Friday links roundup! Shirtless Russian cowboy edition

Go ahead and pleasure yourself. He already has video of you doing that, anyway.

Vladimir Putin riding a horse with no shirt on for some reason. Go ahead and pleasure yourself. He already has video of you doing that, anyway.

It’s Friday, and I am sick of being sad about health care reform. If I had insurance, I could get some Lexapro and everything would be, or at least appear to be, awesome.* As it is, I have to rely on the poor man’s antidepressant: reading. Reading is totally lame, but it’s better than the poor man’s health insurance reform: getting a job. If you’re sick of working but also can’t leave your job because it means you’ll go bankrupt if you get appendicitis, you’re in luck. Combat! blog’s Friday link roundup is here to help you while away the hours during your soul-deadening simulacrum of meaningful work. God, I love Friday.

Do you read Frank Rich religiously, by which I mean once a week on Sunday mornings with a vague sense of guilt? You should, because he’s constantly reminding us of rad conceptual tools like corporatism. Totally not Putin-like fascist dictator Benito Mussolini—who posed on horseback a lot, by the way—introduced modern corporatism in the thirties, when a patriotic Italy was ready to listen to really terrible ideas again. The term is now used as a catchall to describe any system characterized by close cooperation between government and industry, in which privately-owned businesses become the most influential entities in a totalizing economic culture. Don’t worry, though; that could never happen here.

Of course, helpless cogs in the corporate-government money machine still get health insurance. Those of us who spend all day writing short essays about how great brokered deposits are under current conditions might be tempted to support the transition to a totalitarian regime, simply to acquire a patron for our art. Eric Gibson over at the Wall Street Journal—who knows something about totalitarian regimes—reminds us that dictator-mandated art tends to, um, suck. He coins the phrase “totalitarian kitsch” to describe socialist realism, enormous statues of crossed swords in Iraq, and Kim Jong Il’s enormous mural of crashing oceanic waves not crushing doves. Sartre defined kitsch as “popular prejudices passed off as profound truths,” which is why he got to have sex with French beatniks and you have to work in an office. Gibson gives us a less eloquent but more systematic definition via his description of socialist realism: universally and easily understandable, and possessed of a clear didactic purpose. That could never happen here, either.

Fortunately, the American people are too smart to settle for such claptrap. After all, we’re a nation of clear-eyed realists—the people who invented the automobile and the atomic bomb, but wisely stopped before inventing the atomic bombmobile. Of course, 44% of us believe that God created human beings, exactly as we are now, some time in the last 10,000 years. But those are the same 44% of Americans who voted for George Bush, plus the five percent voting machine error and the three hundred-millionths of one percent that declared him the winner. The educated left is still committed to reason and actual knowledge, right? Oh.

In such dark times as these, wise men and women heed the words of Meghan McCain. Recently, Michelle Malkin was asked to name one conservative commentator who should “shut up,” and she chose Me-Mac. Fortunately, you can’t tell Meghan McCain what to do, because A) she believes in herself and B) her dad ran for President, so just clean the pool and shut up. Good thing, too, because without her we’d miss out on gems like this: “Malkin has the No. 1 book on The New York Times bestseller hardcover nonfiction list, but I have nearly twice as many Twitter followers as she does.” I am proud to number myself among them. And who’s Michelle Malkin? A total bitch.

If you’ve gotten this far, you are surely among Combat! blog’s most loyal readers. Chances are, you’re one of the people responsible for us getting 141 unique visitors on Tuesday, 504(!) on Wednesday, and 101 yesterday. All three of these totals exceed my readership goal for the summer, and I know it’s thanks to your efforts because I haven’t been working very hard. The transition to WordPress continues, but it looks like it’s been worth it. Keep it up. Hit that ShareThis button, tell your friends, and you will be repaid with slower load times and Google AdSense ads. Thanks, guys.

* And hey, if only some commenter would tell me where I could get Welbutrin, huh? On a related note, you have to register to post comments now.

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