Friday links! Dubious pleasures edition

So much of what makes us feel good makes us feel bad on further consideration. It’s as if we had two selves: one who experiences pleasure in the short term, on a timeline of about three seconds, and one who wants only to live abstemiously in retrospect. It so happens that self #1 is located entirely in the past, and self #2 keep scolding us for associating with him. Today is Friday, and the internet has spent all week delivering us stuff we probably should not like so much. The past is a garden of dubious pleasures.Won’t you wish you hadn’t frolicked in it with me?

The beginning, in which we take joy in people not actually volunteering at a soup kitchen: Paul Ryan and his wife stopped unannounced at a soup kitchen in Youngstown, Ohio last week, where they rolled up their sleeves and washed some clean dishes. Brian Antal, head of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, complained to the Washington Post that the VP candidate “ramrodded” his way into the soup kitchen, whose policy is not to endorse candidates or allow political photo ops:

We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations. It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors. The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing.

A spokesman for the campaign said Ryan was happy to draw attention to the SV De P Society—incredibly cynical, when you think about it, but by the time the country was distracted by pictures of scared bros at a haunted house. Clutch me, bro, for I am startled. I think my personal favorites are #9, where muay thai lessons clearly pay off, and #34, which is how I react to any loud noise and most social interactions.

It’s also how I feel about the Seattle Times, whose publishers purchased a full-page ad in their own newspaper to endorse Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. Historically, you are not supposed to do that. Evidence of bias toward one party or the other used to be poison for a newspaper, but the Times apparently believes it can get away with it. Whether that is a gross miscalculation or a testament to the disintegration of objectivity in contemporary media is a matter of opinion. I’m going to be evidence for the latter and say it’s totally the disintegration thing.

And now for pure, unadulterated schadenfreude—or literally adulterated schadenfreude, depending on how you look at it. Dinesh D’Souza, last seen implying that Barack Obama’s mother traded sex for money while she lived in Africa, has resigned the presidency of King’s College after allegations of an affair. Initially, he said that he never had any sexual contact with the woman whom he introduced as his “fiancée” at a Christian conference in South Carolina. Now he says he has been separated from his wife for the past two years and is getting a divorce. Other things Dinesh D’Souza has said include this:

So this was my theory: Obama is a civil-rights guy, but his innovation was to take the black civil-rights agenda and remove the word “black.” It was only when I began to study Obama’s own background that I realized that my theory was wrong. Obama has little or nothing to do with the civil-rights movement. His roots are in Kenya, and he is shaped far more by anti-colonialism than by anything that Martin Luther King said or did.

Based on his resignation from the Christian college over the thing he did while speaking at the Christian conference, I can only assume that D’Souza is also from Kenya, and he is less influenced by Martin Luther King than by this guy. Props to Stubble for the link. No, you should not punch people on the subway. You should especially not punch homeless people, because they are mentally ill; that’s why that man is shouting the n-word as belligerently as possible to a train full of commuters. If you have been such commuter, though, and repeatedly been used as the captive audience for one or another stranger’s fantasies, it’s hard not to admire that young man’s left hook.

But you must not! That pleasure is forbidden. Go ahead and replace it with this one:


My gift to you, for the rest of the day.


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