Friday links! Boats against the current edition

No time to establish an expansive tone, you guys: someone has produced a new “intermediate”-level edition of The Great Gatsby for use in high schools. The Macmillan Reader Gatsby uses a manageable 1,600 words—although it repeats some of them—and it does not include Fitzgerald’s original ending, which goes:

And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning—-So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Pretty good, right? But not nearly as appropriate for a high school student as Margaret Tarner’s version:

Gatsby had believed in his dream. He had followed it and nearly made it come true. Everybody has a dream. And, like Gatsby, we must all follow our dream wherever it takes us. Some unpleasant people became part of Gatsby’s dream. But he cannot be blamed for that. Gatsby was a success, in the end, wasn’t he?

Don’t put it into words. Focus your hate through the nearest lens available: your eyes. Look at the picture of Chuck Grassley (R–IA) above until your whole life aligns itself behind a single point: it’s Friday. And this country has got to stop retarding itself.

And where did I get this extremely unflattering portrait of Chuck Grassley deciding whether Winston should get the rats? Why, from the Huffington Post, of course, which edges even closer to Fox Newsery with this article about how the 14th Amendment might allow us all to ignore the debt ceiling. But first, a little context. Take it away, typo-named Tyler Kingkade and perfectly named Ryan Grim:

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Thursday that the Constitution may trump the debt ceiling, allowing the administration a way out of the default impasse. Negotiators are considering gutting the social safety net in exchange for a vote to lift the debt ceiling. Grassley, in a conference call with local reporters, said that there may be another way out.

Now that is some impartial reporting, right there. Why clog up your sentences with two or three instances of possible cuts when you can just say “gutting the social safety net?” Also, a net is one of the few things you cannot gut. I ain’t saying that shoddy language not only reflects but encourages shoddy thought, though. Just listen to United States Senator Chuck Grassley:

There’s one thing that hasn’t been talked about yet, and I haven’t checked on the constitutionality of it—and I read the Constitution, but I don’t remember reading this—but in the 14th amendment, there’s something that says something about the debt of the United States government shall be honored.

God dammit Grassley, would it kill you to read the 14th Amendment real quick before speculating to reporters about what it might mean? Also, I’m not sure the entire debt ceiling debate hinges on whether we are constitutionally forbidden from ignoring the limits we have placed on our own spending. It’s possible that we should continue to treat money as real just out of general principle.

But what’s real, anyway? Everything in the Bible—next question, please. In the ongoing scientific pursuit that is mapping the inside of Michele Bachmann’s head, plenty of researchers are doing valuable work independently of Combat! blog. Over at MinnPost, Shawn Lawrence Otto—a man with the heretofore-thought-impossible three first names—explains the foundational importance of evolution to Christianism and, ironically, biology. As Ben Fowlkes said when he sent me the link, it’s worth it for the cartoon alone. Once you believe that Satan put fossils in the ground to fool you, you can believe anything. And all you have to trade is your ability to, you know, deduce anything.

Biblical literalism is a religion of ignorance, but it’s also so much more than that. For example, it’s a great way to meet people and force them to have babies. In Mississippi, a 15 year-old girl has been charged with “depraved-heart murder” after authorities discovered she was habitually using cocaine at the time of her miscarriage. She now faces a mandatory life sentence. If there’s a better expression of the Culture of Life than sentencing a teenage coke addict to spend her life in prison for losing her baby, then I am an increasingly frustrated person. Fuck you, Mississippi, creation science, Chuck Grassley and Margaret Tarner. Making people dumber doesn’t just get you money and power; there’s a point where it may have some effect on our national fortunes, to say nothing of our teenage girls.

Highest-wattage hate laser ever. Before I depraved-heart murder everyone, though, I have to re-listen to the new Fucked Up album, David Comes to Life. Is it extremely abrasive and virtually impenetrable to anyone who has not logged a few thousand hours listening to hardcore? Yes. Is it a masterful celebration of the human spirit, even in its throes of rage? Oh yeah:


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  1. Nice post. The Otto article is worth reading. Song was more accessible than I expected, too.

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