Ted Cruz’s memoir, A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America, sold 11,854 copies in its first week—more than 18 of the 20 titles on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. But the Times has declined to include A Time for Truth in its list, citing evidence of “strategic bulk purchases” intended to manipulate sales. Apparently the gray lady has an algorithm for that, and they’re standing by it, even as the Cruz campaign cries foul. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal and Publisher’s Weekly have included the book on their own lists—the latter, as the Washington Post notes, “in fourth place between books from former Playboy bunny Holly Madison and enthusiastic facial-expression-maker Aziz Ansari.”
I put little stock in the interpretation of dreams. I also reject the notion that people say what they really think when they’re drunk, that Freudian slips are bursts of honesty, and that the true mind of the Republican Party is expressed at its fringes. The Tea Party and Infowars.com do not tell us what conservatism has been thinking all along. They tell us what we have been thinking of conservatism all along. Like dreams, the communications of America’s resurgent right are notable for their disconnection from reality, not their insight into it. If you would like to glimpse a veritable Neverland, check out Mark Judge’s call for conservatives to embrace rock and roll. It is two years old and utterly irrelevant, like your recurring nightmare about getting an erection during swim lessons, but it is affecting nonetheless, like same. Insane quote after the jump.
As a modern, intellectually engaged American, there’s nothing I like better than a study that shows something. Granted, some studies show better stuff than others. When studies show that certain organic compounds affect the reaction rate of ATP synthase, for example, I get extremely bored. But when studies show stuff that I kind of knew anyway—like people in sweatpants are less likely to know where their kids are, or coffee is good for you—I perk right up. Luckily for me, the Huffington Post exists. Yesterday they observed their bimonthly tradition of linking to a scientific study that suggests conservatives are dumber than progressives. The study in question is right here, and it’s worth reading to understand the methodology researchers used to correlate increasingly conservative views with “low-effort thinking.”
By now you may have heard about Jared Lee Loughner, the Arizona man accused of shooting Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people at a meet-your-congressperson even in Tuscon Saturday. Besides a slough of community college professors only too eager to talk about how weird he was in class, not much is known about Loughner. Or rather, a ton is known about Jared Lee Loughner, but it doesn’t really fit together. For example, he made this YouTube video. It’s constructed around formal syllogisms in which meaning flickers like those things you see on the periphery of your vision when you’re really tired, but it makes no sense at all. There are references to the Gold Standard and the Constitution, but there are also references to “conscience dreaming” and the US government trying to control the structure of English grammar. It doesn’t really hold together as an ideology, because Jared Loughner is a crazy person. That’s bad news for the people trying to triangulate his actions within contemporary American politics, and there are a lot of them. In the aftermath of his senseless attack, both halves of our fractured national discourse are scrambling to make Jared Loughner a charactering in some narrative they’ve been condemning all along.
Remember in college when you were hooking up with this girl pretty regularly, and eventually you sat down and the two of you decided that you were going to just be what you were and not worry about labels like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend,” and it seemed like you had discovered a bold new way of living right up until some dude started hitting on her at a party? Well, the 2010 Nevada senatorial race is the party, and John Ashjian is that dude. As of a few weeks ago, he’s running against Harry Reid as the official candidate of the Tea Party of Nevada. Unfortunately, the creation of the Tea Party of Nevada seems to coincide with the announcement of his candidacy. Previously, retired CPAs in Nevada who got all their news from daytime talk radio were represented by the Northern Nevada Tea Party, the Reno Tea Party, or the political action committee Anger Is Brewing. These organizations, as well as the national Republican Party, have suggested that Ashjian’s candidacy is a liberal plot—an attempt to split the conservative and anti-Washington vote in a race where Harry Reid’s seat is seriously threatened. A woman named Elizabeth Crum, writing in a column called The Blog on a website called Nevada News Bureau—which describes itself as, simply, “an independent new service”—writes of the Tea Party of Nevada that “I cannot find any evidence that any of these principals have ever been involved in any Tea Party activities, until now.” Are you beginning to see why having some sort of defined structure is useful in politics? Not to mention journalism?