One fun thing about the collapse of western civilization is that all our old favorites are coming back. New Robocop movie? Hell yeah! Return of rompers and bomber jackets? Yes please. Sudden ubiquity of retro celebrities such as Kardashians and Donald Trump? Um…okay, I guess. Crass materialism that gives way to old-time bigotry and increasingly anti-democratic struggle for control of the security state? Wait, stop—that’s too retro for me. Oh, you set everything in motion decades ago, and now we must numbly watch it all play out as the events of the path frog-march us into a terrifying future? Well, okay, since you worked on it. Today is Friday, and it’s hard to be nostalgic for a past that won’t leave. Won’t you greet the old favorites with me?
Donald Trump is the Garfield of politics: fucking stupid, but in the newspaper every day. He must be great, though, because 20% of Republican-leaning voters who responded to a Quinnipiac poll said he was their guy. That puts him ahead of both the guy who stopped the teacher’s union and the bad president’s brother. Trump has been the front runner since he announced his candidacy.There must be something about him elite media dictators like myself just don’t understand—something authentic. Something real—whatever it is, it’s definitely real. Today is Friday, and we all know the wisdom of crowds, so where does that leave us? Won’t you play the fool with me?
Poker strategists sometimes describe unskilled behavior as “coinciding with correct play.” For example, the way most people play poker badly is by calling every bet. If you bluff such a player, even in a situation where he absolutely should fold, he will call your bet and win. His mistake coincides with correct play. From the perspective of conservative Republicans, the Islamic State coincided with correct play when it banned the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution from schools in Mosul. Also, the Islamic State is establishing public school curricula in northern Iraq now. At least we don’t have to worry about Saddam Hussein anymore, right? Guys?
The verdicts are in, and once again half of the country absolutely cannot compass the reasoned values of the other half. You would think that, in the socially liberal America of 2013, gay marriage would be a simple issue. It’s not as if gay people wanted to marry straight people. This question of what liberties the US government will afford is the rare controversy in which the rights of one side overlap not at all on the rights of the other. They don’t even have to eat at the same lunch counter. Yet bigots across the country are scandalized that the Supreme Court has denied them the right to curtail the rights of others. Today is Friday, and some people cannot leave well enough alone. Won’t you condemn them smugly with me?
It was a classic story of the cruelty implicit in the American dream: Rick Perry, born son of struggling ranchers and once a serious contender for President, is now reduced to being the millionaire governor of Texas. His meteoric rise A) lasted about a week and B) only made his fall more vertiginous—and all for the simple crime of never knowing what he was doing. Perry has formally withdrawn his candidacy for the Republican nomination and, in one last act of electoral incompetence, instructed his followers to support Newt Gingrich. That’s like your dog running away and, as he goes, suggesting that you play fetch with the microwave. In a completely unrelated story, it turns out that Rick Santorum actually won Iowa.