from Sargon of Akkad
The nine points needed to be understood to make the American Left a competitive party again: The Challenges in Reforming the Left
In the past, I have used a lot of hyperbole to describe things I find objectionable: Coldplay, Peter King, and the Electric Slide are a few examples that come to mind. Perhaps I spoke too harshly of these things, and for that I am sorry. Truth be told, Coldplay is not actually my least favorite thing in the universe. They’re just a band I don’t like. All the other times I claimed to harbor a passionate hatred for something, I was probably just joking around.
But the time for trivial things is over. The subject of Rick Santorum is a very serious one, and as such, I would like to offer my honest opinion: he is the fucking Devil.
Do not be fooled by all of his Bible-thumping—this is a common ruse used by Satan to disguise himself. Much of this was prophesized in the New Testament:
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth–Gog and Magog–to gather them for battle. In number they are like sand on the seashore.
— Revelation 21:7
For a while, I wondering how all these Rick Santorum supporters suddenly appeared out of nowhere, but this explains everything. Even Santorum’s cancerous impact on the Republican Party was foretold long ago:
Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republician] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.
— Barry Goldwater
Though I‘ve hated Rick Santorum for quite some time, previously I did not find it necessary to express these views in blog form. As a general rule, I only write about things I dislike when a significant number of people actually like them. For example, I would not write a blog about how much I hate malaria. Although it is certainly true, so far I have not encountered any opposition to this viewpoint. Naturally, if malaria suddenly became all the rage, I would be compelled to speak out against it.
Likewise, Rick Santorum had been rightfully marginalized for most of his career. This was particularly true after he lost his senate seat in 2006 by the largest margin ever for a GOP incumbent, and had his last name successfully redefined to mean lubeshit. But as of today, Rick Santorum is the #1 Republican answer to the question: “Who should be the next President of the United States?” Suddenly, all of that 2012 apocalypse crap is starting to sound ominous.
Back in 2008, if you told me that a 2012 GOP candidate would make me long for Mitt Romney, I would’ve called you crazy. I probably would’ve said, “Wait, how do you know that? Do you have a time machine or something? Tell me next week’s winning lotto numbers. Never mind, that can’t be true because I hate Mitt Romney. You’re crazy.” As it stands, Santorum is so wretched and horrifying that I often forget about my dislike for Romney, whom I avidly rooted for McCain to defeat in 2008.
It’s not as if party politics are clouding my judgement. While I do hate most Republicans, I don’t exactly go around singing the praises of Chris Dodd or John Kerry either. For all I care, Santorum could be running against Richard Nixon’s rotting corpse and I would still vote against him. I would even buy a “Nixon’s Rotting Corpse 2012” bumper sticker for my car, if that’s what it took to prevent a Rick Santorum presidency. Perhaps the lone exception is Michelle Bachmann. If Santorum and Bachmann were the only two presidential candidates–sorry but I threw up all over my keyboard before I could finish that sentence. Let’s move on.
At this point, a reasonable person might ask, “What specific policy issues make you loathe Rick Santorum so much?” I suppose I could explain them all in detail, but it seems like a fruitless exercise to me. I doubt any Santorum supporters are reading this thinking: Let’s see here, I have analyzed all of the candidates and their various platforms, and determined that Rick Santorum is the most optimal. However, I am open-minded to any contrary analyses or opinions. If you’re looking for well-informed, rational people who support Rick Santorum, you might as well be looking for diamonds up a horse’s ass, because you’re not going to find any. The defining traits of Santorum and his evil minions are ignorance and contempt for factual arguments.
Here are a few testimonials from Santorum fans, which give some insight into their typical thought process:
“I decided to support him three weeks ago. Before that, I was for Gingrich,” said Steve Izev, 34, of Westerville, Ohio. “The more popular he got, the more I liked him.”
“I don’t know a lot about him,” said Gary Henson, 32, the owner of a medical supply company in Columbus. “I like his demeanor. I like his personality.”
While it seems irresponsible to me to vote for someone you, “don’t know a lot about,” I would hesitate to try and explain this to Gary Henson from Columbus. I imagine I’d be immediately dismissed as some smug Harvard elitist.
What makes Santorum’s followers particularly dangerous is their continuing refusal to acknowledge reality. Undaunted by the truth, they constantly repeat idiotic claims that have long been refuted. A recent story about Occupy Wall Street protesters at a Santorum rally provides a telling example.
I have never been to an OWS rally, and find myself at odds with some of their views–particularly their extremely favorable stance on hacky sacks. How anyone can be entertained by a hacky sack I will never understand.
But never mind that, we need all the allies we can get to defeat this monster. Observe his hellish disregard for the truth:
The protesters, Santorum suggested, “instead of standing here unemployed, yelling at somebody” should instead “go out and get a job.”
Santorum’s supporters roared their approval, chanting “get a job” back at the Occupiers.
Take that, you bums. I don’t care if 87% of you have jobs–get a job!
As for Santorum’s army of idiots, why should I assume that any of them have jobs? It’s not like someone is paying these dickheads to stand around and listen to Rick Santorum all day.
I guess if I didn’t have to work, I would follow Rick Santorum around the country, just so I could give him the middle finger everywhere he went. Then I could brag about being the only person to flip off Rick Santorum in all 50 states. I’ll have to put that on my bucket list.
I have decided that I hate Rick Santorum so much, I am now gay just to spite him. Here is a picture of me and few dudes gaying it up:
One might ask how can someone change their sexual preference just like that. It is entirely possible, according to Santorum himself, who insists that sexual orientation is a choice. It doesn’t seem to be a terribly important choice either, because Santorum is also opposed to premarital sex and strongly opposed to gay marriage. So for practical purposes, not being married is essentially the same as being gay in Rick Santorum’s world.
Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, I like premarital sex.” Well, you’re not going to like it anymore, not after Rick Santorum outlaws all forms of birth control. To be honest, if I hadn’t just become gay, I would be even more worried about post-marital sex. I can’t afford all those kids!
