Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2016 GOP Frontrunners

The midterm elections have come and gone, which means it's time to play a game we've been waiting for since 2012: Pick the GOP Frontrunners! Another slate of Democrats has been stomped, leaving a fertile field of Republican bullies ready to whip holy hell on Communists, sodomites, licensing firearms, and unlicensed vaginas. Not to mention Ebola.

I know what you're going to say: there are so many options already! That's true. There's Wall Street creep Mitt Romney. There's (probably a) crook Chris Christie. Almost certainly a crook Scott Walker. There's serial-plagiarist and bong-level political science theorist Rand Paul. All those are good candidates. Very good candidates. That's an impressive roster. But let's get real: not one of those guys is a slam dunk.

I know of some people who are, and a tweet I wrote on Election Night reminded me of them. Last year, Mr. Destructo contributor Dan "General Gandhi" O'Sullivan, Classical editor David J. Roth, nomad political writer Alex Pareene, and SBNation writer Bill Hanstock and I, amongst others, collaborated on a world-beating slate of 2016 GOP candidates. Not just candidates for president but candidates who could run the table in every open Senate seat as well.

This is the future of the GOP. This is your future, America.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Time the Duck Dynasty Guy Saved America with a Boat

So we all know Duck Dynasty's patriarch Phil Robertson is a bigot, and a homophobe (I wrote about him in The New Republic, if that's something you care about), and a fraudulent country club Republican dressed up like a bayou redneck to move more units of redneck product, and generally he's about as useful to the rest of the world as a copy of The Second Sex is to his audience the minute they realize there are no pictures in it.

It's not in spite of this that Sean Hannity has him on his Fox News show but because, since Robertson's brand of retrograde politics moves the same number of duck calls as it does Hannity merch. It's tempting for people on the left to see Robertson on Hannity's show as some kind of error or the bad luck of last-minute booking—which is mostly the fallacy of liberals thinking that the things they belly laugh at can't be cherished and defended by someone else with just as much sincerity. Robertson unironically calling on America to convert-or-kill ISIS as a means of dealing with the horror of ISIS converting-or-killing everyone else is a welcome opinion to the right set of ears, and college-boy tittering about how this sounds like Innocent III scouring the Languedoc of Albigensenes or any previous Pope scouring the Holy Land of Muslims amounts mostly to smug nerds playing to their liberal audience as much as Robertson's duck call goes out to his people on a certain frequency.

Which is to say that, since no minds will change and nothing will be accomplished in any meaningful way, the most you can do is goof off. If there is a larger point, it will be lost, and it was probably a stretch to even assume it was necessary, so go have fun or go home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Don't Even Own A Television: 'Those Who Trespass'

Ordinarily I'd assume that I did a good enough job last time selling you on my friend Jay W. Friedman's podcast. And I would likewise assume that the new page for podcast appearances I put up would be a sufficient resource for finding out where and when I'd droned on and on like an asshole about something. But this time I joined Jay to talk about Bill O'Reilly's Those Who Trespass, and nothing about O'Reilly comes easily. Except his women.

Here's the thing about Bill-O: despite Jay and I spending an hour busting on his godawful prose, his sexism, his casual racism, his uncritical love of police strong-arm tactics, his bunkum facts about David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani, his racialized image of crime, his historical clunkers, his incredible vanity, his stereotypical straight-outta-suburbia Irish-American fawning over the Ould Sod and his bad sex scenes, we could have gone on for another hour without breaking a sweat. Because he's really that awful in his fantasyland version of reality, too.

Jay touched on something in Those Who Trespass that I wanted to supplement with a bit from real life. In it, O'Reilly's Gary Stu character has a black friend named Jackson Davis, one who Bill's narration takes pains to describe as articulate. He's one of the good ones basically for no other reason than that he behaves like Bill O'Reilly's vision of a good white guy. And I really don't want anyone to walk away with the sense that this was an accident of bad writing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I Don't Even Own A Television: 'Pregnesia'

Some of you may know my friend Jay Friedman. For those of you who don't, he's one of those exasperatingly prolific creative people who's always doing something interesting when you're doing things like marathoning Magnum P.I. on Netflix for no reason.

In addition to working a full-time job, Jay might as well also be a full-time MC. And when he's not releasing another mixtape under the name Satellite High, he's doing things like helping me out by recording a diss track of World Net Daily birther rappers "Wolverines" or tag-teaming a fatuous American Enterprise Institute list of the "21 Greatest Conservative Rap Songs" for a piece in The New Republic.

So, with all that on his plate, naturally Jay started a podcast about books. Fantastically bad books. Because of course he did. And I'm pleased to say that I was the inaugural guest on I Don't Even Own A Television.

In a previous life, I wrote reviews of current events and public affairs books for Barnes & Noble's website. (Under yet another pseudonym.) And while neither those nor my reviews on this website prepared me for the kind of texts that Jay had in mind, it's nice to know that the critical reading skills honed in that job and during the long slog through my history thesis haven't completely atrophied. Basically, I brought a thoroughly misguided level of critical analysis to a discussion of a Harlequin Intrigue title named Pregnesia.

Monday, January 13, 2014

And Yet More Things I Want to Do When I Grow Up

As you may know, we the good people of Et tu, Mr. Destructo? conduct an annual personal test of our abilities. We do not remark upon things as we see them and ask, "Why?" We look at things as they have never been—a machine that makes my ex-girlfriend STACY think about me when she hears any song on the radio, even "Thick As A Brick"—and ask, "Why not?" Then we create that machine.

In the above case, that machine is called the simple human heart.

Nevertheless, the conundrum facing the Destructo crew for several years was this: How do we find newer feats of mental daring and near-impossibilities of time and space that we have not already accomplished? And how, given our 100% success rate in meeting our goals, can we ever outline new goals in which our readers might see the faintest glimmer of failure? What happens when a shadow no longer falls between the idea and the reality?

An idea presented itself in January, 2013 when journalist David J. Roth wrote to regret that his submissions for January, 2012, sent by passenger pigeon, had been unavoidably delayed by that species' extinction for 99 years and that he would try to forward them via "interior crocodile alligator." The denial of an object or goal seemed to be a goal in itself.

We thought of embracing the noble truths of the Buddha, but abandoned that concept when we realized that there is no documented evidence of that man ever wearing a shirt. Instead, we chose to embrace a state of post-accomplishment, a place beyond goals, neither above nor below metrics but askance from them. We chose a heaven where nothing ever happens.

Needless to say, 2013 would have been an unqualified success if indeed success or failure had been possible. And, despite the overwhelming likelihood of each pledge below being satisfied thoroughly, early and often, 2013 opens 2014 to the possibility that maybe—just maybe—what you're about to read may, this once, just be words.

Everything below was written by Jeb Lund, General "Bro_Pair" Ze'evi, Cory Harris, Justin Shapiro, David J. Roth and Mark Hengge. We renew our respects to our fallen comrade, Mark Brendle (RIP), who at this time in 2013 was killed in a tragic midchair collision.