Poker strategists sometimes describe unskilled behavior as “coinciding with correct play.” For example, the way most people play poker badly is by calling every bet. If you bluff such a player, even in a situation where he absolutely should fold, he will call your bet and win. His mistake coincides with correct play. From the perspective of conservative Republicans, the Islamic State coincided with correct play when it banned the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution from schools in Mosul. Also, the Islamic State is establishing public school curricula in northern Iraq now. At least we don’t have to worry about Saddam Hussein anymore, right? Guys?
Scientists* estimate that approximately one out of every three people is crazy, yet we go about our daily business as if our governmental officials, beloved celebrities and attractive dinner dates were entirely sensible and calm. It’s not until they send us all pictures of their genitals that we begin to suspect the truth: pretty much everyone is a ticking time bomb, just waiting for the right traffic event or interview question to explode into ratfuck insanity. As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend, I thought we might celebrate those Americans who spontaneously shoot up in the air and make a terrible thunder/flash of light before falling to the ground a burnt stick. It’s Friday, several people previously believed to be reliable have gone all hoopy on us, and I am three deadlines away from a psychotic break with reality myself. Won’t you join me?
Before we get into this, I should say that I do not like Bill Maher. He is an outspoken atheist and a vaguely mean-spirited liberal, which means he inspires in me that vague discomfort that comes from watching a person you do not like say what you would say. Those of us who believe that sarcasm is not a form of argument do not enjoy watching Maher snicker his way through our deeply-held positions, which made his discussion of evolution with Representative Jack Kingston (R–GA, net worth $2.8 million, 2009 reported income $507 somehow) a real opportunity to see both sides of a coin of suck. Video after the jump.
I assume that, by now, the numerical minority of you who did not send me links to Christine O’Donnell’s First Amendment gaffe yesterday have heard about it. In a debate with Chris Coons before, of all people, an audience of law students, the Delaware Senate candidate demanded to know “where in the Constitution” is the separation of church and state. After her opponent recited the establishment clause (pretty much from memory, although he missed a couple of words,) she remained incredulous, saying, “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?” Newspaper accounts were beautiful, but they miss what is perhaps the best part: the four or so minutes after O’Donnell sticks Coons with her “where in the Constitution?” question but before she realizes it’s a gaffe. During that time, she smirks at the crowd, mugs during her opponent’s answers and generally acts like she’s just checkmated Vladimir Nabokov. It’s an almost physically painful study in dramatic irony, and it captures the essence of Christine O’Donnell.
In addition to being every woman I told myself I should just go over and talk to, SE Cupp is also a mystery. She’s a professed atheist who has written a book called Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity. She’s just completed a master’s degree in religious studies at Columbia, and also just asserted her nonbelief on Bill Maher fifty times. [Warning: Maher at his most irritating.] She did the same thing with Sean Hannity, who insisted that she was actually an agnostic.* In an interview with the Daily Beast, she told Benyamin Cohen that ““I knew at a very young age that I didn’t really buy the whole God gamut.” She also told him that as a child she wanted to be a nun. Her columns for the NY Daily News—in which she argues that President Obama has not effectively wielded the power of fear and that we shouldn’t clean up the BP oil spill—suggest that she might simply be a contrarian. Yet she has built her career on aggressively upholding traditional beliefs. Let us not forget, when she argues that the news media naturally attack Christianity because “liberalism and secularism are the standards and anything that crops up against that are the exceptions,” that she is talking about a religion professed by nearly 80% of Americans.