Unpacking that Skittles analogy

Donald Trump, Jr. upholds the family brand.

Donald Trump, Jr. attends a costume party as his dad.

Is there any more odious concept than Donald Trump, Jr.? His father already embodies the danger of inherited wealth: a 70 year-old brat whose claim to the presidency is that he’s been rich his whole life. Must we push the joke by giving him a child of his own? And must that child look like an extra in American Psycho? The less said about Trump, Jr. the better, lest we repeat the mistake we made with his dad. Unfortunately, he deployed a robust analogy yesterday, when he posted this image on Twitter:


It really makes you think. It also makes you dumb, by directing how you think away from basic facts about how refugees work. Letting them into the country is like eating Skittles, but their number is not like a bowl, a terrorist is not like a Skittle that kills you, and malnourished kids with big eyes and scared parents are not like candy. Otherwise, it’s a great analogy.

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As Sanders concedes, Democrats declare crying Robin Hood crying Peter Pan

Delegate Sean Kehren, known to the internet as Crying Peter Pan, in his Robin Hood hat

Sean Kehren, known to the internet as Crying Peter Pan, in his Robin Hood hat

The Democratic Party came together last night in Philadelphia, if not in camaraderie. In the end, Vermont senator and beautiful dream Bernie Sanders urged his supporters to elect Hillary Clinton, as we knew he must. But it took some wailing and gnashing of teeth. The delegation from California booed near continuously, and chants of “we trusted you” became audible over Elizabeth Warren. Ostensible show-woman Sarah Silverman lost control of the crowd when told to stretch it out before Paul Simon, first telling the audience she’d been instructed to kill time and then refusing to join Al Franken’s attempts at jokes. Hot-takers loved her remark that Bernie-or-bust rowdies were “acting ridiculous,” but the night’s most affecting moments were in the reaction shots. A lot of Bernie delegates cried during his speech, including the man pictured above, whom the internet has dubbed Crying Peter Pan. In fact, that’s a Robin Hood hat, which he wore to symbolize the proposed “Robin Hood tax” on Wall Street. Delegate Sean Kehren also informs Liz Goodwin that he was crying because he was moved by Bernie’s call for unity, not because he was sad his candidate lost. Is there any better metaphor for the 2016 Democratic nominating process than misidentifying Robin Hood as Peter Pan?

Friday links! Are you a metaphor? edition

Chinese giant panda Link Link. They can't all be gems, folks.

I assume that you have already seen this wonderful video, in which Chris Matthews interviews Rick “Gather Your Armies” Barber on Hardball. Not surprisingly, Matthews was concerned with some of the content in Barber’s recent campaign advertisements, particularly his claim that the IRS can raise taxes “without representation” and the exhortation, delivered by an actor playing George Washington, to “gather your armies.” To deflect this line of questioning, Barber deployed the classic defense of the person caught saying absurd things for attention: I was speaking metaphorically. To which Matthews replies, “Are you a metaphor? Are you a metaphor [for] a guy running for office, or are you a real candidate?” It’s not called Funball, pussies. Matthews makes a point as salient as it is rare: words mean something, and while their figurative meaning is important, their literal meaning counts, too. This Friday’s link roundup features a lot of people saying a lot of absurd and/or false things in the name of some larger, vaguer meaning. It’s the shield of metaphor, less politely known as lying, and it’s as beaten and bright-shining as ever.

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