I suppose it could be worse. At least the government will provide food stamps for my 14 children. Surely Rick Santorum supports food stamps, right? No, Rick Santorum thinks food stamps make people fat.
One other thing–if you agree with Rick Santorum on all these issues, but practice Islam instead of Christianity, Rick Santorum will probably kill you. But then he will announce that you have been liberated.
In general, the notion of Republicans being socially conservative seems fundamentally flawed to me. If there’s one thing Republicans love to do, it’s demonize the government. They constantly bemoan Big Government, Obamacare, government spending, government revenues (taxes), and government meddling in business. What can the government do well? Nothing.
Compare that to the social conservatism, “a form of authoritarianism often associated with the position that the national government, or the state, should have a greater role in the social and moral affairs of its citizens,” according to wikipedia.
So is the government good or bad? It’s time for Republicans to shit or get off the pot here. If the government is so bad, stop using it to pry into and legislate our private affairs. And unless your goal is widespread public mockery, stop parading around assholes like Rick Santorum.
Hi guys, welcome to the Asshole Olympics, the competition for the biggest asshole in the world of sports. Let the games begin!
It’s time for the first and only event of the Asshole games: the Biggest Asshole competition. The contestants were chosen by me, and were the first people I thought of after creating that neat logo.
Before we hand out the gold, silver, and bronze medals, let’s take a look at the runners-up:
7th Place: John Terry
In the spirit of international unity and stuff, I’ve invited a special guest to do the first entry. Please welcome my cousin from the UK, Ian Gareth Connelly:
Right, then. Welcome to the Cunt Olympics. Imagine, if you would, the biggest cunt in the world. Oh bollocks, you Yanks are probably just thinking of some huge bird who could fit a whole bloke up her fanny. Across the pond, the word “cunt” is synonymous with John Terry.
The son of a thief and a drug dealer, John Terry spends most of his time cocking around like a pisshead, running arse over tit about London. In summary, John Terry is a right old cunt who can go have a wank in a trolley.
Yikes. My British cousin is quite vulgar, even by this blog’s standards. But to his point, Terry is a belligerent drinker, known to urinate everywhere and make 9/11 jokes to Americans tourists. Though I’m sure they were a barrel of laughs on the team bus ride, I have to say that September 12th, 2001 was probably a bit soon to be breaking out those 9/11 zingers with folks from the states. I am going to wait until a close family member of John Terry dies, then call him up just to be like: “Hahahahaha!! Loser! I bet you’re all sad and stuff. Your tragedy amuses me.” Then we will be even.
6th Place: Alex Rodriguez
Even a Red Sox fan would admit that A-rod is a great hitter, but even a Yankee fan would admit that he’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame Asshole. Here is a photo to illustrate that point. It is from some magazine story about how he likes herbs and spices a lot.
The more news I hear about A-rod’s personal life, the less interest I have in ever hearing it again. In fact, that’s it. I’m tired of talking about this guy already. A-rod gets 6th place just for the funny leaves picture. He’s all like, “Dude, don’t even fuck with me when I’m holding kale. I love this shit.” Let’s just move on.
5th & 4th Place: Joe Buck & Tim McCarver
How do these two jackwagons end up announcing the World Series? Probably because it doesn’t matter. While most fans enjoy good commentators, a sports announcer can rarely be so bad that I turn off the game, which FOX and CBS both seem to have realized. I’m not sure why the winning formula for the networks is “Guy with zero personality” + “Old cranky idiot” but I guess they know what moves the ratings needle more than I do.
Joe Buck is good at talking in a monotone voice, and not much else. He comes off as a detached corporate robot most of the time. Occasionally he’ll make some stupid joke like, “Thanks Tim, I guess now we know why chicks dig the long ball!” What a jerk. Good job reminding me about a lame baseball joke from 10 years ago. Plus it’s stupid, what are you talking about, “chicks dig the long ball”? Most of the “chicks” I know hate baseball. If anything, chicks probably dig strikeouts, double plays, and other events that make the baseball game end sooner. As for female baseball fans, what makes you think they prefer “the long ball” over bunts, stolen bases, or diving defensive plays? I suppose contact hitters like Jose Reyes and Ichiro Suzuki are less popular with the ladies, compared to heart-throbs like Russell Branyan and Wily Mo Pena. Sexist.
As for Tim McCarver, imagine someone like Larry King on crack, but also he’s a former baseball player. An annoying belief among some ex-athletes is that their playing experience makes them superior students of the game, whose opinions should always be considered above those who merely study their sport–this is wrong. Experience can add to the value of an intelligent sports analyst, but it is not a requirement and it is hardly sufficient. I would not ask a horse for its opinion on the Kentucky Derby. Yet sometimes, I fear this is the path we are headed down. I can picture a 2150 version of Woody Paige, wearing one of those future-looking V-neck jumpsuits with a space helmet, going off on a rant like, “I say only an actual horse knows what it takes to win. Until you’ve had metal shoes nailed to your feet, and until you’ve been forced to run in a circle with a tiny man sitting on you, you don’t know what this sport is really about.” I guess what I’m saying is, hearing Tim McCarver speak is about as informative as listening to a horse. There is no reason he should ever be given a microphone.
BRONZE MEDAL: Roger Clemens
To fully appreciate this legendary asshole, from past and present baseball lore, let us travel back in time: one score and zero years ago, to the year 1991.
If you asked me twenty years ago, I would’ve told you my favorite song was “Ninja Rap” by Vanilla Ice. But that’s only because I was eight and the songs I knew were that song, “Jump” by Kris Kross, and a few alternate versions of “Jingle Bells” with lyrics about Batman. In spite of all that, MTV actually played music back then–and not just that TRL crap either. ’91 is often remembered for Nirvana’s Nevermind, but a long list of “strong to very strong” bands released albums that year, among them U2, Metallica, Pearl Jam, in addition to the Chili Peppers’ opus Blood Sugar Sex Magic. I think my favorite year for music was 1993, but I find it to be very close between the years 1991-1994.
