I don’t mean to overgeneralize, but everyone is shit. The Ivy League warmongers are in a tight race with the uneducated racists, and everyone who ought to know and/or do better is busy pandering to what segment of those audiences they imagine most lucrative. Also it’s leaf blower season, and nobody signals their turns anymore. Sometimes a small sample of unrelated events starts to seem like the end of civilization as we know it—or at least civilization as we like it—and the best thing to do with that feeling is to get it out of your system. Today is Friday, and H.L. Mencken was right: These dickcharmers are going to outlive us all. Won’t you yell through the windshield with me?
The Supreme Court rejected her religious objection case on Monday, but Kim Davis still refuses to sign marriage licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky. When history looks back on the civil rights movement of our time, it will be disgusted that the creator of Garfield clung to bigotry so. Hang on—the Combat! blog interns have informed me that Jim Davis is the creator of Garfield, and Kim Davis is the Apostolic Christian county clerk who has refused to sign marriage licenses since the Supreme Court affirmed gays’ right to marry. Now the interns suggest I use the delete key rather than transcribing these errors and corrections in real time, but I don’t let college kids tell me what to do. When history looks back on the civil rights movement of our time, it will remember this week as a turning point in the right of all Americans to do whatever by saying it’s their religion. Kim Davis is the Rosa Parks of hating gay people.
Last week, Kristian Sparks, age 5, shot and killed his two year-old sister Caroline with a rifle that had been given to him by his parents. The gun, a .22 marketed for children as My First Rifle, was kept loaded and standing in a corner of the Sparks home. Burkesville, Kentucky is the town where all this responsible behavior took place, and according to the Times, the people who live there don’t want to be seen as a symbol of America’s gun culture. A family friend says that “pointing fingers doesn’t really accomplish anything.” Three mourners at Caroline’s funeral attacked reporters across the street. And there’s this quote from county coroner Gary White:
Down in Kentucky where we’re from, you know, guns are passed down from generation to generation. You start at a young age with guns for hunting and everything.
That’s kind of a weird thing to say while standing in Kentucky.
Perhaps ironically, the beginning of something only exists in retrospect. We remember some series of events as a thing that happened and identify their leading edge, but that edge is by definition nothing when we first experience it. You can only see the beginning when you know the rest, and you don’t know the rest at the beginning. The exception to this rule is events we were expecting. We knew those would happen all along, and their beginnings are eerily recognizable, as if we were reading the third act of a novel instead of the first draft of history. Today is Friday. We all knew it was coming. The week is over, but one thing is paradoxically certain: it begins. Won’t you say you knew it all along with me?
As readers of The Onion know, AP is a peculiar style. Its combination of affected objectivity and years of layered convention make it the prose equivalent of a straight man, with the banana man being world events. The solemnity of AP style makes kind of funny occurrences very funny, like when a nun throws up. My brother sent me this AP article, headlined “Newport Aquarium Penguin Poops on Ky. Senate Floor,” with the speculation that it may include the best lead ever written. To wit:
A penguin named Paula had some business to bring to the Kentucky Senate floor on Tuesday.
Boom! But I think the perfection of this AP story extends beyond its perfect lead.