It is generally better to do things on purpose, but there is something about the unintentional that can redeem almost any act. Boethius argued that the essential crappiness of life—here we note that he was a 5th-century Ostrogoth, so he should know—could be mitigated by philosophy, that the creation of new meanings could repair awful events. Fifteen centuries later, Camus would take a similar position in his formulation of the absurd. Humans are the animal that observes and interprets. By observing, we recreate other people’s actions free from their intentions, and by interpreting we create a conjunctive world less stupid than the one we’ve got. Or at least it’s funnier. This week’s link roundup runs a spectrum of weird hilarity from the deliberate to the sublimely accidental. Of course we’re starting from the not-entirely-on-purpose end. Newt Gingrich’s terrifying psychosexual ambition after the jump.
Presumably, public debate over current issues is still a vital part of our democracy. Somewhere, maybe in Paul Krugman’s basement, smart people are saying what they actually mean about important aspects of United States culture and governance. On TV, they’re doing something else. Cable news programs are about American politics the way The Program is about football. No one makes this principle more evident than Ann Coulter, who at one time probably believed what she said on television and hoped people would take her seriously. Now she wants us to look at her. Jesus, won’t you please look at Ann Coulter?
You probably already heard about this by now: Coulter went on Hannity and argued, apropos of Herman Cain, that “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.” Props to Schmen for the link.
A spokesman for the Cain campaign has told Politico that his candidate is “vaguely familiar” with allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct toward female employees during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association. Several of his staffers have issued similarly tepid denials since the story broke last night and—according to Politico—Cain himself responded to repeated direct questions by “breathing audibly” and finally saying, “Have you ever been accused of harassment by a woman?” It’s a classic defense, but it will only throw them off the trail for so long. It seems too early to say whether Cain invited a female employee into a closet to “sixty-nine. No, screw it—just nine.” Without more facts, we must presume that he is innocent, and that Politico made up a couple of employee complaints and an out-of-court settlement from 20 years ago before publishing a four-page story about it. We should also consider the possibility that this is real.
Props to Pete Jones for the link to this video, which as near as I can tell is not fake. I admit I was difficult to convince at first. It seems literally incredible that one campaign could make so many bizarre choices in 56 seconds, not the least of which is pointing a video camera at Mark Block. He looks like a guy who runs the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity, possibly because he used to run the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity. Block is Herman Cain’s campaign manager, so it would almost make sense to put him in this video, if he did not so closely resemble the dude your mom dated right after she heard your dad was dating someone. Block’s questionable charisma is completely erased at the :40 mark, though, when he takes a long, defiant drag from his cigarette. And…music!
I think I speak for all of us when I say please God,* let Herman Cain win the Republican nomination for President. He is delightful. Three weeks into his campaign he noted that America needs to lighten up, and he’s among the 50% of GOP candidates who can control when they talk about Jesus. Plus, he might be the only man to make racists consider Barack Obama on his merits. After Cain got annihilated in the general, he could enjoy a beer and a chuckle at how he briefly thought he could be President of the United States. Don’t let Herman Cain become President of the United States. Already he has articulated a specific plan to wreck the government.