For a long time, ABC’s murderer’s row TGIF lineup was anchored Family Matters. My favorite episodes where the ones where Urkel got involved in some wacky scheme with Carl Winslow, and they would end up stranded in a blizzard somewhere or being chased by bandits. But then there is a turning point, often accompanied by a poignant Winslow monologue (“Maybe I’ve been too hard on you, Steve…”) where they put their differences aside and come up with a plan. In the end, a good time was had by all.
The funny thing about 1991 is, that year Roger Clemens was my favorite athlete in the world. I had a dozen of his baseball cards, posters, and Starting Lineup figures in my room. I would read about this intense, flame-throwing hurler from Texas, who grew up idolizing Nolan Ryan, and kept his pitching hand strong by sticking it in a barrel of rice every day. I spent a few summer days throwing wiffle balls against the garage door, pretending I was Roger Clemens pitching a shutout in Game 7. When I played Little League, Roger Clemens was who I wanted to be.
Of course, the years subsequent to 1991 took a tool on these great talents: Cobain is long dead; the Chili Peppers have since evolved into some kind of Maroon 5 tribute band; and Mega-bands like U2 and Metallica can still tour pretty well, but frequently put out poor, hastily conceived studio albums.
TV shows are better today than in 1991, but if you were somehow unfortunate enough to have a television that only received ABC, you would probably think the opposite. I’m not entirely sure what they show on ABC today, but it seems to involve a lot of chimps in tuxedos juggling on unicycles, or people getting pied in the face, or both. Family Matters seemed to fall off a bit after Urkel built a machine that turned him into some GQ douchebag named Stefan Urquelle. I’m not sure why Urkel needed to build an elaborate machine to make him wear nice suits and talk three octaves lower. Couldn’t he just do that without any technology? I guess my reaction to Stefan was similar to what it would be if one of my nerdy friends showed up to work like that, wearing flashy suits and flaunting how suave he was. I wouldn’t be like, “Hey, great job being an asshole. Your performance is very convincing.” On the contrary, I would advise him not to act in such a way.
As for Clemens, his denouncement has been detailed at length, notably in the book: The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality by Jeff Pearlman. Clemens eventually left the Red Sox in 1996 and achieved success in Toronto, New York, and Houston–but burned bridges in all of those towns. In particular, Clemens pulled the old switcheroo on the Yankees by retiring in 2003, receiving dozens of farewell standing ovations in his final games, then un-retiring over the summer to sign with Houston. More famously, his steroid saga exposed him as a buffoon who was also willing to throw people under the bus to clear his name. I think it was Bill Simmons who said that when Clemens goes to the Hall of Fame, his plaque should have a cap with a middle finger on it. Due to his recent scandals, he may not have that problem–but he is always welcome here at the Asshole Olympics.
SILVER MEDAL: Skip Bayless
As a rule, men with the name “Skip” are compelled to pursue careers in meteorology or sports commentary. Our silver medalist is no exception. Bayless is ESPN’s star asshole from everyone’s least favorite sports show 1st and 10. I find his Twitter account to be a good source of typical Bayless material.
Point: Michael Bolton sucks. But he did eat a jelly doughnut yesterday. Give him that. This is the kind of hard-hitting analysis you can count on from Skip Bayless.
WATCH THIS HATERS here’s another one.
Thanks for the heads up, Skip.
Right, 1st and 10 is going to be crazy today. I heard. By the way, this is not some Skip Bayless impostor we’re talking to here–we’ve all been fooled by one of those before. The Real Skip Bayless says today’s 1st and 10 is going to be epic, i.e. “Heroic or grand in scale or character.” What sort of magical tales does Skip Bayless have in store for today?
Here Skip, let me help you out: no, no & no, no, and no. That was not epic at all. The first topic is more or less summerized by the two Bayless tweets below:
Holy shit, Rob Ryan said some stuff, then Mike Vick also said some stuff. Stop the presses–we’ve got our headline. I am not at all joking, I totally give a monkey’s ass about this.
To the extent that I care about sports after the final whistle blows, I am mostly interested in highlights, X’s and O’s, trades talks, and so on. If an athlete does something noteworthy off the field, by all means report it. What I am tired of is: ESPN reporters shoving microphones in athletes faces, demanding they make controversial remarks about someone, then contriving a story when none exists. Bayless is the poster boy for this new media age, where athletes are made to go after each other, whether they like it or not.
GOLD MEDAL: Murray Chass
Some may consider it passé for a blogger to pick on Murray Chass. After all, negative opinions about Murray Chass are fairly easy to find on the internet.
Frankly, this is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. I could probably keep going here.
Chass has recently become a whipping boy for angry baseball nerds, most too young to appreciate his respected career as a baseball reporter. What do these young punks know about the award-winning Murray Chass? Not to mention, after his recent Asshole Monthly cover story, isn’t it time we gave poor Murray a break?
Others warn that by attacking Murray Chass, I am falling into some clever trap of his, and merely emboldening his cause. Perhaps he’s using us naïve bloggers as pawns in a brilliant strategic play to increase the hit-rate for website. Let’s never speak of Murray Chass again, lest he profit from his online notoriety.
I reject both these schools of thought: criticism of Murray Chass should continue as long as he continues to write crap. It would be inaccurate to call this exercise beating a dead horse. It is more like attempting to kill a very resilient horse. For example, I am probably the 14 millionth person to point out that Murray Chass hates blogs, even though his website is by definition a blog. He says of his blog:
This is a site for baseball columns, not for baseball blogs … Murray Chass, who created this site, will do the column writing but will invite others to join him, the others being long-time columnists for daily newspapers who no longer work for newspapers.
According to Chass, modern parlance should explicitly distinguish between blogs written by former newspaper writers (“columns”) and blogs written by everyone else (“blogs”). The reason so many people have written about this is threefold:
Furthermore, it seems far-fetched to me, the suggestion that Murray Chass would read a blog like this one, condemning him as a worthless hack, and think, “Ha ha ha, he’s playing right into my hands. I want to be known the world over as a hated individual.” Although it is common in our society for people to profit from being uniquely terrible, it is rare that someone sets out ahead of time to accomplish that. What is far more likely is for a fool to believe, upon hearing a loud chorus of boos, it is because they are doing something profound and revolutionary. This attitude was addressed by one of the first Chass-hating bloggers who noted: “You should take no joy in being so wrong about something that throngs of people rise up as one to denounce you. This should not be what it means to be a writer.”
