Friday links! Declinism edition

A 12 year-old does the "make it rain" gesture in a song her parents paid to produce that is currently #29 on the Hot 100.

A 12 year-old does the “make it rain” gesture in a song her parents paid to produce that is currently #29 on the Hot 100.

Alison Gold’s “Chinese Food,” about how she likes Chinese food, has hit #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her parents paid to have the song and video produced by ARK Music Factory, the same company responsible for Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” It’s kind of gross that adolescent rich girls can get professional-quality production and songwriting for vanity projects, but it’s terrifying that ARK Music Factory can make those vanity projects into hits. They’ve done it twice now—three times if you count “It’s Thanksgiving.” Today is Friday, popular culture is an algorithm that only requires Patrice Wilson to select a day or food, and the time has come for us to embrace the dread declinism. Won’t you admit that everything is going to hell with me?

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North Korea plans nuclear Pope, probably



It cannot be a coincidence that two historically unusual events both occurred yesterday. First, the Pope retired—something that hasn’t happened in 600 years. Hours later, North Korea announced that it had completed a third underground nuclear test—something that hasn’t happened ever, and which only has two near precedents. These events are so rare that the odds of them both happening on the same day are nigh infinitesimal. There can only be one explanation: they are the same event. Irrefutable argument for North Korean supremacy after the jump.

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Friday links! Varieties of human experience edition

"I actually find nothing strange about Antonin Scalia. Bafflingly, I regard Antonin Scalia as the default human condition. Now bring me Solo and the Wookie."

We at Combat! blog spend a lot of time considering the problem of others. Partly that’s because I work from home, where I live with several terrariums. When you live alone, have no coworkers and socialize with an insular peer group, it’s easy to start thinking that other people are basically the same as you. They are not. The human experience is characterized first by its stunning variety, and what one person considers the givens of existence are, to another, mere trifles. Take lying, for example. When I lie, I have to take care that what I’m saying sounds like the truth. Otherwise, people will start to think less of me, and because I see the same people over and over again—the colloquial term for this phenomenon is “friends”—my life will get worse. For other people, lying is a sort of formality, the way Japanese people say ittadakimasu before eating. They just have to make the gesture of a declarative statement, and even though nobody believes them, that gesture is enough. It’s probably because they have no friends and the truth means to them what Rembrandt’s Christ With Arms Folded means to a labrador, but who knows? This week’s link roundup is chock full of absurd behavior undertaken by weirdos, and it serves to remind us that other people are startlingly different. Won’t you shudder in disrecognition with me?

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