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Take the skinheads bowling

[ 66 ] September 26, 2016 |

earl anthony

This makes me feel a little better about tonight’s impending slow-motion car crashdebate:

Presidential candidate debates are kind of ridiculous under normal circumstances, but under these circumstances you can change “kind of ridiculous” to “surreal beyond the literary powers of James Joyce on LSD to describe adequately.”

I mean how do you “debate” somebody who doesn’t know anything about anything, who simply makes up whatever he feels like saying at the moment, and who is therefore essentially doing a kind of stand-up routine version of authoritarian ethno-nationalism, as opposed to “debating” in the conventional sense? We might as well decide some question of potentially existential significance via a bowling contest, except the winner will be determined by whoever Maureen Dowd thinks looks like a better bowler, as opposed to counting how many pins get knocked down.

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  • Hercules Mulligan

    It’s a paraphrase, but I’m going to start using “white supremacist stand-up routine” to describe Trump speeches.

    • (((max)))

      ‘Late Nite Aryan Informercial’

      max
      [‘If you call now, we’ll throw in FREE! our special edition of Mein Kampf! You can get this and your very own piece of the Mexican Wall if you act in the next 30 minutes!’]

      • efgoldman

        If you call now, we’ll throw in FREE! our special edition of Mein Kampf!

        Get it in the original German for only a small additional shipping charge.

  • Murc

    I mean how do you “debate” somebody who doesn’t know anything about anything, who simply makes up whatever he feels like saying at the moment, and who is therefore essentially doing a kind of stand-up routine schtick version of authoritarian ethno-nationalism, as opposed to “debating” in the conventional sense?

    It seems worth noting that the Presidential debates haven’t been debates in the conventional sense in a very, very long time. What they are are joint press conferences with a certain degree of purely optional crosstalk.

    Seriously. I’ve observed to one degree or another (usually the transcripts) every debate since 2000. And I often see candidates simply flat-out refuse to answer questions and simply deliver their campaign talking points, sometimes not even in response to the question; sometimes as their rebuttal, which should theoretically engage with what the other person said.

    I’ve never seen anyone pay a price for doing that. Not once. I’ve never seen a moderator cut in and say “Excuse me, but you’re not answering my question” or “That was, of course, entirely non-responsive” and then re-state the question. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the opposing candidate call them out on it! It certainly never comes up in post-mortems.

    They’ve been “debates” only in a very loose sense.

    Trump doesn’t really need to interact with Clinton at all, which makes life easier for him. All he has to do is just stay on-message. He might not even need to answer the questions; what is Holt gonna do if he doesn’t, precisely?

    This opens up an opportunity for Clinton if she’s willing to violate norms; if she’s willing to look dead into the camera and say “Donald Trump just lied to you for sixty seconds.” If Trump just ignores that it means he got insulted to his face by a mere woman and just stood there, which means he has to engage, and if he engages I think Clinton can take him down hard.

    This is just me spitballing, though.

    • postmodulator

      Yeah, this. The Wasilla Grifter even announced at one point that she wouldn’t be answerin’ the host’s questionifyin’.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Lauer Holt

      • Murc

        Yeah, that’s my bad. I realized after I posted, went back and edited as well as adding some more thoughts. Good eye. I got my dudes mixed up.

    • pianomover

      Ford / Carter was the first televised debate after the 60 Kennedy / Nixon debate.

      They don’t go back that far really.

    • NewishLawyer

      The articles I read over the weekend gave a history lesson. The Networks did not want to moderate originally but Kennedy and Nixon demanded the presence of journalists. The networks idealize the old Lincoln-Douglas debate with the two candidates giving speeches and questioning each other.

      The chances of this happening are nil especially in the age of bad faith.

      • efgoldman

        The networks idealize the old Lincoln-Douglas debate with the two candidates giving speeches and questioning each other.

        Plus the League of Women Voters organized the debates as a true neutral arbiter, in the then-true belief that both parties actually believed in governance and just had different ways to accomplish it.

        That Tricksie Dicksie Nixie was a sociopath hadn’t entered into it yet.

        OTOH. it was in the debates that JFK sandbagged Tricksie with the “missile gap” that Ike had allowed to occur (which didn’t really exist), and Quemoy and Matsu, two inconsequential tiny islands between mainland China and Taiwan, then under Taiwanese control, which the commies were shelling on a daily basis and claiming as their own. I don’t remember what happened to them, and I don’t think anybody cares.

        • Karen24

          I don’t know what happened either, but “Quemoy and Matsu” was the extra credit question on my required government class at UT in 1982. The question was “what was the name of the islands Kennedy asked Nixon about in their 1960 Presidential debate.”

        • cpinva

          “That Tricksie Dicksie Nixie was a sociopath hadn’t entered into it yet.”

          not true. pretty much everyone knew he was a sociopath, going back to the McCarthy red baiting days. the problem was, no one could quite figure out how to get rid of him, absent him committing some totally outrageous gaffe’. he wasn’t stupid, and either managed to avoid committing said gaffe’, or did it and no one noticed. Eisenhower couldn’t stand him, recognizing him pretty much for what he was, an oily used car salesman, with a paranoid streak. not that Eisenhower was our best president, but far from the worst. probably the last relatively sane republican.

