Friday links! Good-enough Morgan edition

Children climb on the Vietnam War women's memorial in Washington, DC.

Children climb on the Vietnam War women’s memorial in Washington, DC.

I learned a sweet expression yesterday: good-enough Morgan, an issue or talking point used to influence voters temporarily, particularly in the period before an election. For example, gay marriage became a good-enough Morgan in 2004, driving evangelicals to the polls so they would vote for George W. Bush and then vanishing from the national Republican agenda. But the best part of “good-enough Morgan” is the etymology. William Morgan was a former Freemason who planned to write a tell-all book before his mysterious disappearance in 1826. When Thurlow Weed, organizer of the nascent Anti-Masonic Party, found a body floating in the Niagara river in 1828, he said it would be a “good-enough Morgan” until after the election. Today is Friday, and the people must be tricked into wisdom somehow. Won’t you misidentify the bodies with me?

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Arkansas GOP candidate advocates death penalty for children

Totally different from Sharia law

I assume that the title of Charles Fuqua’s book—God’s Law: The Only Political Solution—was his second choice after he discovered that the phrase “final solution” was taken. Fuqua is a former Arkansas state legislator whose hits include calling for the expulsion of Muslims from the United States and noting that both followers of Islam and liberals want “violent, bloody revolution.” Now he’s running for the Arkansas legislature again, despite the fact that his aforementioned book calls for legalizing the death penalty against rebellious children. He’s also getting funding from the Arkansas Republican Party and prominent US Representatives, despite the fact that his book et cetera. And he’s against abortion, despite the fact that his book etc. You can do it with anything! Insane excerpt after the jump.

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Regarding the 9-year-old “psychopath”

Weekends are for speculation at the New York Times, and the paper’s Magazine section speculated it out of the park with this feature about whether young children can be diagnosed as psychopaths. For the purposes of our discussion, we’re going to put aside the question of what “psychopathy” actually is. That’s what reporter Jennifer Kahn has done, parenthetically noting that “the terms ‘sociopath’ and ‘psychopath’ are essentially identical,” connecting adult psychopathy to “cold, predatory conduct” and leaving it at that. Psycho-/sociopaths do bad things and don’t feel bad about them. They obey external rules of right and wrong, but they don’t internalize them in emotionally meaningful ways; they don’t want to be good. If it sounds to you like I am describing every child that has ever lived, you begin to understand the problem. If it doesn’t sound that way to you, it’s probably because there is something wrong with your brain, and society has no choice but to write you off.

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A terrible thing that happened when I tried to write the blog today

A clever adult wins an otherwise difficult two-on-one battle by inducing nausea.

The original title of today’s blog post was “Winning the fight against children”—which made the photo caption a lot funnier—and I was having a lot of fun writing it until about 30 seconds ago. It all started when I saw this article in the Huffington Post, about a restaurant in Pennsylvania that has banned children under age 6. I love that kind of thing, as you know, and it happened to dovetail nicely with an article about US marriage and childrearing trends I found while reading the footnotes to The Marriage Vow yesterday. So I wrote this fun intro paragraph:

Despite powerful influence from the likes of Bob Vander Plaats and Bil Keane, American society is gradually reducing the number of children in our midst. Okay, the actual number of children nears an all-time high and grows larger every year, but that’s because there’s also so many of us. By some stroke of luck, long-term growth in the number of adults has kept pace with the growth of children—even exceeded it in some cases, I think, although I’m having trouble finding statistics. So although kids clog our streets and animal-themed pizza arcades, the percentage of children in society has stayed low. According to CBS News, the proportion of American households occupied by married couples with children has dropped to 25%, a development they felt merited the rarely-seen six-deck headline.

Then I wrote this next one:

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Seeking children, McDonald’s re-deploys clown

"It's actually parked out back, if you want to get out of here."

You may not have noticed,* but the last few years of McDonald’s commercials have been conspicuously free of Ronald McDonald, the clown so brightly colored that only a child‘s retinas are innocent enough to look at him. It turns out that L. Ron McDonald has been the object of an ongoing campaign of protest from various height/weight-appropriate killjoys, who argue that he is designed to sell unhealthy food directly to children. That is obviously true. When was the last time you saw a clown convince an adult of anything, much less what to put in his mouth? Whereas that works on kids all the time. With their McCafe marketing campaign and their new emphasis on salads, apple slices and other substances that will not immediately stop a mouse’s heart, McDonald’s has been working the adult/child divide for the last several years, so it’s only logical that they would again release Ronald McDonald into the wild. He is back; he is still simultaneously nonthreatening and extremely disturbing, and he is definitely for kids.

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