Yesterday was not a good day for Paul Ryan. First, Time magazine leaked these candid photos of him pumping iron in the ol’ blue space. Then he had to go on TV and debate Turbo Biden. Then he tried to ramp his skateboard over a doghouse and pooped his pants. That last one is slander, but the past 24 hours really have been the story of Ryan destroying himself to get people to like him. Today is Friday, and nothing is less appealing than trying to be liked. Won’t you scrabble desperately for approval with me?
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.