Even if Chass has really devised a secret plan to get rich by creating the Plan 9 From Outer Space of sports blogs (which I doubt since there are no advertisements on his website) who am I to stop him? It’s not like my ambition is for Murray Chass to become a homeless bum. The real endgame for critics is not to destroy Chass’s career, but his reputation.
Sorry for the lengthy introduction. I could fill a book with thousands of stories of the woeful writing of Murray Chass. For now, I will just tell one. It’s about a couple of shitty columns he wrote (he even has me calling them “columns” now, they are actually “blog posts”) one week in late March 2011.
March 20, 2011
Chass publishes an entry that is largely standard fare for him: TAKING A SABRE TO SABREMETRICS. To those unfamiliar with the silly feud Chass is involved in, let me try and explain this in the least-nerdy way possible:
Murray Chass is a baseball fan. For a long time, he and others relied on statistics in order to measure the success of baseball players: batting average, wins, and fielding percentage to name a few. Eventually, what happened was some people came up with better statistics, and started using those instead.
For some reason, this makes Murray Chass furious. The fact that statistical analysis of baseball has evolved somewhat in his lifetime is utterly unacceptable to Chass. Forget that Major League Baseball is a huge money-making endeavor, and that the jobs of baseball front offices depend on the ability to field effective baseball teams. These people cannot afford to ignore new trends–that may give their teams a competitive advantage–just because they are stubborn blowhards who think baseball is “drowning in numbers.” While we’re at it, I think financial analysis is drowning in numbers. Hey Wall Street, stop ruining my enjoyment of stock trading with all this complex mathematical hoohah. I prefer having no information besides giant green up or red down arrows next to each stock. Besides, what does “drowning in numbers” even mean? Until the day that a bunch of engineers break down Murray Chass’s door and force him to look at spreadsheets, I simply do not see what his problem is.
This was the backdrop for the book Moneyball, which documented Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s, and more generally the challenge of fielding competitive teams for less money. Naturally, when Sheldon and Alan Hirsch came out with their book, The Beauty of Short Hops: How Chance and Circumstance Confound the Moneyball Approach to Baseball, Murray Chass was happier than kid in a candy store. The one extraordinary bit in this column, where Chass transcends from asshole to mega-asshole, is the following passage:
An obvious shortcoming in UZR, the authors say, is its consistently low ratings Derek Jeter earned until 2009. Jeter has demonstrated many unrated intangibles, most notably his retrieval of an errant throw and his backhand flip to get Jeremy Giambi at home plate for a series-saving out in the 2001 playoffs.
I wanted to highlight this passage because of the number of fallacies that are crammed into just 51 words. I will list the ways these two sentences fail as writing:
March 24, 2011
Murray Chass wakes up, eats his breakfast, and thinks to himself: how can I take my asshole status to the next level? Attacking bloggers and nerds won’t do it, I need something bigger. Something that no one in the world will agree with, and many will find shocking and terrible.
Well, Murray Chass woke up on March 24th and wrote one of the most awful rants I’ve ever seen in print: Musial No Man of Honor, Mr. President.
I’m not sure where to begin here. Let’s start with Stan Musial. I read a great SI article about him a while back, he’s generally described as a kind man who used his celebrity for good, but also a nice guy you wouldn’t mind having a few beers with. No, says Murray Chass, he’s a racist prick. This just doesn’t square up with anything else I’ve heard.
I have no particular rooting interest for Musial, and might have been even more upset if Ted Williams or Pedro Martinez were the target. But generally, I think when any regular guy is being publicly admonished by a fruitcake on the internet, that more rational folks on the internet should come to the regular guy’s defense. There was a funny thread I read where people took turns coming up with fake Murray Chass headlines. Since this is technically supposed to be a humorous blog, I should try this one too:
Sensational headlines are nothing new. But what particularly boneheaded writers like to do is take something people generally agree on, then proclaim: “You know what? No. I say the opposite is true.” This is only a good strategy once you have actually found information that casts doubt on the conventional wisdom. In lieu of that, you should at least have an idea of what your readers will take seriously.
The first paragraph of this abomination adds more egg to the face of Chass, even before he launches into his argument:
With the economy and international turmoil, President Obama has enough headaches; he doesn’t need any more. But his staff has created one for him with its failure to investigate fully the career and life of Stan Musial before recommending him for a Presidential Medal of Freedom that Obama bestowed on him last month.
Advisor: Sir, this just came over the news wires.
Obama: What the–Joe, get the door.
Biden: (shuts door)
Obama: What is the meaning of this?!? Stan Musial? No man of honor??
Advisor: Murray Chass broke the story wide open, sir.
Obama: Damn it. Murray Chass, you mean the online columnist?
Advisor: That’s affirmative. Chass is no blogger, he used to write for a newspaper.
Obama: Wait, what did you just say?
Advisor: He used to write for the New York Times.
Obama: Fuck me running, are you serious?
Advisor: That’s correct, sir.
Obama: Well, I can forget about a second term now. Yep, you really got us by the balls this time, Murray.
Advisor: Sir, are you smoking again?
Obama: (sigh) When this job gets too tough, sometimes, the Marlboro Man is the only one I can depend on.
Advisor: I’ll cancel all of your meetings, sir.
Obama: Another headache, this is the last thing I need.
Even if Chass were a respected writer, which he is not, why on earth would President Obama lose sleep over a sports writer’s opinion of Stan Musial? With a smug, ridiculous line like, “President Obama has enough headaches” Chass is not only over-estimating the stakes involved here, he is also assuming the sale in regard to his bizarre accusation against Musial.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what sort of bombshell Murray is holding onto here. This most positive description I could find of the ensuing story came from Joe Posnanski, who called it “unethical and vomitous — with almost comically irresponsible phrases like ‘said a lawyer with no first-hand knowledge of the incident’.” In a nutshell, Chass talked to Marvin Miller who said Curt Flood said Stan Musial owned a restaurant that was racist to Flood one time in 1963. This is offered as evidence by Chass, despite the fact that Curt Flood himself wrote a book in which he described Stan Musial as ardently non-racist. He pads the article with this doosey about Jackie Robinson:
“When it became known that the Dodgers were going to bring up Robinson,” said a lawyer with no first-hand knowledge of the incident, “Musial tried to organize a boycott against playing them if he was on the team. Musial was outraged.”
