Friday links! Obliviousnessery edition

We’re in the city!

“Everything that exists without my knowledge,” remarks Judge Holden near the end of Blood Meridian, “exists without my permission.” A whole bunch of stuff that we don’t know about it happening out there, and the more we learn about it, the more we extend our authority. Another way to put that is “the more we extend our responsibility,” and sometimes—as in the photo above—innocence is only possible through ignorance. That doesn’t work once you introduce a third party, of course. Once you know about someone else’s ignorance, their innocence evaporates—but then you’re offering their behavior a Holdeneque permission. It’s a damn thicket, is what it is. Today is Friday, and the internet has made it harder to remain ignorant than ever before. Won’t you expand the scope of your indulgence with me?

Something wonderful happened yesterday, and I give it my full permission: Mitch McConnell filibustered himself. He filibustered himself right in the bill—specifically, the bill to authorize President Obama to raise the debt ceiling on his own authority. Senator McConnell introduced the measure as a stalking horse, assuming that Democrats would oppose it and Republicans could then say that even the president’s own party resisted his expansion of power. Harry Reid, however, called McConnell’s bluff. He brought the bill to the Senate floor for an up-or-down vote, forcing McConnell to demand a 60-vote supermajority for a bill he himself introduced.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party continues to insist that taxes are immorally high. In fact, most Americans paid less in state, federal and local taxes in 2010 than they did 30 years ago. Taxes on upper- and middle-class households have declined significantly since 1980, and the present lamentation for our insupportable tax burden is like the misery a high school student feels at reporting for his summer job. The exception to this broad trend in tax reduction is poor people. Lower-income households pay a similar portion of their incomes in taxes to what they did 30 years ago, thanks to consumption taxes and good old wage stagnation. Maybe they should think about making some campaign contributions. As it is, our two-party system has one party for the rich and one for the middle class. The poor have television.

They also have public transportation and hip hop, which is about being rich. Here’s Jay-Z riding the subway to the last night of his show at the Barclays Center and explaining who he is to Ellen Grossman. One of these people rode the subway the next day, too. If I saw Hova on the 5 train, I would feign ignorance in the hope that he would keep talking to me. Now that Grossman knows about him, she implicitly endorses his whole catalog, including Kingdom Come. It’s a terrible burden, isn’t it, Ellen?

Meanwhile, where the subway does not go, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is moving forward with its lawsuit against Whitefish Mountain Jesus, which sits on federal land. Don’t worry, though—the six-foot statue of Christ is not a religious thing. As Kalispell city attorney Charlie Harball explains, it’s actually a memorial to the service of veterans. It’s okay to lie if you’re doing it for Jesus. Also, are we all just agreeing to ignore the whole “graven images” thing now? How many statues of Jesus must festoon our yards and ski hills until the vengeful god of Leviticus smites the crap out of us? I’m starting to think he might not be paying attention.

Here’s what exists with your permission now: Möther, the awesome Danzig tribute band featuring noted weirdo Jason McMackin on bass, is playing one last show at the Palace tonight in Missoula. If you hurry, you can still catch a plane. Or you can listen to this song over and over until death sets you free:


 You better think about it, baby.

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