial above was produced by Worker Center Watch, a website registered to Parquet Public Affairs, a lobbying and PR firm led by Joseph Kefauver. Kefauver is the former president of public relations for Walmart and the former government relations director for Darden Restaurants, which owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Pretty much everything good and profitable in America has been publicly related by Kefauver, and yet his clients are the objects of massive protests. It doesn’t make sense. Walmart served 22 million customers on Thanksgiving Day, so Americans obviously support the idea of giving people who worked that night $8.25 an hour. The only explanation is that unions are paying lazy kids with great hair to protest.

Continue reading

Was Bob Dylan racist in Rolling Stone?

Bob Dylan prepares to say "sieg heil" in a hilariously high voice.

Bob Dylan prepares to say “sieg heil” in a hilariously high voice.

As white people, it’s our job to determine what is racist and what is not, since everyone else is biased. Fortunately racism is mostly over, so now it’s a matter of clearing up the fine points. For example: Bob Dylan is being investigated for inciting racial hatred in France as a result of comments he made in a Rolling Stone interview last year. But do the charges have any merit? Here’s some real talk from the man who wrote “Blowing in the Wind”:

If you’ve got slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.

A Croatian community organization says Dylan’s remark was racist against Croats. But was it merely stupid?

Continue reading

How funny does satire have to be?

Jonathan Swift: hilarious

Jonathan Swift: hilarious

A. Ron Galbraith recently brought to my attention this post in Politico arguing that The Daily Currant is not funny. You may have heard of The Daily Currant in connection with this mistake by the Drudge Report, or possibly this one by the Washington Post. According to founder and editor Daniel Barkeley, the Currant produces a “style of satire [that] is as old as literature itself, but hasn’t recently been applied to news articles.” Apparently one of the satirical conceits over at the Currant is that The Onion doesn’t exist, but that is orthogonal to our discussion. Barkeley’s position is that several of the Currant’s satires have been mistaken for news because what he’s doing is so new. At Politco, Dylan Byers’s argument is that Currant articles keep being taken for real because they aren’t funny. Which brings us to an important question: how funny does satire have to be?

Continue reading