Friday links! Second best team in Tampa edition

The Republican National Convention has blown out of Tampa with a whoosh of salt air, leaving behind it only litter and fact checkers. By all accounts, it was a fine affair that Combat! blog covered not at all. I don’t go in for political kabuki. I only like political Noh, on which the RNC verged several times. A bunch of crazy stuff happened in Florida this week, and none of it was true. Super PAC and campaign operatives stayed in the same hotel, not coordinating at all. Paul Ryan blamed Obama for a bunch of stuff that happened before he was president, and Clint Eastwood did a ventriloquist act with no dummy. Also, a Montana man was killed while impersonating Bigfoot, in what for now seems to be an unrelated story. At this point, though, I woud believe anything.

Nicholas Confessore has written perhaps the laziest lead in the history of the New York Times, but he is probably very tired. The important thing is that he continues to draw attention to the obvious collusion between Super PACs and the campaigns they support, despite the Supreme Court’s insistence on the contrary. Restore Our Future was founded by three former Romney aides. Marco Rubio and other prominent Republican officeholders attended a private breakfast organized by the PAC, and so did a senior advisor to the Romney campaign in Tennessee. As they were leaving, a Restore Our Future aide noticed reporters outside and reminded guests to hide their nametags under their jackets. “Be sure to hide your identity from the press” is pretty much the motto of campaign finance, at this point.

Meanwhile, in public, Paul Ryan lied his ass off. Even Fox News called his speech “deceiving.” I will insert a filler sentence so you have time to let that sink in: we must work to secure a bright future for our children. A commentator for Fox Fucking News called Ryan dishonest. That’s like Uncle Ben spitting out a mouthful of rice. He—Paul Ryan, not Uncle Ben, who was sadly killed after Peter Parker declined to use his super powers to stop a robber—lied about the Janesville GM plant, which closed while George W. Bush was president. Ryan lambasted Obama for wanting to cut the same amount of money that he himself wants to cut from Medicare. He blamed the US credit downgrade on Obama, and he exited to thunderous applause. Sally Kohn’s column also includes the startling statistic that 25% of Americans don’t know who Paul Ryan is. Democracy rules.

But we haven’t even gotten to the star of the show: Clint Eastwood. Steve Benen at the misleadingly-named Maddow Blog has entered the headline hall of fame with Movie Star Debates Chair, Loses. If you haven’t seen it, Eastwood’s speech at the RNC was a train wreck. Behold:


Nobody could smooth his hair before he walked out? I like Clint Eastwood. I especially like the part of this speech where he criticizes Obama for not closing Gitmo or ending the war in Afghanistan tonight—two things Romney/Ryan also promise not to do. I also enjoy his repeated joke about how neither he nor Mitt Romney is able to have sexual intercourse with himself. If you are feeling any residual resentment toward Eastwood for making this speech, remember that A) he is like eighty, and B) the crowd bullies him into saying “go ahead, make my day” at the end. What an awful thing to do to a human being. It’s not as bad as making people watch Gran Torino, but still.

It’s times like this when I just want to kick back, strap on my full-body camouflage suit and try to convince people I’m Bigfoot. I think we can all agree this story of a man wearing an outfit designed to make him hard to see—in the hope that people will see him—and standing on the highway at night is sad. I hope that we can also agree it is horribly funny, even if we don’t want it to be. To do otherwise would be dishonest. I am willing to hear arguments that it is not funny if you consider the psychological effect on the teenage driver who hit him or, you know, the awful finitude of human life. But then I say the word “Bigfoot” and my whole value system goes out of whack again. “His intention was to get people to believe they saw a sasquatch,” Jim Schneider of the Montana Highway Patrol said. From your mouth to god’s ears, buddy.

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  1. I looked at the Noh video in hopes of getting that joke (dammit, when will I learn to never, ever click on the shit this blog links to?). I still don’t get it. Do you just mean that the convention was fucking weird? Or is there more? Do I have to watch the convention too to get the joke? Unless you’re going to set this up better yourself, you’re setting a pretty high bar. Everyone wants to get Combat!, but at what cost?

  2. You of all people—having been required to take History of Theatre I & II—should remember Noh theater. It’s the other culturally native theatrical form of Japan, along with kabuki. The phrase “political kabuki” is a cliché used to describe highly-scripted, symbolic events like party conventions. I’m sure the joke is hilarious now.

  3. It’s times like this when I just want to kick back, strap on my full-body camouflage suit and try to convince people I’m Bigfoot. I think we can all agree this story of a man wearing an outfit designed to make him hard to see—in the hope that people will see him—and standing on the highway at night is sad.


  4. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I saw it. I thought it was like watching your grandmother’s most forward-thinking friend explain race relations.

  5. In regard to the General Motors plant in Janesville; Obama said that as long as government would support the automobile industry, then he believes plants like this one in Janesville will last 100 years. That plant closed at the end of December in 2008, after the congress and Bush loaned $12 billion or so to GM. Even if Obama wasn’t president, he was still dead wrong. Other GM plants continued to close throughout 2009. Another auto bailout later and then things started to turn around for the industry. If you throw enough money at a problem, it will tend to fix things, at least for a while. But there is a cost, it’s not magic.

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