      • In 1992 there was a Clinton/Brown debate on “Donahue” (really) that was like that: no moderator and the candidates asking each other questions for 60 minutes. It was excellent and should be the norm but won’t.

        • Karen24

          That says more about Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown than it does about the format.

      • Bloix

        1) The Lincoln-Douglas debates were not during a presidential campaign. In 1858, Lincoln and Douglas were vying for election to the US Senate. Douglas was the incumbent. Because senators were elected by the state legislature, the election at issue was for the members of the legislature. Lincoln’s party did not take control and Douglas was reelected.

        2) The candidates did not ask or answer questions. The first speaker spoke for 60 minutes, then the second spoke for 90 minutes, and then the third speaker gave a 30 minute rebuttal.

    • cpinva

      “what is Holt gonna do if he doesn’t, precisely?”

      well, if he had control of the mic button, he could just cut Trump’s off. he might not answer the question, but he won’t get an opportunity to blather on about something else either. his lips’ll be moving, we’ll know he’s lying, but we’ll be spared having to actually hear him.

  • junker

    I think it’s an important window into this election that zach Galifianakis was intentionally trying to be as absurd as possible for the sake of comedy… But Trump is likely to be even more absurd than that tonight.

    Also, I know it’s unlikely, but if you gave me, say, 100-1 odds that Trump either doesn’t show up tonight or fails to stay for the whole thing, I’d take that bet.

    • JohnT

      I’d take 20-1

    • NonyNony

      What are the odds that Trump says something that is intended as an attack that Clinton laughs at?

      • efgoldman

        What are the odds that Trump says something that is intended as an attack that Clinton laughs at?

        Infinity

    • cpinva

      “But Trump is likely to be even more absurd than that tonight.”

      sadly for the viewing audience, Trump isn’t funny, making him a classic conservative.

  • I mean how do you “debate” somebody who doesn’t know anything about anything, who simply makes up whatever he feels like saying at the moment,

    Don’t we do this all the time in comments here? :)

    Naming no names…

    • petesh

      Some of us, however, take a tip from Brave Sir Robin.

    • efgoldman

      Don’t we do this all the time in comments here? :)

      It sure seems as if many/most of us (including me :::sigh:::) keep a large supply of Purina Troll Chow next to our keyboards.

  • Cash & Cable

    Speaking of authoritarian ethno-nationalism, Houston media is reporting that a lawyer who injured nine people in a shooting spree today had Nazi paraphernalia on him.

    • He’s apparently of (Asian) Indian descent, so probably any swastikas were just good luck charms, right? No Nazis in Texas!

      • Just_Dropping_By

        I was fully prepared to say it was possible that a Hindi swastika was being misinterpreted, but since he reportedly was actually wearing a full-blown WWII German military uniform during the shootout, I guess it probably was more likely than not actual Nazi paraphernalia.

      • Scott P.

        He’s apparently of (Asian) Indian descent, so probably any swastikas were just good luck charms, right? No Nazis in Texas!

        Obligatory.

    • NewishLawyer

      Yeah I saw that.

    • Bill Murray

      a lawyer who injured nine people in a shooting spree today had Nazi paraphernalia on him

      White Skin? like Ed Gein

  • joho9119

    Dowd column on Tuesday: Why So Shrill Hill? Don Takes Home The Bacon

  • econoclast

    Has anyone heard who Clinton used as a Trump stand-in in the debate prep? That has to be greatest job ever. You get paid for being the biggest asshole ever, knowing that the fate of the Republic depends on your ability to act like an asshole. But who’s up the task? Alan Grayson? Vince MacMahon? Kanye?

    • cleek
    • Hercules Mulligan

      It was Philippe Reines, per NYT, a longtime aide of HRC whom everyone seems to agree is a real asshole and thus perfect.

    • Murc

      Kanye could do it. Indeed, that may have been the moment he was born for.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        Kanye could do it. Indeed, that may have been the moment he was born for.

        Imma let you finish, but Donald Trump had one of the best moments of all time.

    • XTPD

      William Maher, SUPERGENIUS would have been perfect.

      • sharculese

        Might actually be too sexist.

        • Johnny Sack

          …too sexist.

          Ha! Good one.

    • Philip

      I’ve been saying for months it should have been Colbert

      • efgoldman

        I’ve been saying for months it should have been Colbert

        Hey she’s going to have enough trouble keeping a straight face.

        • N__B

          “Why. So. Serious?”

  • NewishLawyer
    • Caepan

      Wow! A registered sex offender who sells Nazi – er, I mean “historical German flags.”

      Wonder if he’s a “sovereign citizen” too? That would be quite the trifecta!

    • leftwingfox

      It’s impressive to see that much horrible condensed into a single dense point.

      • bobbo1

        Well that’s what economic anxiety does to people

      • (((Malaclypse)))

        Just don’t call him “deplorable.”

