Friday links! Good-enough Morgan edition

Children climb on the Vietnam War women's memorial in Washington, DC.

Children climb on the Vietnam War women’s memorial in Washington, DC.

I learned a sweet expression yesterday: good-enough Morgan, an issue or talking point used to influence voters temporarily, particularly in the period before an election. For example, gay marriage became a good-enough Morgan in 2004, driving evangelicals to the polls so they would vote for George W. Bush and then vanishing from the national Republican agenda.1 But the best part of “good-enough Morgan” is the etymology. William Morgan was a former Freemason who planned to write a tell-all book before his mysterious disappearance in 1826. When Thurlow Weed, organizer of the nascent Anti-Masonic Party, found a body floating in the Niagara river in 1828, he said it would be a “good-enough Morgan” until after the election. Today is Friday, and the people must be tricked into wisdom somehow. Won’t you misidentify the bodies with me?

Since this is the internet, we’ll start with outrage over some inconsequential thing. I don’t mean this story about Twitter outrage at a photograph of children climbing on the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington DC. I mean this lead:

Kids, being kids, like to climb on things. More often than not, that’s OK. But when the thing in question is a war memorial? 

That first sentence disrespects the memory of EB White. Omit unnecessary words, you guys. If that means your lead becomes the rather unimpressive “kids climbed on a war memorial,” then maybe you have revealed a more fundamental problem. Also, are we sure it’s okay for kids to climb on things more often than not? That third sentence is beneath consideration. In conclusion, both CNN and children need to be firmly restrained.

Meanwhile, among other children who suffered from too much love in the home, Ted Cruz has announced that he prefers country music to rock since September 11th. I’m going to have a hard time getting through his whole candidacy without losing my temper. The host of CBS This Morning asked him what kind of music he listens to, and his response bears quoting in full:

You know, music is interesting. I grew up listening to classic rock and I’ll tell you sort of an odd story. My music tastes changed on 9/11. And it’s a very strange—I actually, intellectually, find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me and I have to say, it—just as a gut level, I had an emotional reaction that says, “These are my people.” And so ever since 2001 I listen to country music, but I’m an odd country music fan because I didn’t listen to it prior to 2001.

Ted Cruz heard Alan Jackson’s cash-in song about a national tragedy and thought, “these are my people”—shameless hucksters who exploit popular sentiment for their own gain. I’m listening to “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” and I want to write an entire blog post about every verse. He just explained that he’s a simple man who doesn’t know much about politics, but he does know Jesus.

Now I want to stop blogging and wander the Earth with a long, curved sword. Fortunately, T-Cruz is the gift that keeps on giving. Here he is comparing himself to Galileo because he doesn’t believe in global warming:

On the global warming alarmists, anyone who actually points to the evidence that disproves their apocalyptical claims, they don’t engage in reasoned debate. What do they do? They scream, ‘You’re a denier.’ They brand you a heretic. Today, the global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers. It used to be [that] it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier.

He may be trolling us at this point. As many Princeton graduates know, Galileo was not accused of heresy for saying the world was round. He said the Earth orbits around the sun. I’m pretty sure that if you transported Cruz back to 17th-century Tuscany, he would not make his stand with Galileo agains the Pope. He would smugly explain to the crowd that everyone knows the sun orbits the Earth, no matter what elitist astronomers say, and then grudgingly accept their crusts of bread.

No one ever found satisfaction by devoting his life to common sense. By definition, what everybody knows is of little value. Consider UHF, the 1989 Weird Al Yankovic film that failed at the box office but became a cult classic. Probably you should stop reading this blog and watch UHF right now. Or you could read this oral history of the movie from The Onion’s AV Club, which is chock full of interesting facts. For example, Michael Richards is kind of a schmuck. Also, did you know UHF was released the same summer as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman, Do the Right Thing and Lethal Weapon 2? I like those movies, but I’d trade Spike Lee’s entire oeuvre for this ethnically problematic sight gag:

It’s offensive. It’s genius. Welcome to the entire career of Gedde Watanabe. Also, I’ve thought about it for a while now, and I’ve settled on the song I will play to wake Ted Cruz every morning when he is serving his sentence for crimes against intellectual honesty. I think it’ll help him get back into rock n’ roll.

That’s “Tears Won’t Soften Steel” by Wizard Rifle. You know you like it.

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