Friday links! Wisdom of crowds edition

Sarah Palin tries to remember the word for that feeling you get when someone else is talking.

Sarah Palin tries to remember the word for that feeling you get when someone else is talking.

Donald Trump is the Garfield of politics: fucking stupid, but in the newspaper every day. He must be great, though, because 20% of Republican-leaning voters who responded to a Quinnipiac poll said he was their guy. That puts him ahead of both the guy who stopped the teacher’s union and the bad president’s brother. Trump has been the front runner since he announced his candidacy.1There must be something about him elite media dictators like myself just don’t understand—something authentic. Something real—whatever it is, it’s definitely real. Today is Friday, and we all know the wisdom of crowds, so where does that leave us? Won’t you play the fool with me?

First, the good news: Sarah Palin has endorsed the candidacy of Donald Trump, while pundits clutch their pearls and whimper for smelling salts. Palin described watching that clutching and whimpering as “a hoot,” which is the kind of supersaturated folksiness only her sentences can provide. The former governor of Alaska and vice-presidential nominee is an ordinary person just like you, and Donald Trump always tells the truth. She writes:

The elites are shocked by Trump’s dominance, but everyday Americans aren’t. Everywhere I’ve gone this summer, including motorsport events in Detroit full of fed up Joe Six-Pack Americans, the folks I meet commiserate about wussified slates of politicians, but then unsolicited, they whisper their appreciation for Trump because he has the guts to say it like it is.

Why are they fed up at a motorsport event? Is there no pleasing these people? Also, I did not realize I could safely whisper to Sarah Palin unsolicited—especially not the kind of whisper audible during motosports. “Trump!” everyday fed-up Joes Six-Pack intone, inches from her ear. “Donald Trump has the guts to say it like it is.” They smell of gasoline and sweat.

Someone had to put this man in his place, even if he does command the admiration of jobless malcontents. But who would trade ripostes with that devil? He’d have to be quick to turn Trump’s audacity back on itself, yet plainspoken enough to charm the crowd. Enter Rick Perry, with props to The Cure for the link:

He sounds smart. Perry seems to have taken aim at a sitting, bloated, brightly-colored duck and fired near his foot. The image of Trump waiting on the debate stage while Perry curses the parts of a do-it-yourself pull up bar pleases me. Perry’s selection of upper-body strength—a quality even less useful to the presidency than shock value—for their contest also makes sense. Perry is a jock. He hates those goddamn glasses, because he is already much smarter than most people and surrounded by guys who think they’re smart but couldn’t throw a spiral if their lives—allen wrench? The fuck is an allen wrench? [Smashes instructions to the ground. Trump purses lips.]

Meanwhile, in Ethiopia, President Obama announced he would not seek a third term. That’s probably good, although I’d hate to be Roger Ailes right now.2 “There’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving,” Obama told the audience of African non-Americans, “but the law is the law, and no person is above the law—not even the president.” Then Robert Mugabe coughed, and it sounded like he was saying “blowjob.” Paul Kagame joined in, even though he knew he’d get no coverage from a fickle media that considered him a poor man’s Robert Mugabe.

You don’t read a lot of news stories about why the president of Rwanda is so popular, even though his country is a virtual Rwanda. But we’re covering Facebook really thoroughly. Raw Story reports on a writer named Virgil Texas, who used social hacking to get himself made a moderator on the Confederate Pride Facebook page. Then he changed the name to LGBT Southerners for Michelle Obama and Judaism. “The Confederate Pride group is going in a new direction thanks to my visionary leadership,” he announced on Twitter, shortly before he was removed from office. Also, user feedback for Raw Story: when your lead is “A Brooklyn-based writer hilariously wrecked a pro-Confederate Facebook group,” I wonder if I am getting the raw story.

But the news isn’t about elites imposing their versions of “objectivity” and “significance” on ordinary Americans who know better. It’s about the people deciding what happened and who’s rad. Sometimes, when a whole bunch of people get together and do a thing, it turns out to be wonderful. Feel better by reading the origin story of RAGBRAI. I used to read Donald Kaul’s columns when I was a kid, and I thought he was the third best writer in America, after Mike Royko and Dave Barry. Elites may clutch their pearls, but Barry’s use of capital letters was decades ahead of its time.

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