That right there is the theme song to Sarah Palin’s new show Amazing America, which presumably celebrates everything great about the United States—including, at :59, “the dogs and the horses and the trucks and the guns.” Finally, basic cable is giving dogs and horses the credit they deserve. As one commenter put it:
Speaks straight from the GUT! The way it is presented it gives us ALL a DEEP SENSE OF PRIDE! Isn’t it a gift from our God when each can take PRIDE not necessarily only from what we have done but love the PRIDE we have in sharing ALL INCLUSIVE OF EACH THAT HAS THEIR PRIDE AND SATISFACTION OF GIVING TO OUR GIFT TO AN “AMAZING AMERICA!”
Today is Friday, and it’s high time we all took pride not necessarily in doing things, but in proudly including ourselves in the satisfaction of giving our gift to America, which is us. Won’t you speak from the gut with me?
A 1939 photo of Harlem containing a man who looks strikingly like Jay-Z
That is not Jay-Z in old-timey photographer Sid Grossman’s picture of Harlem, sent to me by old-timey pornographer Ben al-Fowlkes. It sure looks like Jay-Z, though. Either I am some kind of hair-toucher who does not notice subtle facial distinctions among people of other races, or that Depression-era Harlemite looks uncannily like Hov. The already alarmingly low level of can is reduced even further by the familiar idea of Jay-Z dressing up in old-fashioned luxury clothes to evoke a particular period in black history. Appearing in a wool suit and newsboy cap in Harlem is not something he did do, exactly, but it sure is the kind of thing he might do. Today is Friday, and the world is full of striking discrepancies. Most of it fits, and then one detail blows the whole thing into weirdo territory. Won’t you demand an impossible consistency with me?
The New York Times managed to make me feel both sad and angry—my two basic emotions!—with this article about the career prospects of recent college graduates as compared to their counterparts in previous generations. That’s the sad part. The angry part comes with Louis Uchitelle’s framing device, which wisely presents the article’s many surprising/dry economic statistics in the context of one particular Millennial, Scott Nicholson. If he still hasn’t found work, I suggest Nicholson hire himself out as the world’s least sympathetic protagonist. He graduated from Colgate in 2008 and has lived with his parents since, unable to find work. He also just turned down a job with Hanover Insurance Group that would have paid him $40,000 a year.
It’s moving day here at the Combat! blog offices, where certain dismayingly materialistic acquisitions (real mattress) have led us to A) complain that this was much easier last time, when literally everything we owned fit into the bed of a Ford Ranger and B) assume that the economy has recovered. Things must be going well when even people who don’t want stuff have stuff, right? Of course it turns out that things are not so sunny. The US economic metaphor has been upgraded from crash to lingering illness, and while total work hours, productivity and corporate profits are all up, unemployment and the housing market—the two segments of the economy that most pertain to actual people and not Excel files—continue to suck it for coke money. And yet, the hot issue in politics is deficit spending. As the New York Times points out, the international mania for curbing government spending and balancing budgets—which has thus far dominated the G-20 summit, to say nothing of discourse at home—has the potential to trigger another Roosevelt Recession. What the fudge is that, you ask? Looks like someone’s going to have to click on the jump.
They're both on the radio, they both love Jesus, and they're both deeply committed to cardiovascular exercise
Part of the difficulty in understanding the cultural phenomenon that is Glenn Beck—and he’s been on the cover of Time magazine, just like Arsenio Hall, so it’s official now—is pinning down exactly what he is. Despite his occasional declarations to the contrary, it seems safe to say that Beck is some kind of a Political Person. Rarely does he use his shows to give us an awesome recipe for brownies or tell us how to fix our cars; pretty much everything Glenn Beck talks about relates to the federal government of the United States. Yet where he might fit, in terms of a coherent ideology that relates to our historical moment, is infuriatingly difficult to assess. “I’m so tired of everybody having a political agenda,” he has said. “Do you know what my political agenda is? America! America!” That’s super and all, but you can’t really cite “America” as your approach to American politics, for the same reason you can’t give directions to the mall by shouting “this Subaru! this Subaru!” over and over. Beck appears to be a conservative, insofar as he is dedicated in his opposition to President Obama, but he also spends a lot of time criticizing the Republican Party. He’s deeply alarmed about both fascism and socialism, as embodied in the continued existence of the federal government; that and the general protect-your-freedom tenor of his beloved Tea Party movement suggest that he might be some kind of libertarian. But he’s also a converted Mormon, a virulent opponent of gay marriage, and a crusader against drug legalization. In general, Beck is against so much and for so little that he functions as a sort of political ghost: vaporous, impossible to pin down, yet seemingly everywhere and constantly moaning.