Friday links! Freedom is a choice edition

Russians exercise their right to Bully Face.

Russians exercise their right to Bully Face.

Here’s how they do in Moscow: Vladimir Putin puts his enemy in jail, Russians riot, and Putin lets him out again. Meanwhile, in the country that invented freedom, we can’t get into the streets for a universal domestic wiretap. It’s summer, people. Where’s the raucous spirit of American liberty that I am told could not be contained when the people who tell me that were young? Whither the groovy protest summer of ’13? Freedom is a choice, and if you expect to be free by going along with stuff you’re doing it wrong. Today is Friday. The world is full of people who do not personally care if you spend the next 12 years in a secret prison. Won’t you basically do that to yourself via the computer with me?

You have to go to Russia to see dissent silenced and people parading in the street, but if you’re willing to settle for one or the other, you could go to the Blackfeet Reservation. Blackfeet police arrested Bryon Scott Farmer after he announced plans to build a float depicting Hitler and tribal councilman/state senator/recent DUI indictee Shannon Augare. When you think about it, the parallels are eerie. “And we can tell you we are not planning anything violent or illegal so the [tribal council] will not be able to stop us,” Farmer wrote in a Facebook post shortly before the tribal council stopped him. Farmer is accused of violating Blackfeet law against subjecting council members to “threats, slanderous material or misleading information.”

Misleading information does not have to be untrue. Authorities found pre-industrial copper nails and 19th-century pigments in the stove of one Olga Dogaru, Romanian village woman, but that doesn’t mean she burned the art her son is accused of stealing from the Kunsthal Museum. Maybe it’s just a ruse to throw us off the trial of the real—okay, she probably burned them. Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu called it “barbaric” and “a crime against humanity.” No word on what Dogaru thought of jailing her son for life over some paintings.

As the rest of the internet will tell you, painstaking craft is overrated. According to io9, this video of a quarter million dominoes toppling is the most satisfying thing I’ll see all day, but it took eight days to set up. In other news of tedious events, a drop of tar pitch has finally fallen in a 69-year experiment at Trinity College Dublin. I’d be lying if I said it was as good as the domino video. Both of them capture events that none of our ancestors ever saw, the latter because they didn’t live that long and the former because they didn’t have injection-molded plastics. Our is truly an age of marvels, even if seeing all the marvels together at a rate of two per day makes half of them seem kind of lame.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to live out this remaining Friday of my 36th year as I expected to in my 15th: by going to see Weird Al Yankovic in an old-timey movie theater. I got orchestra seats, because I want him to notice me. O, for him to notice me.


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


  1. In my fourth grade music class, I lip-synced “One More Minute” for a talent show, and I discovered just now that I still remember every single fucking word of it. Pretty sure I did not understand the “self-service pump” metaphor when I was 10, though.

  2. For me it was Istanbul by They Might Be Giants. We (by we I mean a bunch of white kids at a summer camp run by a Christian group) dressed up in bathtowel turbans and bedsheet robes and danced around and lipsynched.

  3. “Freedom is a choice, and if you expect to be free by going along with stuff you’re doing it wrong.” A perfect encapsulation of the non-objective standard for freedom held by most Americans.

Leave a Comment.