Friday links! Foreseeable alternatives edition

Gottfried Leibniz and his wig

Gottfried Leibniz and his wig

Gottfried Leibniz famously theorized that we are living in the best of all possible worlds—a striking assessment from a man in a wig who lived in a world where someone else invented calculus. But Leibniz never said the world was perfect. He only said there was no better alternative. In this he joins a tradition of resignation that runs from Epictetus through Nietzsche, who wrote that it was foolish to say this world was good or bad when no other one exists. Today is Friday; thank God if you want, but I have a feeling he was going to do it anyway. Won’t you ponder the alternatives with me?

First, the good news: Yesterday, every Republican in the Senate except Illinois’s Mark Kirk voted against a bill to prevent people on the terrorism watch list from buying guns. Those mothers hubbard can’t fly on planes, but they can still go to Dick’s and by a semiautomatic rifle. There’s an argument to be made against the watch list, which is compiled by no public process and not subject to judicial review. But we’re vacuuming up phone records and incinerating nephews with drones. We’re stuffing rags in people’s mouths and drowning them. Yet we won’t touch their right to bear arms carry around whatever projectile weapons we can invent? I’m calling bullshit. So is the editorial board of the New York Times, more eloquently:

The House speaker, Paul Ryan, issued his party’s weak defense of arming potential terrorism suspects on Thursday morning: “I think it’s very important to remember people have due process rights in this country, and we can’t have some government official just arbitrarily put them on a list.” Mr. Ryan’s Senate colleagues demonstrated that they are more worried about the possibility that someone might be turned away from a gun shop than shielding the public against violent criminals.

That last sentence takes the shape of empty rhetoric, but it’s filled with hot, delicious meaning. Within 24 hours of what was either domestic terrorism or an ordinary mass shooting in the workplace, senate Republicans voted not to infringe on the Second-Amendment rights of terror suspects. Kombat Kids! Find out if you’re getting enough rich fats by taking this Reading Komprehension Kwiz!

People have due process rights in this country, and we can’t have some government official just arbitrarily put them on a list of:

A) people who can’t fly

B) people who can’t buy guns

C) drone targets

D) people who typed “ISIS ideas” into Google

Here’s an ISIS idea: sharpen your just-doin’-what-the-Koran-says knife and wait for President Cruz. If anyone can turn a power vacuum in the Middle East into World War III, it’s him. People just don’t like the guy. For example, Patricia Murphy got ahold of his college roommate. Craig Mazin reports that the 17 year-old Cruz brought a book whose Spanish title translated to Was Karl Marx a Satanist? “Who is this person?” he thought. I submit the book said more about his roommate’s dad than his roommate, but whatever. Mazin’s mind is made up:

I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone. I would rather pick somebody from the phone book.

If you’re a college freshman and need something to think about to prevent masturbation, imagine your roommate becomes president of the United States. What must Cruz have done for his freshman roommate to speak this way even after he had become a senator? The worst thing my freshman roommate ever did was urinate in the sink. But that is unforgivable. Just kidding, Chad. You were cool.

You know who else Ted Cruz makes uncomfortable? Ted Cruz’s mother. The Cruz campaign posted several hours of TC B-roll on YouTube yesterday: weird-sounding, minimally edited footage of the candidate hanging out with his wife or another of his close acquaintances, like his mother:

Did Ted Cruz make a video of himself lying to his mother? “You’re very natural,” he says. No member of the Cruz family has been natural since mankind descended from trees.

Meanwhile, in music journalism, Yahoo! and Mic inadvertently published an unfilled template review of the new Rihanna album, scheduled for release a few weeks from now. Here’s what they know about Anti without having, you know, heard it:

Anti review

I think I speak for all of us when I express relief that we can expect an even edgier, freer Rihanna. The rounded, uptight Rihanna of yesteryear is gone, and the music review has become an obsolete form, like the villanelle. I write ’em, though!

Check out the greatest non-Hawkeye football player in the nation:

Props to A. Ron Galbraith for the link. Man, I wish I played sorority flag football. But perhaps in that world, rain falls upward from the ground and toast butters us. I guess I’ll have to content myself with watching more of these.

Combat! blog is free. Why not share it?
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Reddit

Leave a Comment.