R.I.P. Bradula

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, trained actors, smile.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, professional actors, smile.

The world recoiled today as celebrity boyfriend/girlfriend Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, popularly known as “Angelad,” broke up and disappeared. They broke up because they stopped loving each other. Now Angelad is gone, and 20 years of memories are gone with them.

Pitt and Jolie first met on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 1996. At that time, she was married to Billy Ray Cyrus. Pitt would come to her trailer every morning, knock on the door, and ask if she was home. “It’s me,” she would tell him. “I’m Angelina Jolie.” He started to recognize her, and they fell in love.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston was making Friends. “Phoebe,” she would complain, “I think my boyfriend Brad is cheating on me.” The actress who played Phoebe listened politely, but she did not offer meaningful emotional support with clarifying questions. Ironically, no one on Friends liked Jennifer Aniston. This kind of irony would plague her the rest of her life.

Then shooting on Mr. and Mrs. Smith bogged down, stranding Pitt and Jolie together in the Swiss village of Portmanteau. They gradually changed their name to “Angelad” over the next six months. Although their relationship was ethically questionable, it garnered a lot of attention in the press. They became Hollywood’s new “power couple,” replacing cocaine and vodka. The public fell in love with their story, but it was not without its sad coda: Jennifer Aniston was forced to marry Billy Ray Cyrus and move back to Anustown.

For the next several years, America thrilled to Angelad’s exploits. The happy couple could be seen climbing mountains, auctioning off unclaimed urns from the crematorium, or just hanging out behind the Los Angeles County Museum of Art talking philosophy and whittling, respectively. They were young, beautiful, smart and handsome, respectively. And they were in love.

In 2008, to celebrate the election of Barack Obama, Pitt surprised Jolie by making her breakfast and bed. The eggs were covered in sawdust and the bed was not finished, but they made love in all of them. These events are familiar to everyone from the November issue of Newsweek.

In 2009, Jolie spoke out against the objectification of women by having her famous breast implants removed. She spent the next year traveling around the country removing other women’s breast implants. After she was finally apprehended, Pitt bailed her out of jail, and they kissed. These events were covered extensively in Us magazine and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Forensic Science.

The following year, Jolie adopted six Senegalese orphans. Not to be outdone, Pitt got a goldfish, but he forgot to put water in the bowl. Eventually the fish, known first as “Brish” and then as “Brad Fish,” dried out and died. The orphans thrived by comparison, and Angelad Fever spread to all but the remotest arctic weather stations.

Between the children, Jolie’s community service, Pitt’s home brewing hobby, his hospitalization for uncontrollable simultaneous defecation and vomiting (USDV), and their movie careers, the couple was busier than ever. Like many Americans, they spent the next few years aging. But behind Angelad’s happy facade, tension and eggs Benedict were waiting to explode, respectively.

In 2014, to celebrate their anniversary, Pitt surprised Jolie by having their name legally changed to “Bradula.” Although publicly overjoyed, she privately expressed concern “Bradula” did not contain elements from her name. It was the beginning of the rift between them.

The following year, while Pitt was shooting Oceans 2000, Jolie repainted their house and forgot to tell him. Pitt wasn’t seen for days. He was eventually found in Vince Vaughn’s potting shed, badly frightened. Jolie took him home, but he cried and cried.

The couple seemed headed for a reconciliation this summer, with more adoptions and possibly a movie together, but in the words of Hollywood, that’s all verkakte now. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have broken up in a court of law. Their movies have been erased and the orphans returned to Senegal. Angelad has disappeared. If you see them, call 911 and tell them you’re crazy, because man, it’s over.

Close readings: Heintzelman’s brush with potential dissent

Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem.

Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem.

Indy reporter and Missoula’s actual best journalist Derek Brouwer sent me this tweet from Missoulian publisher Mark Heintzelman, who narrowly avoided witnessing a protest at the annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce. Granted, no one actually protested. But they might have, given the way things are going in this country. Quote:

Our colors were just presented at the annual meeting of the @MissoulaChamber and, thankfully, everybody stood.

What a relief! Again, no one knelt or raised one fist in the air or conveyed anything but deferential respect for the flag—sorry, “our colors,” because apparently we’re all sailors in the War of 1812—but if they had, Heintzelman would have been against it. He sounds a little disappointed no one did. Close reading after the jump.

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Friday links! Simper at the devil edition

"So then I took out a full-page ad in the Times saying they should get the chair."

“So then I took out a full-page ad in the Times saying they should get the chair.”

I don’t mean to overgeneralize, but everyone is shit. The Ivy League warmongers are in a tight race with the uneducated racists, and everyone who ought to know and/or do better is busy pandering to what segment of those audiences they imagine most lucrative. Also it’s leaf blower season, and nobody signals their turns anymore. Sometimes a small sample of unrelated events starts to seem like the end of civilization as we know it—or at least civilization as we like it—and the best thing to do with that feeling is to get it out of your system. Today is Friday, and H.L. Mencken was right: These dickcharmers are going to outlive us all. Won’t you yell through the windshield with me?

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Rumors about Bullock, O’Leary leap from blogs to newspaper

What's going on between Governor Bullock and this big check?

What’s going on between Governor Bullock and this big check?

Here’s a fun game: try to name the most prominent policy idea of the 2016 Montana governor’s race. Republican Greg Gianforte wants to improve the economy by—wait for it—lowering taxes and lifting regulations. Governor Steve Bullock wants to continue being governor. If ideas were glue, these two couldn’t build a model plane. But it doesn’t matter, because they’d gouge each other’s eyes out before they got all the parts out of the box. Their almost purely negative campaign got even darker last week, when NewsTalk KGVO ran this story, ostensibly about Bullock’s use of the state plane but also about how he uses it to take trips with cabinet member Meg O’Leary.

Rumors that there is something untoward about their relationship have circulated on conservative blogs for some time. Until last week, you never heard about it in the mainstream press, probably because there’s no evidence. But then KGVO ran the headline “Governor Bullock Brought Meg O’Leary to Paul McCartney Concert Instead of First Lady, State Plane Use Questioned.”

As usual when a headline uses the passive verb “questioned,” they omitted the phrase “by us.” A subsequent story in the more scrupulous Billings Gazette contradicted several of KGVO’s implications.  It seems like the original piece was pretty thinly sourced. It didn’t say much that hadn’t already been said—also without substantiation—in various right-leaning blogs. So why run it now?

Maybe it had something to do with the news that Oracle was moving 100 jobs from Bozeman to Texas. Gianforte sold his software company RightNow Technologies to Oracle in 2011. His success in creating high-wage jobs has been a major selling point of his campaign, but this layoff undermines that. Is it possible KGVO ran the O’Leary story to overshadow the layoffs? Although Gianforte’s communications director, Aaron Flint, has a friendly relationship with KGVO, it would be irresponsible to say he nudged them. I mean, what are we—KGVO?

You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, in which I challenge the candidates to come up with some idea—any idea—related to policy. The voters of Montana deserve something better than a choice between negatives. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links, hopefully including a fun surprise.

Last year’s median income data is great; last 15 years, not so much


The median income of an American household increased 5.2 percent in 2015, the largest single-year increase since 1967. The poverty rate also fell, and the portion of Americans without health insurance fell to about 10 percent. That’s good news, especially during a recovery whose benefits have disproportionately gone to the very rich and large corporations. The bad news is in the graph above. You will notice that median incomes have risen after the each of the seven recessions of the last 50 years except for two: the last two. Although the historical trend has been for incomes to exceed or at least return to their pre-recession levels during each recovery, the median income is still lower than it was in 2007 or, for that matter, 1998.

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