I know that people are depending on me, but I just can’t set my mind back to the boring drudgery of actual work when I still have the inspirational words of Barack Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention rattling in my head like an uplifting dryer ball of hope.
Despite not living up to the great “Tell Me How My Ass Taste” moment of his presidency in last year’s speech, President Barack Obama has to be feeling pretty good. Also, he proposed a whole bunch of things like shutting down Gitmo, raising the minimum wage and so on. While very few if any of these things are likely to happen (because nothing ever happens), that’s all the more reason for President Obama to have used his penultimate State of the Union to lay out an ambitious agenda. (The following is to be read in Barack Obama voice for full effect. Make sure to include the pauses and applause breaks!)
The Pope did lots of things during his visit to America. Chuckled with Jim Gaffigan. Addressed Congress. Met a Baby Pope. And that was all well and good. But it’s his meeting with Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis that has left people with questions. Questions such as: wait, he met with Kim Davis? Why? What? Why? What the hell were they talking about?
It has always been my position that killing animals that are handsome, adorable, or elegant is morally wrong. The only animals that should be killed are ones that are mildly annoying like flies or delicious like wherever hamburgers come from.
So when news broke that the most evil dentist since Christian Szell killed a handsome lion, the reaction was swift, unanimous and correct: fuck that guy. Considering Dr. Walter Palmer, DDS may face extradition to Zimbabwe, and that his best-case scenario is remaining America in a quasi-Twilight Zone state where he is free, but imprisoned by the universal hatred of his neighbors and former friends, his life is certainly ruined. We did it!
The biggest controversy so far of the Hillary Clinton campaign has been the “Clinton Cash” scandal. Peter Schweitzer wrote a book with that same title (and this menacing cover), in which he pointed out the fact that the Clinton Global Initiative basically took whatever money it could get its hands on, often from people who were either evil foreign dictators or who stood to benefit from specific legislation. They also squeezed the money out of their friends! (Actually, I suppose the dictators also become your friends when you take their money).
So if we now know know where the Clinton Ca$h is coming from, the question is, where is it going? Fortunately I was able to get my hands on a pie chart that shows exactly where the Clinton Global Initiative’s money is being spent:
It seems like this controversy is mostly blown out of proportion, except for the pantsuits. That is and always was a misuse of funding.
As 2015 fast approaches is here, what better time is there than now to set down some predictions? I guess maybe a couple weeks ago.
After yet another bill of his doesn’t pass, Barack Obama will wait out the rest of his term out in Hawaii and hope nobody notices. For six weeks or so, nobody does.
Norway and Finland will go to war; Sweden will feel super awkward about it.
There will be roughly one major parade every two months.
The horribly destructive Hurricane Kyler will remind everyone that kids these days have names like “Kyler.”
I will pretend to have read thoughtful essays on the 50th anniversary of: The Great Society, Vietnam, Vietnam and the Great Society, Winston Churchill’s death, Malcolm X’s death, how the deaths of Malcolm X and Winston Churchill are related, the march on Selma, In Cold Blood, Dylan going electric, and the Voting Rights Act.
I will actually read about the 50th anniversary of: the US occupation of the Dominican Republic (that happened?), Muhammad Ali beating Sonny Liston, and the Watts riots.
The top grossing movie will be How to Lose a Guy in 11 Days, marking Matthew McConaughey’s triumphant return to the “terrible rom-com” genre.
A coach will give a speech so powerful at halftime of a game that his team will go on to win the game. Not the game their playing against their opponent–they’ll lose that in heartbreaking, but inspiring fashion as their last play comes up just short. No, no, they’ll go on to win the game OF LIFE.
A new iPhone will come out that will be a slightly different size. Perhaps more importantly, Siri will learn what you humans call love. Also, maybe it’ll be able to like, load stuff more quickly. That’d be neat.
North Korea will launch a massive cyber-attack against Arby’s’s servers (what’s the possessive of a possessive?) for stealing their Decaying Cow Brains recipe.
There will be a major news story involving a koala kidnapping. I’m not sure if the koala is being kidnapped or doing the kidnapping, but either way, it’ll be adorable.
Climate change will be revealed to have been the result of a wacky roommate accidentally messing up his scientist buddy’s data.
Sarah Palin won’t return, which’ll be nice.
There will be a weight loss craze that avoids dogmatic rules, but is instead centered around eating a reasonably diverse diet consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables, with portions of meat to gain protein. It’ll pass quickly in favor of The Diabsleepies Diet, in which you intentionally disable your pancreas in the belief that it gives off anti-nutritious toxins by snorting a line of Pixy Stix before bed.
