The Blount County courthouse (pre-destroyed)
Like any decent person, I was thrilled to learn that Blount County, Tennessee was considering a resolution asking God to pass over them when he punishes America for allowing gay marriage. After citing “natural law” and “reason” as forces superior to the federal government, the resolution concludes:
We adopt this resolution begging His favor in light of the fact that we have been forced to comply and recognize that the State of Tennessee, like so many other God-fearing States, MAY have fallen prey to a lawless judiciary in legalizing what God and the Bible expressly forbids.
What could be more Christian than asking God to spare you when he punishes other people? It’s like Jesus said in Luke 23:34: “Father, fuck them but forgive me, because I had nothing to do with this.” There’s something enormously pleasing about pious Tennesseans following the teachings of Christ by calling down God’s wrath on everyone but them. But then I read that the Blount County Commission declined to hear this resolution last night.
Just in time for the weekend, the temperatures of both Missoula and Roger Ebert have dropped precipitously. Did you ever notice that catastrophes come in twos? I’m just exploiting your cognitive bias—really, did you ever notice that when something bad happens, you can always think of something else to complain about? Gloom and doom go together like tomorrow and your inevitable death. Today is Friday, and the week has been full of pointed injustices with which to prod our self-pity glands. The self-pity glad is located just behind the soft palate and in front of the uvulua. Keep poking with your toothbrush—you’ll find it. In the meantime, won’t you lament our collective lot with me?
Shape of a dude batting way above his average
If you’ve spent any time teaching rhetoric or composition,* you’ve likely noticed that many people understand on an instinctive level what a sentence sounds like but have no idea what to put inside it. I became fascinated by this phenomenon in the years before I withdrew to my mountain lair, back when I used to spend hours a day watching high school students compose sentences. “Although,” they would begin, and then lapse into a state of deep concentration, as if they A) had no idea what they were going to say but B) knew the second part would contradict the first part. In the same way that we all learned language by mimicking sounds before we knew they were vehicles for meaning, many of us have mastered the art of building the shape of a truthful statement and then filling it with total bullshit. This week’s link roundup features statements, actions and ideas that resemble decency in silhouette, but which turn out to be crassly unethical and vapid in content. It’s the perfect preparation for a weekend whose structure will be exactly the same as every other, but which will of course turn out to be an unprecedented, irreplaceable experience that will probably involve throwing up. Won’t you bring a little bile to your mouth with me?
Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey of Tennessee, explaining to children "the other kind of book."
Republican senatorial candidate and Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee Ron Ramsey told a constituent in Chattanooga this month that it was arguable “whether being a Muslim is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life or cult, whatever you want to call it.” Hint: it’s not a nationality.* Ramsey, who is currently running third in his primary as the favored Tea Party candidate, made the statement in response to a question about “the threat that’s invading our country from the Muslims.” This atmosphere of sense and syntax seems to have coalesced around plans to build an Islamic center in nearby Murfreesboro—something you may have heard about on ABC. You know the country is upholding its stated ideal of religious tolerance when a plan to build new mosque is national news.
Okay, even I can't disagree with that plank of the platform.
Here’s a head-scratcher: Say you’ve got a nascent political party—it’s got a name and everything—comprised of people primarily unified by their distrust of politicians. Your party is the culmination of a grassroots movement, a coming together of regular folks who are sick of the kind of people who relentlessly grasp at power. You’re going to remake the country you love, by doing away with top-down leadership, the arrogance of office, exclusionary parliamentary procedure and stultifying bureaucracy. It’s a revolutionary movement! So, um, how do you decide who runs it?