by John Walters

What Exactly Makes Him Honorable?

William Barr testified in front of a Congressional subcommittee yesterday and why watch because he’s a very smart lawyer and an extremely wicked man who’s not about to be candid about anything?

That said, this invective-launch from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) was precisely the wrong way to go about it. Instead of preaching, which is what she did, be Socratic. Ask short questions that demand short answers until Barr paints himself into a corner. Of course, he’s a shrewd guy and will probably anticipate the maneuver, but simply coming out of Round 1 and firing all your punches before he’s even had a chance to speak, well, that’s not the way to approach this, is it?

The Wisdom Of Minchin

We’ve posted Tim Minchin videos before and we’ll continue to do so because we love everything about him. The entire staff here at MH are Aussiephiles (from Olivia Newton-John to Crocodile Dundee to Darren Bennett to Nicole Kidman, no other continent puts out more quality humans per capita).

We’ll condense this speech for the lazy and or harried:

–On fame and wealth: “It’s not only lonley at the top but populated by unnecessary chairs.”

–Tim’s three tips for aspiring artists (and people): 1) Get good, get really good at what you do, 2) Be authentic and 3) and the most important, Be kind.*

*If nothing else stick around to that part of the speech where Tim speaks about the importance of being kind, which leads us to our next item

There’s Both An “I’ and “Me” In America, Sadly

In a Tuesday Op-Ed for The New York Times, Paul Krugman made a wonderful point about the Cult of Trump that is so obvious that many of us missed it. That is, Trumpism and Trump GOP’ism isn’t about conservatism or patriotism or the Bill Of Rights or even capitalism. It’s much more basic than that.

What Trumpism is about, and what its supporters advocate, is selfishness. Taking care of themselves above all else. Krugman doesn’t even bring this into his column, but is there any better way to translate “America First?”

It’s the principle of the thing,” Krugman writes in “The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America.” “Many on the right are enraged at any suggestion that their actions should take other people’s welfare into account.”

Like wearing a mask. Or protecting the environment. Or not being permitted to own a greater arsenal of weapons than any Scandinavian nation’s military. Or not pointing guns at people who are marching past your house. Or obeying the rule of law when it’s your friend or accomplice who’s in jail.

The Cult of Trump is all about selfishness. And that selfishness exists because they either 1) have all they need and don’t want to have to think about anyone else (the Trump rich) or 2) they are poor and Trump has persuaded them that it’s someone else’s fault (China, Mexicans, you name it).

I hope most Americans are not selfish. But far too many are. And Trump let them know they had a right to be proud of it. I’d rather take Tim Minchin’s advice: be kind.

By the way, have you noticed how the president is quick to blame others if a situation falls into his lap that was not directly of his doing (e.g., China, the virus) but how he never acknowledges that most everything he has achieved in life (his fortune, his admission to Penn) was not of his doing? So if he is the beneficiary of fate, that’s never humbly acknowledged. But if fate derails him, all he does is whine.

And yet there are people who admire him. People who would not permit this behavior from their five year-old.

The Walking Deadspin

Deadspin is returning. Well, Deadspin still exists, but the people who were the meat-and-bones of the site, who all defected a year ago after editor Barry Petchesky was fired for basically not sticking to sports, are back with a site called DefectorMedia.

It launches in September and will have a subscription price of $8 per month. Most of the old gang are back. The problem, as we see it, is that Deadspin does not currently have a signature voice the way Will Leitch once was or what Drew Magary became. That would help them land subscriptions. We wish them luck.

Cotton Mouth

Middle-aged American white men. I mean, really, they’re the worst.

By now you’ve heard that Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton referred to slavery as “a necessary evil” (and, according to Bill O’Reilly, they were well-fed, so don’t forget that) and I mean, really, are you mansplaining slavery in the year 2020? Holy cats!

Cotton’s entire polemic began when he and other GOP senators felt threatened at the idea of The New York Times’ 1619 Project being taught in schools (paging the Scopes Monkey Trial on line 1). It’s funny how upset southern Republicans get over things such as facts and science, is it not?

What Cotton doesn’t understand, nor do his followers, is that by saying that slavery was a “necessary evil” he’s saying that the America we have today (and ain’t she grand, folks!) would not be as fruitful and formidable as it supposedly is (and definitely is for rich white folk such as Cotton and his boosters) without the free labor of blacks. And that’s true. But by saying that he’s implying that, hey, it was worth it.

It’s like one of those Westerns where the hero rides the horse to rescue the damsel and in so doing the horse literally dies of exhaustion, but we’re supposed to not mind because the damsel (whom we hear was a cheap floozy with a room up stairs at Jasper’s Saloon and Boarding House, if you know what we mean and you do) was saved. But you know what? No one bothered to ask the horse how he felt.

Except that here the horse isn’t a horse. It’s a fellow human being.

Hold up, hold up,” Trevor Noah said on Monday’s episode of The Daily Show. “So Senator Cotton thinks this curriculum is racially divisive? You know what’s really racially divisive? Slavery.”

Yup. But men such as Cotton don’t want to say that. Because the moment they admit that slavery was flat-out wrong, that it was one half of a ‘necessary evil,’ they’re worried that the next word they’ll hear is ‘reparations.’ And that’s one thing they want to deal with even less than the 1619 Project.

Trevor Noah makes one more excellent point in his video. Cotton is saying that this country could not have become what it was without slavery. Which is exactly what the 1619 Project is saying. So if they agree, what is Cotton so, excuse me, uppity about?

Could it be that in his version, Cotton thinks this mean that no one should be blamed? No one, you know, like white people? Because the ends justified the means?

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