(Last Week in Weird is slightly late this week due to ongoing turmoil here at Bumbling Bees world headquarters and discount undergarments shop. All apologies, and we hope to have things sorted out soon!)
We’ve spent some months here at Bumbling Bees laughing at the sheer stupidity of the rhetoric from the anti-Trump partisans, and sometimes I get a bit uneasy about that. I get worried that you fine people will conclude that I’m some type of Trump supporter, which is not at all the case; I’d spend far more time criticizing the president himself in these pages if only I could see a reason. Everyone in the mainstream press blows him up for absolutely every tiny fault, whether real or imagined — as a result, it seems to your humble narrator as though it would be far more fun to make fun of the media hacks instead.
And this is exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about.
You have the obligation to remain silent
Ah, America. Land of the free! Home of the Barves! Where the only thing more cherished than apple pie, baseball, and motherhood is the absolute, rock-solid, George Washington-approved, First Amendment-guaranteed right to free speech. I’m sure you know it by heart:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Of course, as any fule kno, the Constitution is a "living document." What necromantic rites were involved in this black sorcery your humble narrator shudders to think, but apparently the Constitution, quite unlike every other piece of paper in the history of the world, has the power to update itself whenever the disembodied flying devil head of Uncle Sam wills it to be. And, in an astonishing turn of events, He communicates His grand design to us through the federal judiciary. Last week, the holy judiciary handed down the magical new text of the First Amendment, which has apparently been updated with a rider adding "… unless minor bureaucrats don’t like it."
The God That Failed
Ever noticed what a complete fraud democracy is? Let’s go right on ahead and notwithstand that even on its own terms, it’s rubbish; rather, I’d prefer to focus on the utterly phony way "democracy" is leveraged as a scare tactic; it seems as though, whatever happens, it’s a "threat to democracy" or it will "undermine democracy" or perhaps it will even be "the end of democracy." By my count, all the democracy everywhere should have ended about eleven times over since election day, yet it apparently struggles onward, facing new existential threats every day.
The latest threat to democracy, of course, is the dreaded Fake News. As any fule kno, but as only the kind of fule who works for a government school will breathlessly explain to you, the entire reason for the evil Donald Hitler’s victory over St. Hillary of Clinton is that the internet was so infested with fake news that everybody forgot how great Hillary is. I am compelled to agree with this thesis, since your humble narrator seems to have forgotten that quite thoroughly.
It’s been only a few short weeks since the eight-year horror that was the Obama administration gave way to the new and exciting horror of the Trump administration, but I bet you’d already forgotten about Joe Biden. No, admit it, you forgot. Well, uncle Joe’s been a busy man, starting a new career for himself at the University of Pennsylvania, where he’s been named the "Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor," a gigantic mouthful of syntax stew with no clear meaning. What does it mean to be a professor of "presidential practice?" Does the University of Pennsylvania have a "Being the President" major? Was Benjamin Franklin ever president? These questions, and many more, are in need of answer.
Don’t ask the university, though; they’re as clueless as we are.
With thunderous applause
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the past few months, it’s that you just can’t trust them Russkies. I turned my back on them for one minute, and bam! They stole all of my elections. If you’re anything like me — and you know you are — you’re sick and tired of having your precious, hard-earned elections stolen by the Reds, but what can you do about it? Nothing, that’s what! Oh, if only someone from the government were here to help!
Citing increasingly sophisticated cyber bad actors and an election infrastructure that’s "vital to our national interests," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is designating U.S. election systems critical infrastructure, a move that provides more federal help for state and local governments to keep their election systems safe from tampering.
Ain’t no rest for the wicked
Bumbling Bees loves you. You know that. And Bumbling Bees is good to you. Other web sites are phoning it in this time of year — wasting your time with boring retrospectives and "Best of 2016" lists, as though said lists don’t begin and end with the utter annihilation of Hillary Clinton. Well, you’ll have none of that here. We’ll be soldiering boldly onward into 2017, because the weird don’t rest, so neither do we.
And neither does Slate, which has just published the absolute worst opinion piece of the year. I know what you’re thinking: mighty bold claim for January second. Still and all, I am confident this piece will survive 363 days of challenges. It’s a piece about a big problem with self-driving cars. Now, let’s play a little game. Take a minute or so and think about what this piece could possibly be saying. What could be this big problem with self-driving cars? What mind-bogglingly stupid thing do you suppose Slate has chosen to ring in the new year? Think of the dumbest thing you can possibly imagine, and then check and see how close you were.
You’ve probably heard by now, but the next president of the United States will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. We know this because a stalwart bastion of journalistic integrity said so — specifically Newsweek, which made the decision to go ahead and print its special commemorative "Madam President" issues well in advance of the election. Newsweek defended itself by pointing out that this is a common practice; production times being what they are, generally both commemorative issues do get printed, and only the correct one sees distribution. CNN even provided intellectual cover by referencing the true correct fact that MLB produced both Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians World Series championship memorabilia, but only sold the Cubs version (the Indians gear will be offloaded in the third world as discount apparel — no, that’s true). There’s just one problem with the story.
As CNN explains to its slower readers, "this is the media version of World Series keepsakes that were on sale in Cleveland and Chicago last week. Street vendors printed "Cubs win" and "Indians win" T-shirts, then trashed the Indians shirts after the Cubs won Game 7."
There is just one very notable difference: in the case of the World Series, there were two sets of shirts created. However, in the case of the infamous Newsweek special edition, the publishing company Topix, decided to print just one.
Guess which. [Emphasis original]
Do the Bartman
Somehow — and I don’t profess to know how — the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last week. The game itself was utterly absurd, packed with virtually every insane occurrence that can occur in the game of baseball — but isn’t it always? That’s part of the wonder of baseball. Against all odds, it still manages to be full of surprises, even long after we should have seen everything there is to see. For my part, I’ve never seen a wild pitch score two runs before. I’ve also never seen a bunt call as bizarre as the one Joe Maddon put on in the ninth inning, a call so bad it makes one wonder if the game really is rigged for maximum drama. Unlike elections, however, baseball would be too difficult to gimmick, what with the unknown ball position and all.
One might ask, not unreasonably, why I’m writing about baseball on a site about libertarianism. I might respond, also not unreasonably, that this is a lesson in property rights; specifically, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I please.
The naked truth
(Alternative headlines: "the naked city," "the empress’ new clothes," "Bare Stearns")
You gotta hand it to the New York Daily News; loony-left though it may be, the commie rag nonetheless manages to run some quintessentially New York stories, such as this charming missive about a naked statue of Hillary Clinton put up in Manhattan, and the spasms of violence that ensued almost immediately. The Daily News also has a talent for giving stories humongously unappetizing headlines; this one opens with "SEE IT: Naked statue of Hillary Clinton," which: no thank you.
An artist erected an obscene statue of Hillary Clinton in downtown Manhattan Tuesday morning causing a heated fight between defenders of the profane piece of protest art and women trying to tear it down.
The grotesque caricature of the Democratic candidate appeared outside the Bowling Green station during morning rush hour on Tuesday and shows Clinton with hoofed feet and a Wall Street banker resting his head on her bare breasts.
Man, those Trump supporters and their violent behavior, you know? I fully expect to hear that the attacker — a government employee called Nancy who works for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (a federal agency) — is a big Trump backer. That sounds like the right profile, doesn’t it? I expect her backup — an unidentified woman in a hijab — is also a Trumpista.
A great many people, when first beginning to explore philosophy, will hit upon the idea that reality is not what it appears to be; in ye olden days, it was common to describe it as a dream or a vision, but, in a post-Matrix world, the zeitgeist has shifted such that people tend to describe this creaky old philosophical trope in terms of giant computer simulations instead. Regardless of the precise form, this is a very common idea, yet not one quite so common as to disabuse people of the notion that they are unique great geniuses when they first hit upon it. Said list of people now apparently includes a great many high-level political cronies, such as those at Bank of America:
Top bank analysts claim there’s a 50% chance our world is a computer simulation and we’re all plugged into a Matrix-style virtual reality.
And they also reckon if it’s true — then there’s no way we’ll ever find out about it.
The Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch made the astonishing claim in a research note citing comments by top scientists, astrophysicists and philosophers.
If you think this is breaking news, just wait until next week, when they unveil their startling conclusion that there’s a 70% chance that you’re being stalked by a giant, ferocious, man-eating tiger — but you’ll never be able to find it, because the tiger is invisible.