Here are the weakest things that caught my attention this week.
Getting too Happy That Trump Lost
A Slate piece captures the attitude: “Donald Trump Lost the Iowa Caucus. Good job, America.” Man, don’t be patting America, or at least the 150,000 or so very white people in it who voted their preference for Ted Cruz over The Donald last night, because here’s the thing. They voted for TED FUCKING CRUZ. Why should we congratulate them for that? That’s like saying to your daughter, “Congratulations for not marrying Warren Jeffs. I’m sure this nice Charles Manson fellow is a much happier choice.”
The thing about Trump is that he makes all the GOP’s other crazy candidates appear more sane than they are, at least in the eyes of the vapid motherfuckers we overpay to be media pundits. This is unfortunate, because it means that guys like Marco Rubio, whose actual policy positions put him to the right of Mussolini, gets credit for being a conventional, responsible politician:
Responsible establishment candidate Marco Rubio wants a $4 trillion tax cut, a war with Iran, a balanced budget, and to shut down mosques.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 1, 2016
The worst thing about the GOP primary is that someone will win.
Staying on the Presidential race for a second.
Hillary versus Bernie Rage Olympics
As the Iowa Caucuses approached this week, fans of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders took turns flaying each other on social media. The nasty flies in both directions.
Dear Hillary supporters: jumping into my TL with insults won’t change my support for #BernieSanders & makes you look desperate & rude.
— GottaLaff (@GottaLaff) February 2, 2016
I was going to support Hillary but then a bunch of strangers on the Internet yelled at me to “DO MY RESEARCH” & now I still am.
— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) February 1, 2016
Folks, I doubt this’ll do a lot of good, but let me say this right now. A lot of you social media progressives are middle class types who get your health care from your jobs and don’t need things like the Affordable Care Act and EITC to see you through. I need at least one and sometimes both of those things, and I really, really can’t afford to let the Republicans take control of all three branches of the Federal Government, knock off the ACA, start a war with Iran, stick another two or three Alitos on the court, and in general fuck things up royal. This is going to be hard election. It’s going to be close. And if a bunch of half-wits shouting they won’t vote for the Democratic candidate if it isn’t the one of their choice make it so I lose my health insurance, I will be beyond pissed off.
I happen to like both candidates. I feel that Bernie Sanders has opened up conversations on a lot of issues that are important to me, but I also think that his view of the other side is inaccurate–Republicans don’t take the positions they do because the 1% pay them; The 1% pay Republicans for taking positions they’re already ideologically predisposed to hold–and his appeals to political purity leave me mistrustful. I’m not saying Bernie Sanders isn’t a basically honest person, but let’s not insult our own intelligence by pretending he’s not a politician and would never disappoint us as President. Still, I’ve admired his advocacy and his work in both Houses of Congress since he started. Bernie has moved the Overton window in a healthy direction, and if his ideas don’t win this time (as I think they won’t), they and the movement backing them will stand much better chances of winning down the road thanks to what Bernie’s doing in this campaign.
On the other side, Hillary Clinton does tailor her politics to the moment, but that’s true of everyone who’s been at or near the top of the political world for decades, and it has its uses. Such people can be pushed, which means, if they don’t do what you want, some of that is on you for not pushing hard enough. Also, I think she’s had enough ring time with the political right that she can handle them, frustrate them, and expose their foolishness, which will be valuable because, if she becomes President, she’ll be dealing with a hostile U.S. House (and possibly in 2019, a hostile U.S. Senate as well) for much of her first term at least. During that time, I think she’ll put some pretty good Supreme Court justices on the bench, keep up the Iran agreement, preserve the Affordable Care Act, and keep the Ryan budget a mere theory. Beyond that, I like Hillary. I like that she’s weathered all she’s had to, survived, and kept trying, when my attitude would have been “Fine. Fuck you all! Suck my dick, you fucking ingrates!” That attitude is why I can never be a politician. Hillary can. And in this race, though it was a hard decision for me, she has my support.
But if Bernie does pull the upset, he has it too.
Bug me about it in comments or on social media and, like O’Ren Ishii, I collect your fucking head.
Rutanya Alda tries to defend the Oscars on diversity, blows whatever credibility she had.
I thought the thing I’d be maddest at Rutanya Alda for doing was appearing in Amityville 2, one of the most stomach churningly miserable flicks I’ve ever seen. But her column in The Hollywood Reporter made me like her less. It starts with her claim that actors are the least racist people she knows. Right off she fails to recognize that what’s at issue here is the systematic exclusion of people of color from opportunities in Hollywood, not the racial animus, or lack thereof, coming from actors Rutanya Alda happens to know. From there, her argument deteriorates, as she accuses actors of color of just not working as hard for their success as white actors while demanding unearned benefits. (Gee, who else do we hear this from?)
A few years ago, I had a situation arise which completely exemplifies our recent troubles. An Asian actress friend of mine wished to join the Academy. She had theater and TV credits, but little in the way of film credits. I cautioned her that she may not be accepted because of this, but her response was only that she was a minority and therefore would get in. Needless to say, she did not because she lacked the essential credentials. This friend of mine then turned around and blamed the Academy for not accepting her because of her race, the very thing she was convinced would get her in in the first place. Now with your new policies and the climate they create, my friend will apply again and this time most likely she will be accepted. Her eligibility has not changed — she did not have the film credentials then, nor does she now. But now, perhaps, that may just be enough.
Among the lessons to take away from this column, don’t have Rutanya Alda as your friend. She’ll turn you into a shrill two-dimensional stereotype in service of proving she and her other friends aren’t bigots. It never occurred to her that the reason her Asian actress friend had a hard time accumulating film credits is that booking a job as an Asian actress in films is a bitch wrapped in a nightmare inside of an nigh impossibility in an industry where the default female role is white (and under 30). Maybe her friend hoped the academy would recognize this reality and seek to broaden its membership in spite of it. Well, not if Rutanya Alda can help it.
Frankly, I preferred Alda playing a supporting role in Dino De Laurentiis’s Spooky House of Poop and Incest.
30 Years Ago This Week, Challenger Exploded
It still gets me down. I was in my Algebra II class, when Eric P., our class’s dullest student, bounded in and announced, almost happily it seemed, that the space shuttle Challenger had blown up. Nobody believed him, but a short time later the morning announcement from the principal confirmed it. The rest of the day was kind of a daze, at least until I got home and saw the footage, including that flash just after “Challenger go for throttle-up” that blew open the external fuel tank and…well…you know.
And 83 Years Ago This Week, Adolf Hitler Became Chancellor of Germany
Do I need to remind you that this sucked? Well, 24% of you in Iowa voted for fucking Trump, so I guess I do.
Until next week, that was “The Week in Weak”.