Friday links! James Comey, Historical Figure edition

In the year 2016, mild-mannered James Comey is working in the FBI library when he is bitten by a radioactive history book. From that moment on, the 56 year-old boy has the power to change history—but it is a power he cannot control. All he gets is a feeling of mild nausea when it’s about to happen. Doomed to shape history but never on purpose, he is: James Comey, Historical Figure. Today is: Friday. Won’t you chronicle our hero’s exploits with me?

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Carlson agrees with King: “Nothing racist” about tweet

Fox News personality and racism expert Tucker Carlson

Boarding school graduate Tucker Carlson, whose first job out of college was an editorial position at Policy Review, knows something about the relationship between demographics and destiny. His father was George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the Seychelles and ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as Voice of America. His stepmother is the heir to the Swanson frozen food fortune. From these beginnings, Tucker somehow found his way into broadcasting and conservative politics. Yesterday he interviewed Rep. Steve King (R-IA) in this capacity, discussing the congressman’s controversial tweet from this weekend. And he held King’s feet to the fire in his signature, hard-nosed style. Quote:

Everything you said is, I think defensible, and probably right. The problem with the [other peoples’ babies] tweet was it suggested a racial component of American identity.

Yeah, that was the problem, wasn’t it? Fortunately, the two men talked it over, and they agreed there was nothing racist about King’s tweet. Video after the jump.

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Friday links! I guess this is real edition

Trumps at the Make America Great Again Welcome Concert last night—Evan Vucci

The problem with electing as president a habitually lying reality TV personality is that you sort of lose track of what’s real. Even after the national embarrassment of making Donald Trump president, I didn’t expect him to actually take office. He didn’t want that, right? He just wanted to win. Surely, in the days before anyone tried to swear him in, he would appear on television and give us all a stern lecture about the importance of taking our roles as informed voters seriously. Then he would hand things over to our next president, the real one. That’s not happening. Remember the jokes we all made two summers ago about how hilarious President Trump would be? That’s what’s happening. Today is Friday, and our intuitive sense of what’s real is not as reliable as we think. Won’t you dream that you woke up with me?

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Is this the funniest Holocaust joke?

Norm Macdonald, the master, ages.

Norm Macdonald, the master, in middle age

Whenever someone declares a superlative—the best joke, the worst president, the most boneheaded play of the game—you should ask what the second-most was. Superlatives are dumb. The question of the second-funniest Holocaust joke calls attention to the problems of the genre. The Holocaust was many things, but inherently funny it wasn’t. It was inherently shocking, and most Holocaust jokes focus on audacity—either the audacity in the mere act of telling them or some put-on insensitivity to their subject. That’s cheating. Anyone can find shock humor in history’s worst genocide, but it takes a deft hand to make a Holocaust joke genuinely funny. Enter Norm Macdonald:

That’s the funniest Holocaust joke I’ve ever heard. Dissection after the jump.

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Close Reading: Donald Trump on cybersecurity

Donald Trump calls Apple CEO Tim Cook to find out if his laptop has the internet.

Donald Trump asks Apple CEO Tim Cook if his laptop has the internet.

Alert reader/covert breeder John Smick sent me this passage from the transcript of a New York Times interview with Donald Trump. The story that emerged from that interview, in July, focused on his now-infamous refusal to commit to defending NATO allies. But he also had this to say about the importance of cybersecurity:

But certainly cyber has to be a, you know, certainly cyber has to be in our thought process, very strongly in our thought process. Inconceivable that, inconceivable the power of cyber. But as you say, you can take out, you can take out, you can make countries nonfunctioning with a strong use of cyber.

The management would like to remind you that this man is 70 years old. Close reading after the jump.

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