Friday links! Perfectly cromulent words edition


The image above comes to us from the Frinkiac, a searchable database of the first 15 seasons of The Simpsons that matches lines of dialogue with frames from the episodes in which they appear. I think we can agree it’s the best thing that ever happened to Combat! blog, except for maybe Sarah Palin. We live in a golden age of memes, some of them pure and good but others products of our hideously mutual delusions. Today is Friday, and the internet is full of perfectly cromulent words. Won’t you remember a time before you moved to Springfield with me?

First, the good news: Thanks to this Vox explainer, you can finally understand the nuanced and difficult concept of the Bernie bro. The bad news is it remains either made up or totally without meaning, depending on how you look at it. The sprawling Bernie bro narrative still doesn’t include any screenshot examples of Bernie bro harassment, but Vox solves that problem with ace reporting. “It’s definitely a real thing that happens,” Dara Lind writes. She goes on to describe people arguing with political talk on social media—often rudely!—as a phenomenon somehow particular to supporters of Bernie Sanders. You will know the Bernie Bro by such universal behavior as ad hominem arguments and the online disinhibition effect. It also seems like a way to equate liking Hillary Clinton with the struggles of oppressed groups:

Some Sanders supporters are using the same tactics of obstructionism and harassment that women and people of color have to put up with on the internet all the time. And as progressives, they are supposed to be better than that.

The DMV uses the same tactics to register cars that the Nazis used to register Jews. Children use the same tactics to hit a piñata that police used on protestors in Tiananmen Square.

Meanwhile, at the New Yorker, Alexandra Schwartz asks, Should Millennials Get Over Bernie Sanders? “Get over it” is the most infuriating phrase in the English language. It basically demands that you stop caring about whatever you care about and adopt the opinion of the speaker. Schwartz’s argument is contradictory and convoluted in too many ways to enumerate here. Fortunately, Corey Robin has explained it in economic terms. It’s a masterful takedown, because it’s rooted in the facts the Bernie bro narrative ignore. The meaningful difference between Sanders and Clinton isn’t gender. It’s policy. And for some reason, free college and redistributive taxation resonate with young people:

This past year alone, the unemployment rate among 16-24 year-old’s has toggled between 9 and 19%. Employment rates for 25-54 year-old’s have yet to recover to their pre-recession levels. Nearly 70% of college graduates carry, on average, a student loan debt of $29,000.

At the risk of being a dick, Schwartz went to Brearley, a private K-12 school whose tuition is $43,000 a year. Then she went to Yale and now, in her late twenties, reports for the New Yorker from Paris.  Perhaps she sees the differences between Sanders and Clinton as primarily aesthetic because she is not subject to the same money problems as most Americans her age.

Meanwhile, in another world unlike our own, the entire staff of Ben Carson’s New Hampshire super PAC has quit to join the Cruz campaign. You see what happens when you go home to change clothes? Also, if news outlets are openly identifying an organization as “the Ben Carson super PAC,” maybe the barriers to coordination described in Citizens United v. FEC are not so sturdy as the Supreme Court imagined. Best of luck to Dr. Carson in his future endeavors as Donald Trump’s running mate.

Did you know that I took up fencing? It’s extremely fun, and for those of us who suffered eight months of positional vertigo, it involves relatively little head movement. You can also use it to settle disputes. Ben al-Fowlkes sent me this story about the last duel fought in Europe. In 1967, Gaston Defferre, mayor of Marseilles and a socialist candidate for president, was addressing French parliament when he noticed Rene Ribiere wasn’t paying attention. Defferre told him to shut up, and Ribiere challenged him to a duel. The older Defferre proposed dull épées, but Ribiere insisted on sharp ones and was bloodied twice for his troubles.

The range gets longer when they’re sharp, doesn’t it? It’s probably good neither fencer tries to lunge forward and touch the other in the neck here, but it is not quite so exciting as sport fencing, when everybody is confident they will not, you know, die.

Pretty boss move by Trevejo to wear his watch.

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