I don’t know about you, but I would like to be liked. I may not be very good at it, but in my interpersonal relations I try to pander to others as much as possible. Shame and sycophancy are my watchwords. The panicked need to feel that other people like me—even when I do not like them—exerts a serious check on my behavior. Imagine how free I would be if everyone hated me. If there were no hope that anyone who knew me could possibly like me, I could act however I pleased, the way death row inmates are always filling balloons with their own feces. If I were a public jerk instead of a secret asshole, I could live a life of rare liberty, saying and doing whatever I pleased with no regard for decency or the feelings of others. Today is Friday, and our link roundup contains a bunch of people like that.
Remember when CNN could credibly claim that they were the “most trusted name in news?” They still do that, which reveals a subjective flaw in the adverb credibly. Yesterday, after hearing the first few sentences of Justice Roberts’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, CNN erroneously reported that the law had been struck down. Fox News did the same thing. I appreciate these networks’ efforts to be the first to report what happens, but maybe they should step back and focus on knowing what’s happening first. Maybe—and this is crazy now—having to wait until 9am and 6pm to know the news each day did not completely hobble our society. I don’t remember.
You think that 24-hour news is a terrible pox on our nation, but then Mose sends you a news article about a country with real problems. Zimbabwe has Robert Mugabe, and Robert Mugabe has a flamboyant disregard for human life. On Sunday, his presidential motorcade hit a commuter bus, killing one passenger and injuring fifteen. It was the second fatality his motorcade has caused in three weeks. In order to smooth things over, ZANU-PF apologized on Twitter:
It was a minor crash& we regret death of few who died.
Articles count, kids. If you do not follow ZANU-PF on Twitter but love surreal horror, do yourself a favor.
And now the opposite of Zimbabwe: Lena Dunham’s imagination. Her HBO show Girls has drawn criticism for depicting a New York City where almost everyone is white. That sucks, but it’s not like we haven’t seen Friends. My objection to Girls is that it depicts a New York City where almost everyone has parents who pay for her apartment. It’s real life in the city as experienced by young people who have money but no jobs. Those of us who experienced New York as the place where you have a job but no money hate those fictional young people, which makes it easier to hate their creator. Especially when she says stuff like this:
I always thought the saddest feeling in life is when you’re dancing in a really joyful way and then you hit your head on something. It’s sad and embarrassing and I feel like Hannah’s entire life is like dancing and then hitting her head on something and so she’s really making an effort and I think the fact that I’m always really comforted by the fact that Marnie loves her, by their connection.
I submit that the problem with Girls is that the saddest thing that can happen to anyone is hitting her head while dancing. Fam-ous par-ents—clap clap clapclapclap.
Real life isn’t like that. The saddest thing that can happen to a real person with famous parents is getting pregnant at seventeen, waiting four years, then telling the national news media that you’re saving yourself for marriage. I know that many people regard the New York Daily News as an even crappier New York Post, but at least the News periodically turns out sentences like these:
“Since I have this platform, I want to use it for good,” the former “Dancing With the Stars” finalist explains. “I want to let girls know that this isn’t ideal, this isn’t fun, this isn’t easy.”
Let Bristol Palin be a lesson to you: if you get pregnant in high school, you will wind up dancing with celebrities on television. Learn from her experience: be rich and white. At least she didn’t hit her head.