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.
Patriotic hyperbolist Rick Barber has released a new campaign commercial, and it is to his last commercial what 2001: A Space Odyssey is to Lolita. Props to The Cure for the link. In preparation for his run-off against Martha Roby for the Republican nomination to represent Alabama’s 2nd District in Congress, Barber has once again enlisted the help of some dead Presidents, but not in the cool way like Nas. In a video called, wisely, “Slavery,” Barber takes his case against the “tyrannical health care bill” to the ghost of George Washington and, at the climax of the narrative, the reanimated corpse Abe Lincoln, who is tastefully shot from the front.* Then comes bonus material. A crowd of people sing the fourth verse of the Star-Spangled Banner amid footage of wars, wars, wars, followed by a shot of Barber and Dale Peterson watching Glenn Beck in a bar. Since he’s going out, Peterson has brought his gun. Video after the jump.
It is suddenly, finally summer in Missoula, and after three consecutive days of 65+ temperatures I can’t remember there ever having been a winter.* Here we find yet another metaphor for the present age, when the internet—which, as the New York Times keeps reminding me, is changing everything—allows us to live in customized mental landscapes whose consistency elides everything else. From my perspective, this is awesome. I get to sit in my apartment, watching Frisky Dingo and reading about existentialism, weird punk bands and money policy, and rarely am I reminded of the existence of, say, Dave & Buster’s. Everyone once in a while, though, one catches a glimpse of another world, similar to one’s own yet horrifyingly different, and like a character in an HP Lovecraft story, one has no choice but to go insane. Fortunately, tomorrow is Saturday. In consideration of a weekend in which you hopefully won’t have to judge true from false or right from wrong, Combat! presents glimpses of worlds baffling in their grotesquerie. You may just find the view…unsettling.