(Yes, it’s a day late. I was sick).
I was worried when I started this project that I wouldn’t have any good Silly Takes for my first week. I needn’t have worried. This was a good week for Silly Takes. Let’s go over a few of the greatest hits before we move into the Silliest Take of the Week:
Most Commitment to a Silly Metaphor
Ben Shapiro, “Health Care Is a Commodity, Not A Right,” for National Review Online,1/11/2017
Ben Shapiro felt compelled to defend a snarky tweet he made to Senator Bernie Sanders, wherein he compared being unable to afford healthcare to being unable to afford fancy furniture. Much of his defense is fairly standard conservative talking points about the value of a market for healthcare, but the end of his article brings us this gem:
“Let’s say your life depended on the following choice today: you must obtain either an affordable chair or an affordable X-ray. Which would you choose to obtain? Obviously, you’d choose the chair. That’s because there are many types of chair, produced by scores of different companies and widely distributed. You could buy a $15 folding chair or a $1,000 antique without the slightest difficulty. By contrast, to obtain an X-ray you’d have to work with your insurance company, wait for an appointment, and then haggle over price. Why? Because the medical market is far more regulated — thanks to the widespread perception that health care is a “right” — than the chair market.”
After making a final push for a deregulated healthcare market, Shapiro shows the alternative:
“Or we could just read Senator Sanders’s tweets while we wait in line for a government-sponsored surgery — dying, presumably, in a decrepit chair.” (emphasis added).
Look, whatever the merits of a deregulated healthcare market, this commitment to a silly, off-the-cuff metaphor deserves only one response:
Most Amazingly Clueless Tweet
Matt Walsh, a writer for The Blaze, shared this gem with us on 1/13/2017 at 2:53 CST:
Twitter was not terribly impressed, and neither am I.
The next two are actually from slightly before this week began, but I’m sneaking them in anyway because I wasn’t collecting silly takes before this week, and they contain some Eminently Silly Moments.
Best Obligatory Pop Culture Reference From Six Months Ago:
Lee Tran Lam, “La La Land is a terrible film, but it will win Best Picture at the Oscars anyway,” for The Age, 1/6/2017.
“[La La Land] rewards in-the-know critics, but really it’s the Pokemon Go of movie references: See how many self-congratulatory film allusions you can collect.”
I have not seen La La Land, and therefore don’t have an opinion on whether the movie is any good. But this doesn’t make very much sense. I might understand this better if it had been written in July, when every single thinkpiece was mandated by Internet Law to include a Pokemon Go joke.
Silliest False Equivalence:
Stephen Marche for the L.A. Times: “The Left Has a Post-Truth Problem, Too: It’s Called Comedy,” 1/6/2017
The thesis of this take, such as it is, is that liberal Daily Show-style comedy bits are functionally identical to right-wing “fake news.” Look, I get that there are plenty of reasons to be distrustful of the Daily Show clones in the world, but the analogue to right-wing fake news on the Left is left-wing fake news, not Last Week Tonight.
Best moment is this:
“In one sense, of course, political satire is the opposite of fake news. Satirists rip away the pretenses of journalism to reveal what they believe to be true. Fake news sites use the pretenses of journalism to spread what they know to be false. Despite intentions, however, the effect is the same.”
Is it? Is it really?
The Silliest Take of the Week, 1/15/2017:
Eileen Jones, Jacobin Magazine: “Against Meryl Streep,” 1/9/2017.
Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump speech at the Golden Globes was the speech that launched a thousand Silly Takes. And look: there was plenty of stuff about the speech that annoyed me. For one thing, for Meryl Streep to get up at the Golden Globes and give a speech about why acting is great and Trump is bad is about the safest and most predictable thing in the whole world. The weird aside about football and MMA was pointless and weird, and to suggest, even in jest, that the members of the HFPA are the “most reviled people in America right now” rankles me.
But that’s it. While most of us might have just rolled our eyes and moved on, Eileen Jones at Jacobin took this speech deeply personally. What follows is a polemic about how Meryl Streep is awful that only vaguely flirts with any kind of relevant political observation. There might be something worthwhile in contrasting Streep’s “class” with the more populist Democratic Party championed by Bernie Sanders, but that article would have to spend more time on politics and less time on how much this writer HATES HATES HATES Meryl Streep.
Some good moments:
“The tilt of [Streep’s] jaw, the lift of her nose like something out of an old portrait representing aristocratic Anglo-German inbreeding, the toss of that shiny blonde mane, overawed everyone.”
Political revolution is often best accomplished by mocking a woman’s looks, folks, never forget this.
“In America, classiness will get you everywhere, and there’s no better demonstration of it than the teary-eyed adoration generated by every move Streep makes.”
It’s weird, post-Trump, to say that “In America, classiness will get you everywhere.” Classiness will apparently get you everywhere, except for, you know, the White House.
“I may have to take today off work, just to recover from this latest onslaught of Streepian solipsism embraced by the world as the height of Hollywood ethics, which is just the best ethics of all.”
And, best of all, the article’s subheader:
“Meryl Streep’s speechifying at the Golden Globes was the worst thing to happen since Trump’s election.”
Can you imagine having such a myopic view of the world that the worst thing to happen since Trump’s election is Meryl Streep giving a predictable speech at an awards show?
Congratulations to Jacobin Magazine for winning the Inaugural Silliest Take of the Week award for 1/15/17. Thanks to Tim, Erin, and Rex for submitting Silly Takes, and check back next week for yet more Internet foolishness! Submit anything you find to firstname.lastname@example.org!