Again, it is easy to make up arbitrary, insane claims about people. It is a bit harder to find out the actual truth, but this should be the job of a dedicated reporter. No, Stan Musial did not try to organize a boycott against Jackie Robinson. That simply did not happen.
You see the problem here, eventually one begins to lose energy addressing all of the wrong claims Chass makes. But that’s just in time for Murray to catch his second wind, and get riled up about something. “Ah, but what about this breaking story: I have it on good record that Rogers Hornsby was terrible at bridge! That’s right, mock my claims if you will!” Fine Murray, whatever.
March 27, 2011
I forgot to mention before, Murray Chass does not own a computer. Every morning, Chass rides his horse to the village square, where the local town cryer yells out the new emails of each villager, starting at sunrise and continuing in alphabetical order until high-noon.
Upon his return, he dictates each of his online columns to a stenographer, who records his musings with an ink quill. The outgoing columns are then tethered to the leg of a carrier pigeon, who magically delivers them to the internet somehow.
So you can forgive him when he takes a few days to respond. That I understand. But any response other than, “Oh my god, I was just kidnapped by a cult of Stan Musial-hating Wiccans. Did they attempt to write anything under my name?” would have been insufficient from Murray. Instead, we are left with this footnote at the end of his column (blog):
Among the many e-mail responses I received about last week’s column on Stan Musial, most but not all negative, two comments in particular prompt me to comment.
Several readers asked why I would trust the mind of a 93-year-old man, Marvin Miller, about something that happened 40 years ago or more. All I can tell you about this 93-year-old man, whom I have known and admired for 40 years, is his mind is as sharp and retentive as the mind of anyone a third his age.
On another matter, a couple of readers suggested that I wrote a deliberately controversial column about Musial to raise my page views. I barely know what that means, but I know it has something to do with the number of people who come to this Web site.
The idea that I would write a column to increase readership is interesting because I have no idea and have never cared what the readership of the column is. I write the columns because I enjoy writing them and I know there are people who enjoy reading them, people like George and Peter and Jason and Kevin, and I appreciate their interest.
I also appreciate, believe it or not, the readers who are consumed by sabermetrics. Their single-minded focus is mind-boggling. I miss the Red Sox fans who used to write. They probably think I have fallen off the face of the earth while Musial fans, who have set an e-mail record for this Web site with their responses, wish I would fall off the face of the earth.
This is hardly an apology, though it is not meant to be one. Nor does it help me understand what the hell is wrong with Murray Chass. The fact that he claims to be so stupid, he cannot infer what the term “page views” means in regard to webpages, almost makes me think he really is pulling a fast one on us.
What the hell, Murray. Look at this long, rambling blog you made me write. You suck.
I pretty much dislike all major political parties. Your party is sort of an exception, in the sense that I not only dislike your political platform, but I also hate most of you as human beings. Despite all of that, I was relatively bored today, so I figured I would give you Republicans some helpful advice for campaign season.
The worst thing about politicians is that they are all descendants of the ancient demon king Belphegor. The second-worst thing about politicians is that they seem totally obsessed with political buzz-phrases. Buzz-phrases, catch-phrases, slogans and the like work similarly to ads or billboards. Basically, the main goal is convince you of something without really providing any supporting evidence.
You’ll note that consumer advertisements rely heavily on tactic, which I find annoying but understandable. When I am driving down the freeway and you are trying to sell me microwave popcorn, I’m not going to devote a whole lot of time to what you have to say. You probably have about a second to get my attention, if that.
The government, on the other hand, is a company I am already doing business with. Despite my cynical attitude, I have to care about the government. If I said, “Fuck it, let’s vote for any old schmo,” I run the risk of being overtaxed, wrongfully imprisoned, etc. as a result of this decision.
Long story longer, when I hear a candidate using a catchy buzz-phrase to gloss over a complicated political issue, this is what it sounds like to me:
Hi, do you know what a congressman is? Never mind, it’s not important. Basically, you are trying to choose between me and some other guy, which is like deciding whether to buy Pepsi or Coke. Sure, you could do all your “research” and “fact-finding”. But what I’ve noticed is that people invariably just pick one, because who gives a shit about competing brands of cola. When the worst possible outcome of a decision is, “Yuck, this tastes like it has a slightly different concentration of high-fructose corn syrup,” most people will not lose too much sleep one way or the other.
This probably goes without saying, but I am counting on you to take the same hands-off approach when it comes to voting for Congress. In fact, your actual vote is probably less important than your preferred brand of soda. You only get one vote, which is far less than the margin of error involved in…sorry that was way too confusing. Look at me droning on like a nerd. Sorry guys, I may have a Ph.D. in Scientology, but I am totally down to earth like all you regular Joes. Seriously, don’t over-think this one too much. Both you and I will be happier if you do zero research about me or my historical track record.
You know what really grids my gears? Partisan bickering. Washington gridlock. I’ve had enough of politics as usual, especially from people who disagree with me. The solution to all of these problems is to vote for my party 100% of the time. I think. I am a Washington outsider so I don’t really know how this stuff works. That’s right, I’m a real trail-blazing maverick, not some professional politician who has experience working in legislative bodies with other politicians. I don’t even know where Washington D.C. is, and if elected, will need someone to give me directions from I-95 North.
