Sunday, February 26, 2012

GAWKER: Rich-Guy Marionette Slapfight

My first piece wasn't a catastrophe, so the good people at Gawker allowed me to keep going. That looks to be the norm from here on out. (More below the pic.)

This time, I wanted to talk about how bizarrely satisfying it is to watch the Republican primary surrogacy developing via individual billionaire sponsorships. It is, of course, a horrendous development for democracy, and exactly the sort of thing we don't want to see happen. But if we are fated to be kicked around by bored people with lots of money who feel like buying a presidency, at least we've been blessed with an incredibly entertaining version of that fate, via a bunch of weird old coots.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

GAWKER: Mitt Romney, The Inauthentic Man's Inauthenticity

The good people at Gawker asked me to write something for them. And by people, I mean, "AJ Daulerio," whose last communication with me before that was probably reading me saying incredibly rude things about him. I'm sure this is a lesson for young students out there, and I'm sure it's the wrong one.

Anyhow, I was lucky enough to be able to write something that had been bugging me about Mitt Romney — namely, that the man is so thoroughly artificial that what stands out about him on the campaign trail is not that he's unreal but that he's badly faking being fake. Gawker illustrator Jim Cooke was also gracious enough to create this original work for the piece.

Click the miniature version of Jim Cooke's Mitt to be taken to the article and a much bigger pretty picture:

Also, if you get the chance, you might also really enjoy this excellent take on Mitt and his dad from Rick Perlstein.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Foster Friess Think Tank

Foster Friess made the news last week for the first time since his invention of inexpensive family-friendly hot dog restaurants and tasty iced creams.

You may already have heard of him as the man who's bankrolling the Rick Santorum campaign. At CPAC, he scored one of the best lines of the day by opening with a joke: "A conservative, a liberal and a moderate walk into a bar. The bartender says, 'Hi, Mitt.'" While that was funny, many Americans felt that his comments last week were not. When discussing birth control, Friess said:
I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are. And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's such inexpensive. Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly.
Taken out of context like this, his comments are of course offensive. But a full look at what Friess espouses for America quickly dispels much of this foofaraw.

Let's be honest, upsetting women is not politically damaging when they have no business voting in the first place. In a Friessian political milieu, statements like these are a non-starter. Thus, to explain to America the broader plans he and Rick Santorum have for the country, I have gladly accepted a position as a Senior Fellow at the Foster Friess Think Tank for America, which was founded by this Friess supporter. (Another Fellow, Mark Brendle, has contributed to this site.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Youtube Doubler VIX: Dental Sparring

I had hoped for a new column this week, but various journalistic organs intervened. Sorry.

In the meantime, please enjoy this YoutubeDoubler:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

VICE: A Belated Santorum to You!

Nobody cared about Rick Santorum. Until now. I wanted to care, but he never came to me. Rick, he was distant. I called. I sent letters. I poked him on Facebook.

Unfortunately, he never replied. And, unfortunately, some of this is out of date by a few days, because CPAC happened. But most of the rest of it is still valid. Sadly. Click Rick for a sick trick:

If you haven't, AND I DO NOT KNOW WHY OR HOW, click on the Santorum to take you to

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yet More Things I Want to Do When I Grow Up

Imagine the curse of writing for Mr. Destructo: doomed not only to set perilously high expectations but constantly to exceed them. Such is the case with our annual event, "Things I Want to Do When I Grow Up," a litany of challenges posed to ourselves and handily dispatched by the following year.

Consider an iron resolve that can only hesitate at obstacles devised by its own will. That previous sentence describes Volkesgeistes so formidable that all the terms in it would be terrifying if they were in German. Ours is a spirit that climbs Mt. Everest not "because it is there," but "because we thought of Mt. Everest."

You're welcome.

Again, as with last year, 2012's edition involves a collaborative effort from many of our writers. General Ze'evi handled our graphics, while Mark H. and Cory H. (no relation) pitched in with fresh ideas. MLB postseason fixture JShap joins us for the first time. Mark Brendle was killed in a catastrophic bridesmaid accident.

May your 2012 be prosperous, and may your January have been horrible.

Monday, February 6, 2012

VICE: Ron Paul, Hacked to the White-Supremacist Bone

In the last two weeks, we've learned from Ron Paul's own former staffers that he was fully aware and in control of his own newsletter operation. That removes the desperate Paulestinian rationalization that somehow millions of dollars worth of racist newsletters were sold for decades without Ron Paul's awareness.

"But, that was in the 1990s!" counter Paul fans. And there another inapplicable, inapposite and unpersuasive argument might have lain, if it weren't for a recent hack by members of Anonymous, who exposed connections between Ron Paul and white-supremacist groups. Connections that exist today, rather than back in 2008. As if there were a freshness date on courting racism. As if there were a time-stamp on being worthless.

Click the wrinkled, lecturing, race-baiting goblin to read more at Vice:

For more on Ron Paul, in order:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

DEADSPIN: The Lovable, Impish Bill Belichick

I always find it a bit suspect when people have too many contrarian opinions about sports figures. It seems like they're fishing for column ideas or more interested in being provocative than in being informative. So please believe me when I say that I blurted out, "I think Bill Belichick is hilarious," without any opportunistic intent. I think I'd just been watching some patiently trolling effort of his during a press conference and found myself grinning at how subtle it was. Either way, my little outburst resulted in being told to "write that down."

To gear yourself up for the Super Bowl, please enjoy my paean to Bill Belichick's sense of humor and intolerance of bullshit by clicking on the gray coaching golem below:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Jeff Passan Cares About Judgment and Caring

Josh Hamilton is a very good baseball player, and he is very good at drinking and taking drugs. Drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, he proceeded to flush himself almost entirely out of baseball on waves of booze and coke. After being chastised by family and realizing how far he'd fallen, he straightened out his life and became the amazing player everyone expected him to be. Still, as is the case with many addicts, he's had relapses. He had one again Monday.

As of now, no one is sure what really happened. That didn't hinder Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan (who readers last met being defended by Bill Plaschke) from telling you what it meant. He said so in plain terms: "The particulars... don't matter as much as the act."

As of now, no one can be sure of the particulars of Jeff Passan's column. After printing it, he was immediately engaged, criticized or taken to task by baseball writers and personalities Kevin Goldstein, Old Hoss Radbourn and Jay Jaffe. He then announced that he was "updating column to suss [sic] out the point." (I'm sure Passan didn't intend to use "suss" correctly — as in "to figure out" — although God knows that he might as well have, if his aim was to contrive an opinion different from the one he'd plainly voiced.) He added that he "[wanted] to make sure for the majority of those who read in the morning, my feelings on the subject are clearer. Do not want greater point lost."

Here's the problem: the greater point wasn't lost. The greater point begins his column:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

VICE: Let Us Now Pity Famous Men

Despite Romney's decisive win in Florida, this GOP contest is far from over. Gingrich could net serious support in the primaries in former Confederate states, which can push his delegate count high enough to lock the GOP nomination into an endless death match. Which means, of course, that American voters are guaranteed at least one more month of listening to Newt and Mitt each declaiming louder than the other than they are more sinned against than sinning, more the whipped and resented faithful stepchild of America.

And there you have it: one man who's in the top 0.0006% in this country, and another one who just got a $10 million gift from a fan, each claiming that he's more oppressed.

Click the pic to read more at Vice: