Three weeks going! I’m already beating the odds I gave myself in my description of this project.
Let’s get right to it! We’ve got some nice, spicy takes here this week.
Silliest Twitter Meltdown, Unless It’s Ironic Performance Art, In Which Case: Best Twitter Ironic Performance Art
Tim Marchman, A Short Series of Tweets, Twitter, 1/24/2017
This probably isn’t technically a Silly Take, but given that it exists at the intersection of Silly Internet Things, Political Nonsense, and Internet Tough Guy Posturing, I think it’s well within the #STOW ambit.
Apparently Senator Ted Cruz has organized a weekly-ish basketball game with some other Senators. Ex-Gawker sportsblog Deadspin thought this was funny, and asked for photographic proof of Ted Cruz playing basketball, which is a very Deadspin thing to do. Ted Cruz (or a social media manager working for Ted Cruz, but who cares) responded to a tweet about this with a picture of Duke University basketball player Grayson Allen, who looks sort of like Cruz. Deadspin’s social media person responded in typical Deadspinstyle:
Ted Cruz in turn responded with an Anchorman gif (”Boy, that escalated quickly!”) and that should probably have been it.
But for Deadspin editor Tim Marchman, this was Too Much, Too Far, and Not Acceptable. (Please note that Marchman is not the one who drafted the initial call for pictures of Senator Cruz playing basketball). Instead, Tim Marchman gave us a series of nine tweets, the most important of which are below:
Now, a part of me hopes that this is Mr. Marchman being deliberately ridiculous in order to take the heat off of a woman (Ms. Feinberg, who drafted the original call for pictures) who was undoubtedly getting a disproportionate and awful amount of hate from Dudes on the Internet, who are, let there be no mistake, The Worst. If that’s the case, then good work, Mr. Marchman, and I apologize.
But I just want to revel for a moment in the gloriousness of “Unsurprising that not one Ted Cruz-supporting cuck/Twitter user is willing to face me in the UFC octagon.” I don’t know if I could find a better way to distill the silliness that is Internet Tough Guy Posturing into <140 characters. If Marchman is being ironic, then I admire his precision. My guess is that he’s not being ironic, given that 100% of the 11 tweets on his twitter feed consist of him whining about this dustup and two contextless RTs of weird things Curt Schilling once said.
Also, as always happens with Internet Tough Guy Posturing, and as several right-wing websites were happy to point out, some people who are apparently Actual Soldiers And/Or UFC Fighters and who like Ted Cruz have offered to take Marchman up on his challenge.
Don’t engage in Internet Tough Guy Posturing, folks. You look silly, and there’s always somebody out there who is bigger than you are and willing to call your bluff.
Most Predictably Tiresome Response to Angry Protests
David French, “This Is What Post-Christian Dissent Looks Like,” National Review,1/27/2017.
People on the Left are very mad about Donald Trump. Previously, people on the Left were comically excited about Barack Obama. This, according to David French, has something to do with the fact that we’re not very Christian any more:
“This is post-Christian politics to its core. This is the politics one gets when this world is our only home, and no one is in charge but us. There is no sense of proportion.”
“Eight years ago, all too many on the left thought that light had come into the darkness. Now they believe the darkness has overcome the light. In reality, the false dawn preceded the false dusk. Our Republic is still built to last, and the hysterical reaction threatens to be worse than the man who triggered it.”
I’ve tried to reread this a few times to figure out the connections French wants to make between protests and whatever the hell “post-Christian dissent” is, but all I can get out of this piece is a long, wet raspberry noise. So, in conclusion: shut up, David.
See also George Will, “Trump and academia actually have a lot in common,” The Washington Post, 1/27/2017.
Most Cringe-Inducing Set of Editorial Retractions
Moira Wegel, “How Ultrasound Became Political,” The Atlantic, 1/24/2017
I’m not willing to suggest that this whole article is really a Silly Take – its thesis is that the development of ultrasound technology was a useful tool for pro-life advocates and lawmakers, particularly in the context of those condescending laws that require doctors to show women ultrasounds of their fetuses before they have an abortion. There may well be some value in this train of thought, and I certainly learned some things reading this article.
That is, I thought I learned some things, until I saw the amazing and ever-growing list of corrections that had to be made to this article after it was published. Now I’m not sure I learned anything from this article, because I’m not sure the author of this article can be trusted to be sure what color the sky is:
“*This article originally stated that there is “no heart to speak of” in a 6-week-old fetus. In fact, the heart has already begun to form by that point in a pregnancy. The article also originally stated that an expectant mother participating in a study decided to carry her pregnancy to term even after learning that the fetus was suffering from a genetic disorder, when in fact the fetus was only at high risk for a genetic disorder. The article originally stated, as well, that Bernard Nathanson headed the National Right-to-Life Committee and became a born-again Christian. Nathanson was active in, but did not head the committee, and was never a born-again Christian, but rather a Roman Catholic. The article originally stated that many doctors in 1985 claimed fetuses had no reflexive responses to medical instruments at 12 weeks. Finally, the article originally stated that John Kasich vetoed a bill from Indiana’s legislature, instead of Ohio’s legislature, after which the article was incorrectly amended to state that Mike Pence had vetoed the bill. We regret the errors.“
It’s not every day that an article for The Atlantic manages to mix up “born-again” Christians with Roman Catholics, misstate facts about fetal development, and get royally confused about who the governor of Ohio is. A little bit of fact-checking goes a long way, folks.
