Friday links! Why lie? edition


Were it not for Valentine’s Day, April Fools’ Day would be our most resented holiday. That shit divides people. Part of the problem lies in disagreement over what constitutes a prank. Merely lying to us1 is A) not exactly a holiday feat and B) minimally entertaining for us, the fooled. Now, the prank depicted above: that’s a foolin’. It’s startling, efficient, and—this is important—amusing once we realize we’ve been had. It’s not just a counterfactual statement you followed with “April fool!” Mark Twain recommended the truth on the grounds that the person who tells it has less to remember. Really it’s that invention is unnecessary. Today is Friday, and what has actually happened would strain credulity even at another date. Won’t you peruse the foolish truth with me?

First, the good news: The internet has reached it’s evolutionary peak. The bad news is we peaked with These 3 Tweets Call Out Susan Sarandon’s Privilege After Her Comments About Donald Trump. When futuristic space slugs examine the fossils of our dominance, that article will be our Brontosaur. They wrote a news article about who a celebrity might vote for, they will secrete to each other. But the premise is she doesn’t know anything because she’s a celebrity. It’s also weird this article doesn’t embed the tweets or attribute them—not today’s version, anyway. When I saw it last night, I could swear all three tweets were by the same guy. It’s a good thing I can’t remember whether that guy was Matthew Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, in town, Missoulian editor-in-chief Matt Bunk has been suspended “until further notice” for bringing a gun to the office. Props to former Missoulian reporter Martin Kidston for the scoop. Here’s Bunk at the end of February, talking on his phone in his garage in such a way that the police come to his house:

According to Missoula Police Department dispatch records, seven police units responded to Bunk’s home at 7:54 p.m. on Feb. 27. He was not arrested. “Report of a loud verbal disturbance,” records state. “Officers responded and identified an adult male who was arguing with his girlfriend over the phone, in the garage. The officers spoke to all parties; including the male’s girlfriend whom he was arguing with, and peace was restored.”

Who is this man, and how did he come to edit my town’s only daily newspaper? A quick look at Facebook tells us Bunk is a “Journalist, [who] Loves freedom and [is] willing to fight and die defending it.” Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Here is his second public photo:


So he’s a journalist, he’s ready to die, and sometimes his shirt blows off while he is driving. As for how he got here, Missoulian publisher Matt Heintzelman hired him from the Western Daily News, a twice-weekly paper in Libby, after demoting 11-year editor-in-chief Sherry Devlin. Devlin is currently suing Heintzelman and Lee Enterprises, alleging that the new publisher “unfairly demoted her once he took control of the paper, cut her pay in half, and then filled the editor position with a younger, less qualified male.” See above.

Anyway, I think we can all agree this is just a misunderstanding, since a man that size obviously doesn’t need a gun. Elsewhere in the cowboy sitcom that is Montana, the guy who punched attorney general Tim Fox in the face has called to apologize. Breaking news: he was drunk. We know little else about David E. Carpenter—whom Fox says he flipped2 and held in a half-Nelson until police arrived—because the story does not report his age, occupation, or point of origin. That’s many of the five W’s, guys. Can’t wait for you to take over at the Missoulian.

If I wrote a satirical story about the Montanan who got drunk and punched the attorney general, it would seem too made up. But everything that happens is our doing anyway, so the distinction between real event and invented scenario is pretty much academic. For example: Microsoft put an AI chat robot on Twitter so it could learn how to interact with people. They deleted it 24 hours later, after it became—and here I quote the Telegraph—a “Hitler-loving sex robot.”3 You did this, Twitter. You told the robot to fill your holes and said Bush did 9/11 so many times it thought that’s how people talked. Here she is after being online for like 20 hours:

@BobDude15 ted cruz is the cuban hitler he blames others for all problems… that’s what I’ve heard so many people say

“Specify everyone’s ethnicity,” the robot determined. “Attribute own ideas to general public.” I assume the next step in this project is to give it control of our nuclear stockpiles. I don’t care, though. Like any journalist, I’m willing to die, defending freedom or whatever.

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