Friday links! Spectrum of intentional hilarity edition

"Everybody put your keys in the bowl."

It is generally better to do things on purpose, but there is something about the unintentional that can redeem almost any act. Boethius argued that the essential crappiness of life—here we note that he was a 5th-century Ostrogoth, so he should know—could be mitigated by philosophy, that the creation of new meanings could repair awful events. Fifteen centuries later, Camus would take a similar position in his formulation of the absurd. Humans are the animal that observes and interprets. By observing, we recreate other people’s actions free from their intentions, and by interpreting we create a conjunctive world less stupid than the one we’ve got. Or at least it’s funnier. This week’s link roundup runs a spectrum of weird hilarity from the deliberate to the sublimely accidental. Of course we’re starting from the not-entirely-on-purpose end. Newt Gingrich’s terrifying psychosexual ambition after the jump.

I cannot emphasize this enough: if you are going to try to talk your spouse into an open marriage, you should be young and attractive. The rest of us don’t want to think about your desolate, misshapen bodies slamming together like asteroids in space. It also helps to ask before you start sleeping with other people, although as the man says, it is easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Gingrich continued to beg forgiveness yesterday—an activity that seems to compose half of his political career, the other half being devoted to threatening victory. No one wants to hear more about his affair with his former aide, anyway. “It’s an issue I confront every time it comes up,” he told reporters, “and I confront it exactly the same way it comes up—and the people seem to be satisfied by it.” He went on to prove his point by complaining that people keep asking him about it.

You can only commit so many infidelities before you lose all credibility and get demoted to pundit. Consider Herman Cain, who has been tapped to issue the Tea Party rebuttal to the President’s state of the union speech next week. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Herman Cain thought it was too long. Tea Party Express spokesman Sal Russo gave us a hint about what else might be included in Cain’s remarks: “Whether it is a flat tax, a fair tax or a combination of the two, reforming the tax code must be a priority. Americans want straight talk and honest solutions, and Herman Cain will deliver a pro-growth message strongly and clearly.” No, it will not depend on what is actually said in the SotU address. Asking Herman Cain to discuss federal policy is like asking Coco the gorilla to tell you a story. It’s going to be about a kitten.

On the other hand, you never know what certain people are going to do. Consider this wonderful thing that is also kind of alarming:


Isn’t that delightful? Also, isn’t it disconcerting that NBC can get the President for a video sketch during their tribute to Betty White? We’re not talking about the National Book Award ceremony, here, or even the correspondents’ dinner. I personally look forward to a day when the President of the United States appears in all manner of televised entertainments—variety shows, muffler commercials, buddy pictures with the cryofrozen head of John Madden, whatever.

It’s almost as if corporate entities were gradually becoming comparably powerful to the federal government. But it would be foolish to think that money could ever become a stronger force in America than the will of the people as expressed through their government. I’m fucking with you—look what is legal now:

I’m not sure which is more frightening: that the Supreme Court failed to recognize and/or care about the destructive flexibility of Citizens United v. FEC, or that a basic-cable comedy show has done more to educate the American people about it than all major news outlets combined. Wait—it’s the second one. Everyone in media professes to love John Stewart. No one seems interested in doing the kind of critical journalism he demands.

But maybe they, too, are bound by a deterministic system. Only The Onion can turn a pun into a bit and then turn that bit into a weirdly touching character study. The picture helps. “Free agency suggests I am able to make a choice void of any constraint, but right from the get-go, that premise is problematic,” says Prince Fielder. And like that, everything seems fine again.



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