Friday links! Striking contrasts edition

Wednesday's weather map for Iowa

Wednesday’s weather map for Iowa

In conclusion, China is a land of contrasts. It’s been a long week here at the Combat! blog offices, and today will be the longest week of all. Strangely, though, I’m not scared. It’s probable that my brain is shutting down in response to cat video deprivation, but whatever—today is Friday, and even the worst Friday offers that glimmer of hope which so contrasts with the earlier days of the week. Probably I’ll be dead by Monday, so today could be my last day of work ever. It’s basically the weekend now, except for the crushing tedium that lies ahead. But that’s life: you have to take the good with the bad, the hot with the cold, the glimpse of sunlight with the inevitable hail. Won’t you enjoy/despise what you read/watch with me/yourself?

First, the good news: a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that political conservatives were less likely to buy a particular light bulb if they were told it was good for the environment. By good news, I mean bad news. If you hate primary sources, as all decent people do, you can read a summary of the findings in The Daily Kos, but it’s The Daily Kos, so probably they’ll manipulate your brain via a subtle system of signifiers and implications. You know—like the one that causes you to spend more money operating a light bulb that is worse for the environment so you can assert your identity to a literally oblivious world, which you are kind of destroying.

Maybe we should tell Michele Bachmann that a Kindle uses more electricity than a book, and then political conservatives will start reading. They’ll probably quit once they realize that an e-reader is still better than pulping trees, driving magazines across the country and watering the slush pile at The New Yorker. David Blum, once called “a sad bumbling doctor for dying New York City weeklies,” has made a success of the Kindle Singles program, which sells feature- to novella-length works of fiction and nonfiction for $2 a pop. Tell me again why Random House is necessary? As an alternative, you can show me the contract that gives authors two thirds of gross revenue. Say what you will about the internet; it might just end the Age of the Middleman.

Or it will just keep showing me videos of young people I want to murder. The founders of Rap Genius—which is white devil sophistry—plan to launch News Genius, allowing people to annotate web content just as they now annotate lyrics. They have also allowed people to call them douchebags on the internet by appearing in this video:


Props to Attempt for the link. I believe commenter Cankerous Booch put it best when he said that “everyone on this stage sucks.” I mean they really suck. I thought the interviewer was doing some sort of costume/performance thing, but that is his regular hair. Relentless dicketry aside, however, crowd-annotated news is a good idea. If nothing else, it will revolutionize fact-checking. Or it will further degrade the quality of American discourse—probably both.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the spectrum of male behavior, here’s the second of four excellent columns by Pete Dexter about the 1982 title fight between Larry Holmes and Randall “Tex” Cobb. First of all, props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. Second, you might remember Tex Cobb from his performance as the lone biker of the apocalypse in Raising Arizona. Third, the sport of boxing exists only as a vehicle for boxing journalism. Hands down, writing about fighting is the best sportswriting around.

Rapping about historic pacifists is the best rapping:


I believe that is the funniest title screen in recent video history. Also, Keegan Key’s Martin Luther King impression is weirdly good. I can’t imagine where he honed it.

You know what song is really popular and ubiquitous right now in my apartment? It’s also on the radio and presumably annoying a lot of people, so I probably should not put it at the end of Friday links, a region usually reserves for obscurantism. But I guess that [chorus]:


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  1. Always a delight. For the reader who is first seeing Key and Peele in that Ghandi v. MLKJR rap, I direct you to one of their best skits: Slow Brotion (the link will be in my next comment, assuming it makes it past the spam filter.)

    Key and Peele basically have three wells from which they draw some of the funniest shit ever. One is the language of cinema and film conventions. Another is white/black/asian stereotypes. The last are stereotype-based premises which then avoid the premise and just descend into something irreverent.

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