Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘worst ideas ever put forth by anyone ever

Friday Night Links

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* So the Romney campaign is imploding earlier than scheduled. Mitt Romney’s unnecessary lie. MeFi. Josh Marshall says we’ll know the story’s really turned when the former chair of the McCain campaign says release the tax records.

* The grammar news is that Dr. Elaine Stotko, from the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, and her student, Margaret Troyer, have discovered that school children in Baltimore are using the slang word yo as a gender-neutral singular pronoun.

* Dan Harmon talks to Marc Maron on Attack of the Show about what the hell happened.

In Hell, “We Shall Be Free”: On Breaking Bad. 

At the heart of the social critique is a question of responsibility for “evil” and where to locate it (even though, of course, none of the series refer to “God” or any religious tradition at all). In The Wire, the responsibility lies with the “game” — the logic of the streets, the logic of politics, the “social facts” that weave an all-encompassing, interconnected web. The Sopranos suggests that the locus of responsibility lies in the unconscious of Tony Soprano; its explanation of “evil” is at heart Freudian. Mad Menlargely evades this question; its driving philosophy has little to do with “moralistic” questions of human responsibility but rather the individual’s abiding unhappiness, and how modern capitalism intensifies it. (That a group of libertarians recently threw a “Mad Men” themed party, unironically championing Don Draper as a hero of better times when corporations weren’t “ashamed” of themselves, only underscores the slippery-ness of Mad Men, the manipulability of its message. That, or these particular libertarians don’t know how to read.)

Within this quartet, Breaking Bad is most similar to The Wire, and indeed is its twin and mirror image. While The Wire explored how the drug trade decimated black urban America, Breaking Bad looks at how drugs infiltrate the other half: suburban white America. A unifying, coherent philosophy is possessed by each, and both execute it propulsively and faithfully. David Simon likened The Wire to a Greek tragedy, by which he meant that sociology is an omnipotent, merciless god that twirls with the fate of mortals. In Breaking Bad the villain is not sociology, but a human being; what destroys the mortals is not a system, but a fellow mortal. This is a human-centered vision of the origin of evil. It is Old Testament at its core.

Just Another Princess Movie.

What Terry Sullivan’s Reinstatement at U. Va Really Tells Us about the Future of Higher Ed.

* The headline reads, “Daniel Tosh Reportedly Scrambling to Find Non-Rape Joke Before New Show Premieres Today.” This story gets worse the deeper you go.

* World War Z fiasco watch: Brad Pitt refuses to speak to the director.

* Should the Nittany Lions get the NCAA “death penalty”? What a horrible mess.

* Is Amazon really going to launch same-day delivery? Sorry, Mom and Pop, but this doesn’t look good.

* And the “worst idea ever put forth by anyone, ever” contest has been reopened in light of the forthcoming Twins sequel.

All the Tuesday Night Links, and It’s Really Tuesday This Time, or Maybe Wednesday, Who Can Say

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* I put up a MetaFilter post on the Daniel Tosh rape threat incident that got so much attention today, which is a relatively decent read as Internet comment threads go despite expectedly high rates of rape apologism and mansplaining. Two more good pieces on the subject: zunguzungu’s (…) and Student Activism’s “Goddamn it, Louis.” Here’s Aaron:

The phrase “rape culture” describes the way people don’t get too upset at the thought of a woman being raped. They might even laugh at it. It might seem funny, such a funny word. But nothing about this is just a joke. It’s about devaluing the sanctity of certain people’s security in their person, about refusing to feel bad about it, about taking a pride in it, even. Saying “wouldn’t it be funny if a violent act happened to this person” is almost the definition of how that works. If a terrible thing happened to a person, you say, I would not grieve. I would laugh. Their pain is not worth my empathy, or yours. Their pain makes me stronger, bigger, more important. Their pain is worth nothing.

* The important questions: Could the SHIELD helicarrier actually fly? Could Batman really fly? What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light? The last one (the first post of Randall Monroe’s new What If? blog) is absolutely not to be missed.

* Call it Kotsko’s Law: Any political ideology putting itself forward as a brave new path beyond the stale opposition of left and right is always going to be either boring old liberalism or else a new variant on fascism.

* Teasing Wes Anderson’s next.

* Tomorrow’s headlines today: here’s the next set of challenges to Obamacare, and it’s even more weaselly and ridiculous than the last round.

* digby:  I think we may actually be coming to the point of debating whether or not to repeal the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act. And it will fail, of course. At first. The country isn’t there yet. But it will represent one more step in the disintigration of America’s moral fabric (which wasn’t that strong to begin with.) Like torture, it’s in the political ether now, no longer completely taboo. This is how this sort of thing is mainstreamed.

* You can’t believe they didn’t have it already: Obama Offers Health Insurance To Seasonal Firefighters.

Mitt Romney says he wants Sesame Street to start running advertisements.

Suppression vs. Turnout, the 2012 War. Relatedly: Ed Kilgore catches us up on Post-2008 Demographic Changes.

Yelping with Cormac McCarthy.

* U.S. Sees Hottest 12 Months And Hottest Half Year On Record: NOAA Calls Record Heat A One-In-1.6-Million Event. Really astounding coincidence! But you know you can’t predict the weather.

* Confirmed: fracking can pollute.

* It’s the 21st century – why are we working so much? The Politics of Getting a Life. Both via MetaFilter.

* And the worst idea ever put forth by anyone, ever: Let’s Draft Our Kids. Thank you for your submissions. The contest is now closed.