Just look at my opponent. He is a cranky old curmudgeon, who constantly scowls at things, according to the one shitty photo of him I keep showing. Plus he is always accompanied by grim-sounding music in my campaign ads. In 2002, my opponent voted to create a new cabinet position called Secretary of Beating Up Old Ladies. What kind of jerk would vote for such a clearly terrible bill? I’ll tell you who, the same kind of jerk who thought he was voting for a normal House appropriations bill, only to have a series of unrelated, last-minute riders tacked on. What this example really shows is how I treat congressional voting like a political game, as opposed to an important responsibility bestowed upon me by the citizens of this great nation. U-S-A!
Now marvel at the juxtaposition of this obvious train-wreck with his polar opposite: me. Oh, how important and magnanimous this pressed suit makes me look. I have 2.3 kids and a Golden fucking Retriever. Check and mate, my friend.
Hold up a second. I just saw some really important thing off in the distance over there. It’s really fucking cool so I am just going to stare at that for a while. What, are we still rolling? I dunno just fade out or something. Listen, there’s a pile a blow with my name on it back at the hotel, so I’d be fine if we went ahead and wrapped things up here.
This rhetoric may seem “outlandish” or “not real” but it is hidden inside 99% of the political buzz-phrases that are thrown around today (the remaining 1% is stuff like, buzz-phrases used in the blog I am writing right now about buzz-phrases because I hate them).
All of that being said, they seem to be fairly popular on both sides of the isle. And even I have to admit that they seem to work sometimes. Like the phrase: Drill, baby, drill caught on for some reason. I’m not entirely sure why, though I have to say it is much better than: “I love offshore oil drilling so much, I speak about it like someone for whom I have sexual feelings,” the other tagline the GOP was kicking around for a while.
I should mention something about the Democrats here, and not to maintain any superficial sense of being fair and balanced. I think they love meaningless catch-phrases almost as much as the GOP. Their problem is more that buzz-phrases are not really their most effective style of propaganda.* The two most popular Democrat buzz-phrases I can remember are It’s the Economy, Stupid! and Change You Can Believe In. Note the proper punctuation, grammar and syntax in these slogans–classic rookie mistake. Commas, apostrophes, and complete sentences merely distract and confuse the idiots you are reaching out to.
* The trick that Democrats are really good at is the use of anecdotal evidence. Whenever a Democrat begins a speech like, “Let me tell you about a guy named…” and then the guy ends up losing his farm or some shit, then gets injured and can’t afford health care, then his favorite cow dies yadda yadda etc that is what I mean.
Obama probably realized this when he modified his slogan to the shorter, pithier Change We Need. Because before he was asking me to believe in stuff. After following politics for long enough, that just seems like a generally bad idea. But now with Change We Need he’s just saying: “Your current president sucks, and needs to be replaced.” This idea is much easier for the voting public to grasp. If there’s one thing voters hate, it’s the last president they voted for. Fuck that guy, remember all the bad shit that happened when he was President? Totally his fault.
I have just two more examples to discuss, starting with my least favorite buzz-phrase of all time: family values. It seems to imply that a “family” is really a group of strict assholes who oppose individual liberties and much of the US Constitution. I would politely ask you not to talk about the Connelly’s that way.
Excluding myself, probably any person with a family would by offended by this suggestion, that their family members share the same core values as Mitt Romney and his 8 wives or whatever. That was kind of a low blow. Sorry Mitt. The only reason I brought it up was because I truly dislike Mitt Romney and want to hurt his feelings. Hey, wait a second, I didn’t bring it up. Republicans did, when they made family values a part of their political agenda.
On a more positive note, I’ve decided my favorite political buzz-phrase is job-killing. Now the implication is more like Obama is a nefarious criminal mastermind, surrounded by a tank of man-eating piranhas, brutally murdering innocent jobs to fulfill some evil, job-killing fetish of his. This one sounds like a winner to me.
Oh yea, I forgot that I put “Dear GOP,” at the beginning of this post. To be honest, what you read was less of an actual letter to the GOP, and more of a blog post insulting them. I guess that’s all for now.
I went to a Tea Party rally once. Two of my friends from work were going, and somehow convinced me to join them. This was a few years ago, so at the time I had not heard of the Tea Party as a political movement. I was disappointed when I got there and found out they did not actually serve any tea. I had taken the PATH to the WTC station and walked from there, so I was a little cold and could of used a nice hot beverage. I remember wearing a blue hoodie with a Phish logo and a flannel shirt and some other stuff, purposely so that I did not look like I was actively participating in the event. Most of the tea baggers, a phrase I’m not sure I knew at the time, probably assumed I was a pedestrian on my way to or from the nearby Starbucks.
The Tea Party actually began as a movement during the George W. Bush lame duck period. Some of their first protests were in response to the Wall Street bailouts, which I was never a big fan of either. My main issue with these angry protest movements is that they rarely attract people with nuanced beliefs. What struck me immediately about the people who spoke at the rally was the lack of a coherent ideology they had. It seemed like a forum for average Joe Republicians to rant, but under the guise of some underground movement.
I miss the days when Republicians were greedy board-room honchos, sitting around wearing their power ties and sipping scotch.
These days, your average Republician is likely to live in a log cabin in the mountains of Idaho, usually calling into the Rush Limbaugh show to talk about how they’re covering themselves in tin foil to hide from Obama’s Communist spy-satellites.
Try reading some of the online comments for any Yahoo! News political article; they all sound like they are written by the two mountain men from Deleverance. The recent wave of crazy is perhaps a consequence of the Tea Party’s success as a popular movement.
I will take a look at some current representatives of the Tea Party, and how many of the things they say are stupid.
Here Glenn Beck starts off okay, calling Chris Matthews a balloon head. Then he continues, but without making any kind of point. Here you can really see Beck’s vast lexicon and strong command of english vocabulary:
“You sir, are a balloon head that was taught by a balloon head and all you did because you’re a balloon head was sit in your stupid balloon head Ivy League classroom and be indoctrinated by a balloon head and never ever used your balloon head to ask an intelligent question of the balloon head in the tweed jacket! You self-sanctimonious, self-important balloon head, America has had enough.”
As an Ivy League graduate, I can tell you that this was exactly what my college experience was like:
Thanks to Glenn Beck for calling out the Communist Ivy-League Indoctrination centers that brainwashed Chris Matthews. Shame on you, Holy Cross and University of North Carolina!
Apparently nobody listens to Glenn Beck anymore, so that is a relief. I think he had some conspiracy theory a while back that Egypt was being taken over by aliens. I don’t remember the details of that one. I think stuff like that eventually reduced his credibility among people who are not total wing-nuts, so his show got cancelled. Ha, sucks for him. But rules for pretty much everyone else.
Senator Rand Paul (R – KY) is a Tea Party candidate recently elected in 2010 to replace the infamous Jim Bunning. His platform isn’t the complete train-wreck that defines some of the other folks I mention here. He has a few positions I agree on, like he opposes oil subsidies, the war in Iraq, and the USA Patriot Act.
As it happens, Rand Paul smoked a fair amount of pot down at Baylor, at one point he worshipped a god named ‘Aqua Buddha’ which was presumably a talking bong.
My problem with all of these Tea Party candidates is they tend to treat “Federal Government is Bad” as an axiom, without really evaluating it on a case-by-case basis. Rand Paul is particularly fond of “leaving it to the states” in favor of Federal legislation. In many instances, I may agree with him. But other times, this stance can be very confusing to me. Here is his recent comment from a Senate vote that passed 96-1:
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul was the sole “no” vote Thursday night on a measure that would make it a federal crime to aim a handheld laser pointer at an aircraft. The measure, offered by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) as an amendment to a measure on funding the Federal Aviation Administration, passed on a 96-to-1 vote, with three senators not present. It would call for anyone who knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft to face fines or a prison term of up to five years.
Paul told reporters after Thursday’s vote that he believed the laser-pointer issue was one best handled by the states, not the federal government.
“There are a lot of states that already have laws, and I think states ought to take care of it,” Paul said.
I am not surprised this measure passed 96-1. FYI, when you shine a laser-pointer at an aircraft, it does not just project a tiny red dot in the interior of the airplane. The light can refract with the windshield of the plane and fill the cockpit with intense, blinding light. It is fairly obvious that this should be an illegal.
Paul’s assertion that the “states ought to take care of it” is a particularly bizarre one for this law. It would be irresponsible to assume that every state would pass the law, and use that to justify inaction at the federal level. What about the alternate scenario? Let’s say that every state in America voted on such a bill, and every state passed said bill except for Kentucky.
The problem is that this doesn’t just affect residents of Kentucky, it affects anyone who happens to be flying over Kentucky. If I wanted to fly from Indianapolis to Nashville, without being attacked by some jerk with a laser-pointer, I would now have to go well out of my way to accomplish that.
Have you ever been on a flight that took off and landed in the same state? Probably not very many. Commercial airline flights are by nature a matter of interstate transportation. They are precisely the type of business that should be regulated by the Federal government, as opposed to the states. Rand Paul is wrong.
Despite being a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Michele Bachmann is dumber than a pile of bricks. Not one for diplomatic tact, she stated in regard to Iran, “We can’t remove any options off the table [sic] and we should not remove the nuclear response.”
Just a heads up Iran, we’re playing around with the idea of blowing the shit out of you, but it’s only one of our many options on the table. The table is also full of various benign ideas like, “playing a charity wiffleball game” because Michele Bachmann has not removed any of them off yet.
We all know about the global warming hoax: invented by the USSR in a desperate, final attempt to derail the US economy and win the Cold War. Here is Mrs. Bachmann with an air-tight proof of the non-existence of climate change:
“Carbon dioxide … is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural …. We’re being told we have to reduce this natural [sic hey learn any new words lately] substance to create an arbitrary reduction [sic] in something that is naturally [sic] occurring in the earth.”
There you have it, anything that is naturally occurring in the earth is good for you. We’ll take tornados as an example. Suppose I built a giant Tornado Machine, and began deploying it in the center of Manhattan. Residents of New York City would not be happy about this at all. I imagine I’d be a very hated man there. On the other hand, I’d have the full support of Michele Bachmann, based on her reasoning above: Tornados are just some naturally occurring thing that can’t possibly be bad for us–who cares about a few more?
The other pillar of Bachmann’s climate change argument is that carbon dioxide is a “harmless gas”. Really, carbon dioxide is a very useful gas for humans. It allows us to exhale after breathing, which prevents us from exploding with oxygen atoms. It also facilitates the serving of beer in kegs. To my knowledge, no one is arguing that carbon dioxide is like that gas from The Rock where you drop a container and it starts melting your face.
The environmental issue with carbon dioxide is that an abundance of it makes the Earth hotter. It is sort of like a coat. A coat itself is not hot; it keeps you warm using your own body heat.
In fact, it’s almost like one of those things–what do you call those houses made of all windows, where you put plants to keep them warm? I don’t remember.
At this point, I would go on to explain how an increase in global temperature melts the polar ice caps, if I were explaining basic Earth Science to a group of Second Grade children. I suppose if I were stuck in a conversation with Michelle Bachmann about it, I would just give her a bouncy ball to play with or something.
I almost forgot to do this last bit. Fortunately, I made a to-do list earlier today, and I just remembered to look at it.
I don’t have too much to say about Palin. She should tell her kids to stop mouthing off on Facebook or something. I have no opinion of Dancing with the Stars because I don’t watch that show.
There was one issue with Palin that was overlooked with all the other controversy surrounding her, some of which was false. She made that map that got over-criticized when the Arizona shooter came out, because she had sniper’s crosshairs on the political districts of 20 Democrats. This overshadowed the more relevant criticism of the map, that it was crazy and in poor taste:
Though Palin’s map would make a great spec for an Al-Qaeda video game, it’s not a map that anyone would pick up and say, “Yes Sarah, I agree to kill these people.” It is pretty clear she is just trying to get Republican votes and stuff. I simply find it weird that marksmen’s targets are being pointed at things on U.S. soil in a political ad. It’s a very bellicose campaign spot, is all I guess I am saying.
That’s all I have for now, I can’t remember any other Tea Party people I hate. Scott Brown is okay. I’ll have some other blog-type stuff soon. I’m guessing the topic will be me insulting various people.