Biggest Grudge Against an Anodyne Celebrity
Amy Zimmerman, “Taylor Swift’s Spineless Feminism,” The Daily Beast, 1/23/2017
Taylor Swift mostly doesn’t have public political opinions, and Amy Zimmerman has gotten weirdly mad about this before for The Daily Beast. I think about Taylor Swift about as often as I think about throw pillows – they seem nice enough, and some people seem to have surprisingly strong opinions about them, but I can’t see a lot of need for them in my life. But for Amy Zimmerman, the fact that Taylor Swift hasn’t taken a public position on Donald Trump is a Big Problem that must be Written About At Length.
Look, I have read some legit critiques about Swift’s brand of feminism before, and I’m not really looking to come out swinging for T-Swift. But it’s weird to get this worked up about a pop star’s apparent lack of opinions:
“Courtesy of the Instagram, we learned that Swift endorses democracy and cold-shoulder blouses. But in terms of candidates, it was impossible to deduce if she’d voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Jill freaking Stein.”
who cares who taylor swift voted for, amy
After citing the fact that T-Swift has a small group of neo-Nazi fans who like her because she looks like their ideal woman, Zimmerman says:
“If you’re not overtly on board with the resistance, then you’re tacitly chill with being proclaimed an Aryan goddess.”
Other good moments are when she gets confused about Swift ex-boyfriend Tom Hiddleston’s acting career:
“Tom Hiddleston has played many roles, from Thor to Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.”
And look, this doesn’t matter, but Tom Hiddleston didn’t play Thor. Snark about anodyne celebrities looks even more petty if you can’t be bothered to get basic facts right.
“In hindsight, [Hiddleston’s speech] proves that HiddleSwift may have been more compatible than we ever thought. Can’t you just picture the face of watered-down feminism and 2017’s proudest white savior, taking a break from swapping spit to congratulate one another on staying so woke?”
The Silliest Take of the Week: 1/29/2017
Filip Bondy, “How Vital Are Women? This Town Found Out as They Left to March,” The New York Times, 1/22/2017.
Here’s the pitch: Filip Bondy wants to show that women are important. This is a good thing: women are important.
Here’s the problem: Filip Bondy wants to show that women are important by highlighting the plights of their poor, abandoned husbands who had to take care of the kids by themselves for –
listen, if you need to take a moment to collect yourself, that’s fine, this is pretty shocking –
these husbands had to take care of their kids for twelve full hours while the women went away to march for some weird chick thing. Can you imagine? Really goes to show how important women are.
Do you think I’m overstating things? Here is the thesis paragraph:
“In their wake, they left behind a progressive bedroom community with suddenly skewed demographics. Routines were radically altered, and many fathers tried to meet weekend demands alone for a change. By participating in the marches and highlighting the importance of women’s rights, the women also demonstrated, in towns like Montclair, their importance just by their absence.”
those poor bastards, having to meet weekend demands alone
“Usually, these chores and deliveries were shared by both parents, in a thoroughly modern way. On this day, many dads were left to juggle schedules on their own.”
“Steve Politi, a sports columnist for The Star-Ledger of Newark, missed the Rutgers men’s basketball game on Saturday to stay home with his two children. He did the soccer-game thing, set up play dates (arguably, cheating a bit) and warmed up some leftover pizza for lunch. He also cleaned the refrigerator.”
the refrigerator, Linda, the refrigerator – I cleaned the goddamn refrigerator while you were marching for uteruses or whatever, I deserve more respect around here
“After his dutiful Saturday, Mr. Coyle went off to play tennis on Sunday morning. It was part of the deal he had struck with his wife.”
a fair and equitable bargain. Mr. Coyle is truly a just sovereign over his household.
“The buses returned late Saturday night from Washington to a quiet, heartfelt welcome. By Sunday morning, most of the women were back to their routines in Montclair. The JaiPure Yoga Studio reported full attendance, and many fathers exhaled in relief.”
“and in that instant, all returned to normal. the seas ceased to boil, the locusts retreated over the horizon, and the wailing of children could no longer be heard. the villagers mourned their dead, but exulted in the knowledge that the women were home, and finally, all would be well again.”
Maybe, just maybe, if you’re trying to write an article about how women are cool and neat and important and Trump is bad, don’t manage to make it sound like men having to stay with their kids for a Saturday is some kind of Great, Heroic Sacrifice.
Thanks for reading! And thanks to Braden, Amanda, Tim, and Joel for submitting Silly Takes. As always, don’t forget to send your favorite ridiculous takes to firstname.lastname@example.org, and have a great week!