Friday links! Gather your armies edition

Pebble Beach golf course. I can't believe it took two years for that one to occur to me.

It is suddenly, finally summer in Missoula, and after three consecutive days of 65+ temperatures I can’t remember there ever having been a winter.* Here we find yet another metaphor for the present age, when the internet—which, as the New York Times keeps reminding me, is changing everything—allows us to live in customized mental landscapes whose consistency elides everything else. From my perspective, this is awesome. I get to sit in my apartment, watching Frisky Dingo and reading about existentialism, weird punk bands and money policy, and rarely am I reminded of the existence of, say, Dave & Buster’s. Everyone once in a while, though, one catches a glimpse of another world, similar to one’s own yet horrifyingly different, and like a character in an HP Lovecraft story, one  has no choice but to go insane. Fortunately, tomorrow is Saturday. In consideration of a weekend in which you hopefully won’t have to judge true from false or right from wrong, Combat! presents glimpses of worlds baffling in their grotesquerie. You may just find the view…unsettling.

First, news from everybody’s favorite alternate universe: North Korea. In the first international sporting event televised live in the country, the World Cup team of the Democratic People’s Republic lost 7-0 to Portugal. Slate, which is working to win back my trust after a series of articles designed around obvious answers to rhetorical questions, ran this great speculation on how the country’s state-run media would cover the game. Here’s a quote from the Central News Agency’s coverage of the previous game against Brazil: “At about the 88th minute of the match Jong Tae Se headed the ball before passing it to Ji Yun Nam who powerfully kicked it into the rival’s goalmouth, scoring a goal.” Take that, rival goalmouth. While there has been some speculation that certain members of the DPRK team will be executed after Monday’s loss, the consensus of the international press is that they probably won’t.

Don’t watch this video if you’ve just had surgery to remove the confusion lines from around your mouth:


That’s Adam Hood, a man who used to be gay and is now, thanks to the curative power of god/uncontrollable self-loathing, totally, completely, gooch-crackingly straight. Don’t worry: commenters on YouTube have already pointed out his ascot. While I appreciate the honesty implicit in Hood’s insistence that homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says it is, he seems to maybe not be bringing the same clear-eyed inquiry to whether it’s a choice. Also, if you are Adam Hood’s father—I assume either Lance or Bruce Hood—call home.

The power of the inquisitive mind must know no limits, even if the conclusions at which it arrives prove unpleasant. Perhaps that’s why Robin of Berkeley, a psychotherapist writing for the ironically named American Thinker, took it upon herself to diagnose the President’s obvious mental illness. Since she’s a trained mental health professional, Robin acknowledges that an assessment at such long range “presents a serious diagnostic challenge,” since “we know so little about the facts of his life. Still, she is able to discern that the President probably has a narcissistic personality disorder, complicated by a possible head injury and years of drug abuse. He also could have Asperger’s Syndrome, and—”while I can’t prove it”—it seems likely that his father sexually abused him. I’m all for the absolute freedom of the press, but do we still have libel laws in this country? If you have a second and you want to experience a concentrated burst of schadenfreude, check out some of Robin’s other work, including the masterfully enraging Why I Am Enlarging My Carbon Footprint.

That kind of talk—the President is a monomaniac, the US government has descended into tyranny, the lowest tax rate in ten years is an unsustainable burden—is, thankfully, confined to the fringes of American political discourse. By fringes, I of course mean Republican congressional candidates. The following video comes from Rick Barber, who A) is currently embroiled in a run-off for the Republican nomination for Alabama’s 2nd District, and B) has clearly learned something from Dale Peterson. Editor’s note: despite Barber’s earnest explanation to the reanimated corpse of George Washington, the IRS is not allowed to increase taxes.


I’m all for absolute freedom of speech, but do we still have sedition laws in this country? Gather your armies, you guys. You do have armies, right?

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  1. One question I have about this Robin of Berkeley story is how much the medical and mental health professions do about wildly unethical political exploitation of one’s license to practice. One would think that they wouldn’t want someone saying that, in her professional opinion as a board-certified psychotherapist, the President of the United States is a narcissistic scatter-brained cokehead and victim of childhood molestation. Not to overreact, but I tend to think that this is exactly the kind of thing (offering politically motivated diagnoses of people they’ve never met) that psychiatric professionals should be discouraged from doing by the full force of the licensing authorities and the law.

    But of course this person will not be punished in any way. I’m looking forward to her appearance on Fox News.

  2. I wondered the same thing, Evan, and I suspect it’s part of why she’s not writing under her real name. Based on what I read in some of her other articles, her politics is a big part of her practice—q.v. the carbon footprint article, in which she explains to a patient who feels enormous guilt her role in the degradation of the environment that she is the victim of liberal brainwashing. I’m no shrink, but I feel like such a person might have some neurosis not related to The Liberal Media.

  3. In light of that second video, I propose the epistemological term “Hood’s Razor” to describe the process by which, for example, one examines the following data:

    A) I was taking a lot of drugs.
    B) I had been involuntarily committed to a public mental hospital.
    C) I experienced a sudden sense of calm,

    and concludes that D) I was speaking directly to God, who wanted me to break up with my boyfriend.

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