Just a quick update: the polls are now closed, and I’m proud to announce BBQ sauce is our winner, narrowly beating out ranch dressing for the award of Best Dipping Sauce. Thanks to all our competitors for participating, you’re really all fantastic sauces, it’s too bad there could only be one winner.
Now onto this blog, I did some searching on amazon for the worst book covers I could find, which I have presented below. After a little while of this, the amazon recommendation engine started thinking I was a huge loser, and now it keeps recommending stuff like Success is a Choice by Rick Pitino or Jon Secada’s Greatest Hits. They should have some search setting where you specify that you’re only doing research for a satirical blog, and are not actually interested in buying these things. Anyways, here are the stupid book covers.
Yaaawwwwwnnn. Man, I almost fell asleep just looking at that. This book is about women’s issues or something. I was supposed to read it in high school. But I’m not sure why it looks like the cover of a Christopher Cross album. Actually now I remember, the beach is where she kills herself at the end. Whoops, spoiler alert. As you might imagine, anyone who doesn’t watch the Lifetime network will be extremely bored by this book.
This cover is a real disappointment, because it gets me excited about chess for no reason. I always see this book in stores and I’m thinking like, Well I’m certainly no grandmaster, but I think white has a significant advantage here…Ah wait a sec, it’s one of those damn vampire books. They should put like a picture of fangs on the cover; or better yet, maybe a vampire couple kissing, so people also know it’s a chick novel. That way any male vampire enthusiasts will know to stay away as well.
A lot of people say that books are more educational than TV, which may be true. But I’d counter with the fact that dumb books have a more de-educational effect on the reader than TV shows of similar stupidity.
Think about it, once you pick up The Five People You Meet in Heaven, it’s like beginning a 198-page journey through Mitch Albom’s mind. You can read one of his hokey anecdotes and feel like you’re really there–immersed in the bland, shitty world of Mitch Albom. Suddenly you’re boring people at parties with your vapid tales of life and introspection. All your friends seem to be checking their cell phones or staring at the wall intently whenever you talk.
Inane TV shows don’t have as severe of an effect on the viewer. I can actually sit through about 35 minutes of The Kudlow Report before feeling any adverse effects.
I asked my friend Tom to suggest a crappy book cover, and he came back with this one–which is so terrible that I had to include it, even though there are two other conservative pundits on this list. Does the GOP have a monopoly on laughably bad book covers? O’Reilly’s ugly mug certainly helps the cause here. From the cover it is also apparent why Bill O’Reilly calls people pinheads. Pretty much everyone looks like a pinhead next to O’Reilly’s fat face and blubbery neck, the slender Obama not withstanding. So remember the next time Bill O’Reilly calls you a pinhead, he simply means, “someone without a fat, ugly head like mine.”
I suppose if Herm Edwards’s book were about how he’s a crazy loudmouth who shouldn’t be taken seriously, then this cover would be entirely appropriate. But apparently this book is about leadership lessons for something or other. There were too many words on the cover so I wasn’t really paying attention. Also I usually steer clear of books where the cover is yelling at me.
Speaking of too many words, this next title is so long I had to take a piss break halfway through typing it.
Forgive me for being pedantic, Bernie, but aren’t the crazies actually to your right? If I am to believe the implied premise here—that the dumb, convoluted title of this book is actually hovering above Bernie Goldberg’s head, as he gesticulates his indignant frustration—then anything on his right would be on my left, since he’s facing the reader.
A better title for this book would be If Ann Coulter Had Any Tits, She’d Be Hot. For some reason I don’t suspect too many people will rethink their political views based on Ann Coulter calling them stupid, then making some alluring pose on her book cover. In fact, the title sounds very childish and is unbecoming of a Cornell graduate. I know you are conservative, what is the point of your book? A less shitty title would answer this question.
I feel this is a very appropriate cover for Ethan Frome. Whenever I’m browsing around for a book that makes me want to blow my head off, and I see a cover like this, I know I’m in business. Check out that small shack in the middle of nowhere, plus it’s all cold and shit. I would never want to visit this place ever, not even in fictional terms.
Here is an excerpt from today’s Face the Nation broadcast which proves Mitch McConnell is a partisan hack:
SCHIEFFER: Rand Paul, your newly elected colleague to the Senate from your home state of Kentucky, who you opposed in the Republican primary, says on ABC this morning he wants a 5 percent across-the- board cut in everything. He also says he wants to cut military spending. He wants a freeze on federal hiring. And he said you should also consider cutting the salaries of federal workers. How much of that do you favor?
MCCONNELL: Well, you know, he’s going to have an opportunity in the Senate to offer all of those ideas. We’ll get votes on them. I think he’s an exciting new member of the Senate. We worked closely together in his general election campaign. He’s coming here with a lot of enthusiasm and new ideas. And we’ll be happy to consider them in the Senate. And I’m sure they’ll be considered in the House as well.
Way to answer the question, dick. No one asked you whether Rand Paul was “an exciting new member of the Senate.” What Bob Schieffer asked was to what extent you agree with Rand Paul’s ideas.
What’s more, McConnell notes that Paul will “have an opportunity in the Senate to offer all of those ideas.” Thanks Mitch, no shit. That’s what generally happens when people get elected to the Senate. The question was how do you, Mitch McConnell, feel about those ideas? That’s okay, let’s try again:
SCHIEFFER: I mean, considering them and being for them — are you for those things?
MCCONNELL: Some of those things I may well be for. I may end up being for all of them. We’ll have to see.
What a ringing fucking endorsement. I know if I needed someone to stump for me, I’d sure as heck give McConnell a call. In fairness to Mitch, he learned who Rand Paul was right before the show …Ron Paul has a son? Impossible! Paul is a RINO/closet Libertarian, and everyone knows all Libertarians are also gay wiccans. However, Bob Schieffer reassured him that Rand was indeed Ron Paul’s son and just got elected to the Senate. “In fact, you worked closely with him in his general election campaign,” Schieffer informed McConnell.
Read more about Mitch McConnell’s trainwreck of a political platform here.