The 19th-century novelist Horatio Alger had one vein of narrative skill, and he mined it deeply. Alger specialized in stories about young boys who escaped poverty through hard work and/or good character. His fourth book, Ragged Dick, exemplifies the form. At the outset of the novel, Dick is a 14 year-old bootblack living on the streets. Various middle- and upper-class characters note his refusal to steal, supporting him in small ways until he has occasion to rescue a drowning child. The child’s grateful father gives Dick a suit and a job in his firm. Now a respectable member of middle-class society, Dick changes his name to Richard Hunter, Esq., and lives (mostly) happily through six sequels.
We all know that one ideology is correct. That’s just common sense. So many ideas are wrong, and so many people are wrong for holding them, that there must necessarily be a way of thinking and behaving that is absolutely right. It’s like when you see land; you know there must be an ocean somewhere, because otherwise you would just be seeing space. But how can you know which ideology is correct? With your heart, obviously. And how can you know whether you are adhering to that ideology enough? Through constant vigilance—specifically, constant vigilance of others. Today is Friday, as other people will agree but maybe not enough. Won’t you believe perfectly in a perfect ideology and become invincible with me?
Despite its manifest limitations, Combat! blog strives to appear fair and reasonable. Our discussions here may be colored by liberal bias, occasional smug atheism and captions about seagulls swooping at Anne Coulter’s vagina, but we try to maintain at least a pose of circumspection. Nobody wants to read blog posts by a person who already knows what he thinks about everything. That being said: today I read about Rick Perry’s declaration that President Obama “grew up in a privileged way” and that “that mentality of ‘I’m the smartest guy in the room and therefore it couldn’t be my fault’ is really hurting America.” And I thought to myself, you craven little ponce. Only for once, I was thinking that about someone else. So today’s Combat! blog post is basically just a rant. Rick Perry is a mediocre man and a bidder for the admiration of the crowd. His campaign for the presidency is important only insofar as it warns us against the legions of men exactly like him who will come after, and who will also be too dishonest and stupid to do us any good.
Combat! blog’s east coast odyssey continues, with all the inattention and substance abuse that entails, so now seems like as good a time as any to keep following Donald Trump through the slipstream of American bullshit like the great white whale he is. Hot on the heels of the White House’s release of President Obama’s birth certificate, Trump has demanded to see his college transcripts. “The word is, according to what I’ve read, that he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental,” Trump said. “He then gets to Columbia; he then gets to Harvard. How do you get into Harvard if you’re not a good student? Now, maybe that’s right, or maybe it’s wrong. But I don’t know why he doesn’t release his records.” Here’s a tip for those of you still interested in behaving responsibly in a functional society: if you’ve sort of heard something, and you don’t know whether it’s right or wrong, maybe wait to call a press conference. Unless you’re afraid people might stop looking at you.
First of all, when is Obama gonna get going with the infanticide already? He’s been in office for fifteen months now, and I haven’t seen even one centurion dash a Christian child against a tall palm. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been looking in Florida, though. The New York Times has conducted what appears to be the first semi-scientific poll to determine Tea Party demographics, and found that “the 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.” That shouldn’t surprise anyone. What is counterintuitive is that Tea Party supporters turn out to be, on average, richer and more likely to hold college degrees than the general public. The majority describe the amount of money they paid in taxes this year as “fair.” They usually or almost always vote Republican, 57% of them hold a favorable opinion of George W. Bush, and a plurality of them believe that Sarah Palin is unqualified to be president. And 25% of them say that the federal government under Barack Obama favors blacks over whites. Sounded almost sane there, for a second, didn’t they?