“There are few things I enjoy more than, on weekends, cooking breakfast with the family,” Ted Cruz says at the outset of this video in which his family will not appear. “Of course, in Texas, we cook bacon a little differently than most people.” Then he wraps bacon around the barrel of a machine gun and fires it until the bacon cooks, sort of. Then, I presume, he rides a stallion through the window of the Oval Office and knocks Barack Obama out of his chair. We haven’t gotten to that part yet. But surely this guns-and-bacon viral video will clinch the presidency for Cruz, and eventually the Chinese will be our masters. Breakdown after the jump.
Imagine that you are a wealthy member of one of the two parties that control the richest nation in the history of the world, or you run one of the corporations that made it rich, or you’re one of the people who work for those corporations or political parties to feed your family. America is doing great, but everyone also seems to agree that it is doing worse lately and is possibly about to stop doing great forever. Meanwhile, religious hillbillies on the other side of Earth have vowed to come here and randomly explode, plus an unknown but growing number of Americans have less incentive to support the status quo because present conditions benefit you much more than them. You are winning this game, but the game is almost over. If you were such a person, you might understandably organize your politics and your worldview around one central question: how can I keep anything from changing? What you need is security—order-maintaining, threat-identifying, future-avoiding security. Today is Friday, and anything different is necessarily bad for us. Won’t you arrest the progress of history with me?
“We’re really puzzled,” Newt Gingrich says. “Here at Gingrich Productions, we’ve spent weeks trying to figure out: what do you call this?” Then he holds up a smartphone. It appears to be an iPhone, but it’s definitely some kind of touch-screen, internet-capable personal communications device, known in circulars and strip malls across America as a smartphone. The term “smartphone” was first used by Ericsson in 1997, but Gingrich seems genuinely not to know it, spending three minutes in rapturous speculation on what such a device might be called. “If it’s taking pictures, it’s a not a cell phone,” he opines. “If it has a McDonald’s app to tell you where McDonald’s is based on your GPS location, that’s not a cell phone. If you can get Wikipedia or go to Google, that’s not a cell phone.” Props to Aaron Galbraith for the video, which is 2:53 of uncut dramatic irony that you can watch after the jump.
I am willing to accept a modicum of secrecy in my US government. If the pillars of our democracy rest on a certain amount of secret alien dissection and Chinese cyberwar, I’ll go along. But one of those pillars is consent of the governed, and I cannot consent to stuff I don’t know about. A little-r republican system—in which people vote or don’t vote for various representatives based partly on what they do in office—does not work when we’re not sure what our government is doing. Call me Judy Garland, but I also believe that our elected leaders behave a little more scrupulously when they know the American people are watching. Secrecy protects Them from Us, and I personally am a longtime subscriber to the adage that government should fear the people and not the other way around. It’s Friday, as far as we know, and today’s link roundup is full of stories about things we should have known about earlier. Frankly, it’s harrowing. But before we get started, I think you need to watch this video.
Everyone’s favorite Meghan Gallagher sent me the foregoing ad for the new Microsoft Kin, which promises to do for cell phones what Bing did for internet search engines. If you’re wondering, the song is by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, a band I liked without reservation before they sold their best work to a phone commercial and forced me to yet again consider how much of my aesthetic taste is aesthetic taste and how much is just contrary esotericism.* Anywhom, the ad has provoked an extremely small firestorm of controversy, due to allegations by Consumer Reports that it promotes sexting. You remember sexting, right? It’s the totally real thing that teenagers do all the time nowadays, when they’re not cyberbullying or attending rainbow parties. I quote intrepid CR reporter Mike Gikas: “The video…includes a downright creepy sequence in which a young man is shown putting a Kin under his shirt and apparently snapping a picture of one of his naked breasts. The breast is then shown on the phone’s screen, just before the guy apparently sends it to someone.” Needless to say, Gikas did not get away with referring to a man’s bare chest as his “breasts,” or, worse, “the breast,” and comments-section hilarity ensued. Despite the obvious sophistication of its reporter, the CR piece prompted Microsoft to re-edit the spot so as to remove the breaxting, as well as change the Kin’s slogan from “Send a grainy picture of your breasts or breast!” to “We’re all in this together!” Except, of course, those of us who are peering at our phones. Which brings us to Combat! blog’s question of the day: Is it just impossible to sell a cell phone or what?