  • joejoejoe

    It’s hard to bowl your game when Pete Weber doing the crotch chop after ever frame.

    • Julia Grey

      “Crotch chop”???

      Sounds…kinky.

      And excruciating.

      • joejoejoe

        It’s a bowling gesture that loosely translated means “I am great, look at my genitals!”

  • Bowling would be amusing. I’m pretty sure that only one of the candidates has hands big enough to properly handle a bowling ball.

    • piratedan

      duck pins could be an option and/or kiddie lanes bumpers in place… you know, low bar and all

  • NewishLawyer

    Another essay from shocked, shocked Conor F about what happened to the GOP and Donald:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/donald-trumps-cruel-streak/501554/

    But even in a realm where the harshest critiques are part of the civic process, Trump crossed a line this week when he declared his intention to invite Gennifer Flowers to today’s presidential debate. What kind of man invites a husband’s former mistress to an event to taunt his wife? Trump managed to launch an attack that couldn’t be less relevant to his opponent’s qualifications or more personally cruel. His campaign and his running-mate later said that it was all a big joke. No matter. Whether in earnest or in jest, Trump showed his tendency to humiliate others.

    So the pundit-elite class of the GOP/Libertarians is still being rudely awakened by the senseless cruelty of their base and how many Americans seem to fall for an authoritarian-bully and scream “Fleece me!! Fleece me!!!”

    So I think things are going to get bad even if HRC wins, even if it is a landslide.

    • Linnaeus

      Friedersdorf better watch his “political correctness” there.

    • NonyNony

      How old is Conor? 8? Republicans have been cruel like this since Nixon at least – they just kept it on the downlow because they were afraid of the backlash from the voters.

      They’ve now managed to cultivate a base of voters who appreciate the casual cruelty. They may not have realized that was what they were doing when Nixon and co. embarked on their quest to remake the party into a mirror of Nixon’s soul (such as it was), but that’s what they got!

      • Philip

        I’m fairly certain Nixon didn’t actually appear in mirrors

      • keta

        Was there anything, anything at all at which Dick Nixon didn’t cheat?

        Tricky, this is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.

        • efgoldman

          Tricky, this is not ‘Nam. This is bowling.

          He actually had a bowling alley installed in the WH basement.

    • JustRuss

      Whether in earnest or in jest, Trump showed his tendency to humiliate others.

      Yes, we certainly never noticed that tendency before the Flowers incident. Totally out of the fucking blue.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Trump is more clever than that.

      He leaked that Flowers was coming (he may have even invited her, but what is his word worth?).

      He got the media talking endlessly about Flowers and the Clinton scandals for days instead of, say, the numerous illegalities of the Trump foundation.

      Now she’s not coming, and he gets to appear “presidential” by not bringing her.

      Win. Win. Win.

  • (((max)))

    This makes me feel a little better about tonight’s impending slow-motion car crash debate:

    You’re not dumb enough to actually watch this thing, are you? They DON’T have medication for that yet. (Someday…)

    We might as well decide some question of potentially existential significance via a bowling contest, except the winner will be determined by whoever Maureen Dowd thinks looks like a better bowler, as opposed to counting how many pins get knocked down.

    She Divines Water:

    […]
    When I lay down to sleep,
    I feel the world spin
    Slightly off axis,
    it’s shaped like a fig

    And when I lie next to you,
    I shiver and shake
    You tell me you love me,
    I dream I’m awake

    How can I believe that everything in this world
    is going to be fine?
    And how can I believe that everything in this world
    has its place and time?

    ‘Cause when I lay down to sleep,
    I have the same dream
    Of a world-famous actress
    in a pink limousine

    And she flies through the sky
    in that pink Cadillac
    while the boys of the Press,
    we drink vodka in back

    And she tells us our fortune
    by crumbling leaves
    And she teaches us card tricks,
    the Jack makes us weak

    SHE DIVINES WATER
    by dancing a jig for the
    BOYS OF THE PRESS
    She will wrestle a pig

    max
    [‘ :} ‘]

    • Kerans

      And when I win the lottery
      Gonna buy all the girls on my block
      Silver plated
      Six shooters with a quart of the finest highland scotch
      Cause when I win the lottery
      The righteous will shake their heads and say
      That God is good, but surely works in mysterious ways
      When I win the lottery.

      • (((max)))

        Oh,
        my beloved revolutionary sweetheart

        I can see your newsprint face
        turn yellow in the gutter
        It makes me sad
        How I long for the days
        when you came to liberate us from boredom
        From driving around
        from the hours between
        five and seven in the evening
        My beloved Tania,
        We carry your gun
        deep within our hearts
        For no better reason than our lives have no meaning
        And we want to be on television

        max
        [‘This should be a great evening to take a big dump and have a nice bath.’]

    • efgoldman

      You’re not dumb enough to actually watch this thing, are you?

      Nope.
      What am I going to learn that I didn’t know already. Plus I don’t want to break my flat screen.
      It’s not like I’m gonna’ change my mind if HRC says Poland isn’t under occupation.

  • Alexander OConnor

    Where is Camper Van Beethoven in the LGM pantheon?