Maybe it was just that 1/20th of a second, but Barack Obama looks really, really tired. Perhaps his facial muscles aren’t used to his new “fuck it, we’ll do it live” approach to governing. Since the 2014 election, when Democrats across the country ran from his agenda and lost anyway, the president has both embraced bold action and reaped the benefit of long-term policies. The stock market is at an all-time high, he has outperformed Reagan on job growth—or not, depending on whom you ask—and his approval rating now approaches that of Reagan in his sixth year. Ronald Reagan! The greatest president in American history, provided you pieced together American history from Sarah Palin speeches. But I presume conservatives will rally behind Obama now, since the indicators suggest they should.
As you would know if you weren’t so preoccupied trying to choose worst crab, Monday was the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananman Square massacre, when the Chinese government rolled out tanks to quash pro-democracy demonstrations and killed several hundred protestors. They don’t like to talk about it. “They,” in this case, means the leaders of whatever weirdo system of government used to be run by the Chinese communist party, now the fabulously wealthy leaders of a billion-person market police state. When “they” refers to the Chinese people, they would like to talk about stuff like Tiananmen Square a lot. That’s why they/they were delighted/alarmed when the Shanghai Stock Exchange fell exactly 64.89 points on Monday, evoking the date 6/4/89.
In part because we wake gripped by existential terror every morning, we at the Combat! blog offices like to paint the present American moment as one of unusual discord. In this way, we resemble our predatory stepbrothers in the more, ahem, widely-consumed media, who often act as if American politics were more fractious now that it was in, say, the 19th century. Such claims seem convincing—I totally see more modern people accusing one another of not being citizens than I see knickerbockers settling disagreements with sword canes—but how can I know? If only there were some means of quantifying intranational dissent, so I could know with mathematical certainty how the partisan turmoil of my age compares to that of my forebears. I suppose I’ll just have to give up and read the Bi—boom! Logarithmic plotting of correlation between stock market crashes and secessionist movements, pussies! Props to James Erwin, not only for the link but for much of the original research used in the link. He’s also raising a child.
It’s Friday, and that means it’s time to party/discard all ideological systems and embrace nihilism. That may sound a little extreme to you, especially if you have loved ones or something, but as near as I can tell this week saw all existing belief systems refuted. Capitalism, Judeo-Christian theology, enlightenment rationalism, Steven Baldwin—just about every meaningful narrative you can think of failed to shepherd the world toward anything but arbitrary suffering this week. First of all, this is why I am no longer asked to make toasts at weddings. Second of all, only bold living can afford us any solace now, as we snatch at tatters of pleasure along our ever-accelerating tumble into a mass grave. Who wants a burger?