Over at the New York Times, Angie Drobnic Holan has written an interesting guest editorial about her work as a political fact-checker. Holan works for PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-Prize winning project of the Tampa Bay Times to determine the accuracy of public statements. When you think about it, every news organization in America should do that—especially since Holan notes that fact-check stories get a lot of internet traffic after debates and other news events. Now is a good time for fact-checking. “I see accurate information becoming more available and easier for voters to find,” she writes. “By that measure, things are pretty good.”
More than one of you sent me news that Shia LaBeouf says he was raped during #IAMSORRY, the performance-art apology for plagiarizing Daniel Clowes that was itself plagiarized from Marina Abramovic. Sorry—we got sucked into a Baudrillardian whirlpool there. The important part of the sentence is that somebody raped Shia LaBeouf, or so he said in an interview with Dazed. His description of events—a woman entered the exhibit, lashed his legs with a cane, and raped him while her boyfriend waited outside—conflicts with reports from his fellow artists. Also, it is insane. But to even allude to these issues is to question the narrative of a victim of sexual assault, which is wrong. I quote the AV Club’s Sean O’Neal:
But to question any of these details…is to enter into the always-uncomfortable arena of casting doubt on a sexual assault allegation…to blame the victim. Timed as it is in the midst of the continued controversy surrounding Bill Cosby, LaBeouf’s story could also be seen as commentary on the way society treats rape accusations, particularly when they involve a celebrity. But, again, to even suggest there may be some other, “artistic” purpose to LaBeouf coming forward with this would be to trivialize a charge of sexual assault.
I swear, if that son of a bitch made us think about this on purpose…
This photo of one of several hipster traps to appear recently around New York was sent to me by Big Game, and it clearly represents a new epoch in the nebulous socio-aesthetic construction that is hipsterdom. First of all, I bet I could get that beer out of there without getting my hand caught. Second of all, the best part about irony is that you can even use it on irony. Once you do, your newly ironic approach to your previously sincere experience of irony seems like the only reasonable perspective. It’s the logical next step, even though it is prima facie absurd, and the paradox between these two understandings of the same relation can be resolved by noting that, oh yeah, the thing you did in the first place was absurd, too. This week’s link roundup is full of such progressions, in which logic demands more absurdity from absurdity. It’s the inductive narrative of history, and it’s happening all around us—even to Glenn Beck. When’s somebody going to make a trap with a Bible, an airplane bottle of scotch and a Ho-Ho in it?
Show of hands, everybody: How many of you remember, from the 2008 election, the specifics of then-candidate Obama’s plan to adjust the federal tax code and gradually undo George Bush’s tax cuts? Okay, now how many of you remember Joe the Plumber? I’m willing to bet that if there wasn’t a massive discrepancy in responses to those two questions, it’s only because Combat! is read by the fourteen smartest people in America. The rest of us don’t like tax code. We like TV, and that’s because we don’t like politics—we like stories. Amidst the blurred tangle of vaguely recollected plans that is* the push for health care reform, nothing is so memorable as the fictional Death Panel, the climactic scene in the story of a government bent on getting between you and your doctor. Don’t believe me? Nearly fifty percent of Americans do, because the difference between history and a story is that you remember a story. According to Eliot Spitzer—yes, that Eliot Spitzer—in Slate, the Republican Party is hard at work concocting another story about financial services reform, and they’ve gotten Frank Luntz to write it. Luntz was the primary author of last year’s Harry Potter and the Abortioner’s Throne, and he’s already released a teaser memo about how Republicans should talk about financial regulation. This sucker’s gonna be a sequel.