You know respect for authority is too high when people start complaining that no one respects authority anymore. Obviously, this rule doesn’t apply to authority figures themselves. From principals to police chiefs, professional authorities spend their lives astonished by the rate of public disobedience. But ordinary Americans shouldn’t think that way. Once Curt Schilling can get a job at Breitbart or Donald Trump can win in Arizona by saying people don’t appreciate cops, you know things have gotten out of hand. Sure enough, Gallup has released a new poll in which the portion of Americans who express “a great deal of respect for the police” has reached 76%, up 12 points from last year. I think we can agree that’s way too high.
Alison Gold’s “Chinese Food,” about how she likes Chinese food, has hit #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her parents paid to have the song and video produced by ARK Music Factory, the same company responsible for Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” It’s kind of gross that adolescent rich girls can get professional-quality production and songwriting for vanity projects, but it’s terrifying that ARK Music Factory can make those vanity projects into hits. They’ve done it twice now—three times if you count “It’s Thanksgiving.” Today is Friday, popular culture is an algorithm that only requires Patrice Wilson to select a day or food, and the time has come for us to embrace the dread declinism. Won’t you admit that everything is going to hell with me?
I should warn you right away that today’s post is probably a variation on what Richard Hofstadter called the paranoid style in American politics. I mean the style, not the essay. Yesterday, the White House withdrew its threat to veto S. 1867, the defense authorization bill that provides for (A) annual Pentagon funding and policy directives and (B) the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens suspected of aiding terrorists. See, it does two things. But don’t worry—the White House has concluded that:
the language [in Sec. 1031 of the bill] does not challenge or constrain the president’s ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people, and the president’s senior advisors will not recommend a veto.
Press Secretary Carney’s remarks were interrupted when a bunch of crows got scared and flew away.