Friday links! Actually, I’m crazy edition

Scientists* estimate that approximately one out of every three people is crazy, yet we go about our daily business as if our governmental officials, beloved celebrities and attractive dinner dates were entirely sensible and calm. It’s not until they send us all pictures of their genitals that we begin to suspect the truth: pretty much everyone is a ticking time bomb, just waiting for the right traffic event or interview question to explode into ratfuck insanity. As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend, I thought we might celebrate those Americans who spontaneously shoot up in the air and make a terrible thunder/flash of light before falling to the ground a burnt stick. It’s Friday, several people previously believed to be reliable have gone all hoopy on us, and I am three deadlines away from a psychotic break with reality myself. Won’t you join me?

First, you should know that a justice of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court has accused another justice of choking her during an argument in chambers, and even though the other supreme court justices were in the room, they cannot agree on whether it actually happened. Seriously. Also, guess which bill they were arguing about? According to justice Ann Bradley, justice David Prosser became infuriated when she ordered him out of her office, and he seized her neck with both hands. According to Prosser, Bradley charged him and he acted in self-defense. First of all, kids: the best defense against a charging opponent is A) a sprawl, if your opponent is attempting to grab your legs, or B) to step right and counter right hook, if your opponent remains standing. You’re not just going to grab their neck and somehow stop them in mid-charge, unless they are, you know, a woman. Prosser’s claim almost seems plausible, until you read the following sentences:

In March [Prosser] acknowledged that he called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy” her in a meeting…”I probably overreacted,” Prosser said, “but I think it was entirely warranted.¬†They [Abrahamson and Bradley] are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements.”

I would usually declare the argument “the person I choked is a master of goading people” the most disingenuous rationale of the week, but this week it’s like third. Edging it out is Newt Gingrich’s explanation for why his entire campaign staff quit a couple of weeks ago: his ideas are too amazing. “Philosophically, I am very different from normal politicians, and normal consultants found that very hard to deal with,” Gingrich told the Atlanta Press Club. “We have big ideas. I just think that’s part of how you campaign. You talk to the American people about big things.” The former representative went on to compare himself to Ronald Reagan, who also lost 13 staffers en route to his electoral victory in 1980. It was a perfect analogy, except people liked Reagan.

Forty-eight hours ago, people had no opinion whatsoever about Time editor and MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin. Then he called the President of the United States “a dick” on Morning Joe and, 30 seconds later, began apologizing. He should have said that it was because he had bigger ideas than normal analysts, but instead he called his own remark “unacceptable” and praised MSNBC for suspending him. The President took swift action, demanding to know who Mark Halperin was before ordering the CIA to mail Halperin several aerial photographs of his house. Then he went back to being a dick about issues ranging from the federal debt ceiling to the ongoing recession to both land wars in Asia.

See, if you’re going to call the President a dick, you have to do it over and over again so that people realize how funny it is. That’s called “satire,” and it’s presumably the rationale behind Stephen Colbert’s SuperPAC, which the FEC approved yesterday. Thanks to Citizens United v. FEC, Colbert can now solicit and spend unlimited quantities of money, plus harness the resources of his parent company, Viacom. You might remember Viacom from inventing MTV. Anyway, if a bunch of borderline racists with Final Cut can use their SuperPAC to make this, imagine what Stephen Colbert can do with a multibillion-dollar media conglomerate. Will it highlight the absurdity of the Supreme Court decision that made such behavior possible? Yes, probably. Will it inexplicably rely on puns? See previous answer.

I don’t know about you, but my dome is whirling from all this insanity. What I need is a stiff dose of calculated normalcy to even me out. Fortunately, the Miss USA Pageant has released footage of its contestants discussing whether evolution should be taught in schools. It’s like one of those videos of a polar ice shelf collapsing, except the ice is America’s tradition of secular inquiry:


Ahhhh. So pretty.

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  1. Creationtism — n. — a portmanteau of evolution and creationism, unintentionally coined by Miss Hawaii 2011, that more or less encapsulates 49 of 51 Miss America contestants’ views on teaching evolution — that maybe it should be sprinkled in a little bit, with a good dose of the two completely different creation stories from the Old Testament.

    Here’s to letting the kids decide for themselves!

  2. Holy shit, I studied evolution in a science classroom. Turns out it’s just a consumer decision which we are all equally entitled to make. Maybe I believe in evolution today? Maybe it falls out of popularity and I just decide to be a creationist the next day. I’ll be prepared to do that if my school administrators give me both “sides” of the “story.”

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