While it can take years and years to make a movie, it only takes like two hours to watch one, so I saw a whole bunch this year. While I didn’t love all of them, I bet some of you will!
You should see this movie if you…
Stories We Tell (2012, USA)
Fantasize about having a different biological dad.
Her (2013, USA)
Eagerly await robosex.
Short Term 12 (2013, USA)
Want to believe those ragtag, troubled youths are going to make it after all.
The Class (2008, France)
Want to believe those ragtag, troubled French youths are going to make it after all.
Frances Ha (2012, USA)
Believe Greta Gerwig may be adorable and want to spend two hours testing whether or not that really is the case.
Philomena (2013, UK)
Believe Dame Judi Dench may be adorable and want to spend two hours testing whether or not that really is the case.
The Act of Killing (2013, Norway/Denmark/UK)
Want to see the movie with the most “holy shit” moments per minute. In case you’re not familiar, this movie is a documentary in which actual killers re-enacting their killings in the style of various film genres.
Breaking The Waves (1996, Denmark)
Want to see something super morally reprehensible. Every year I end up talking myself into watching a Lars von Trier movie, and every year I end up angry at having spent a long-ass time only to end up quaking with rage at the horrible implications of the events that transpire. In the case of Breaking The Waves, the moral of the story is ostensibly that you should follow your own path toward faith rather than that of a dogmatic church, but what this works out to in practice is that you should always do exactly as your husband tells you, even if it literally means going onto a pirate ship with the explicit intention of being raped to death.
The Hunt (2012, Denmark)
Want to see something marginally less morally reprehensible than Breaking The Waves. For having produced Borgen, AKA the Greatest TV Show Evar, Denmark sure has come up with some objectionable-ass movies. This one’s basically about how children are always going around accusing adults of raping them and we shouldn’t believe them.
Sightseers (2012, UK)
Believe a boring couples vacation can be livened up with a bunch of random, gratuitous murders.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013, USA)
Saw the first Hunger Games and thought, “You know what would make the sequel perfect? If nothing whatsoever was different!”
Gravity (2012, USA)
Hate movies with accurate titles. All they do is float! Honestly, the only way this could be topped is if 12 Years a Slave were called Unionized Workspace.
Flight (2012, USA)
Love accurate movie titles. It’s “Flight”, not “Flights” for a reason. This movie has exactly one exciting flight scene followed by fifty boring drinking scenes.
My Winnipeg (2007, Canada)
Want to believe that the most popular TV show in Winnipeg is one in which an oversensitive man takes offense at something and then needs to be talked out of suicide. I mean, it might be true.
12 Years a Slave (2013, USA)
Want to see Brad Pitt play cast himself in the most self-indulgent role in film history.
In which, for no good reason, I disparage a bunch of countries that probably have lots of nice people in them.
You guys, it’s World Cup season, which means it’s time to laugh at the rest of the world for caring so much about this event. Unlike the Olympics, which are our biennial (not biannual. That’s different.) chance to stick it to China and/or the USSR, America could not give a shit about this event. Like, it’s fun when we win, but then you have to celebrate with the kind of Americans who follow soccer, or as it’s known here in America, soccer. Because this is inevitable, let’s get all the soccer fan insults out of the way. They wear stupid scarves, inexplicably use “side” to mean “team,” “pitch” to mean “field,” “pace” to mean “speed,” “kilometer” to mean “0.621371” miles and annoyingly pluralize team names, as in “On a kilometer by kilometer basis, Brazil have the most pace on the pitch of any side.” Speak normally!
But back to the soccer. There are a lot of countries to keep track of in this tournament, so here’s a handy guide to the teams of the 2014 World Cup.
For a country with such a rich musical tradition, somehow this is still the song I was most quickly able to associate with Brazil.
Win or lose, Brazil’s hilariously corrupt World Cup will go down in history as being hilariously corrupt, that is, unless an interesting soccer thing happens, in which case everyone will forget the billions of dollars used to construct useless stadiums across the country, including one in the middle of the Amazon that is only reachable by plane. Even if Manaus has two million people, it shouldn’t feel like you need Indiana Jones or that adventurer dude from Jumanji to get to a soccer stadium. On the soccer side of thing, they’ve looked underwhelming so far, struggling to finish on their scoring chances and generally looking tight in front of their home crowds. (That might be the only bit of actual soccer analysis I have to give).
Did you guys know that Mexico hates America’s soccer team? It’s true! In any case, Mexico wouldn’t even be in this tournament if it weren’t for America scoring late against Panama in qualification, so you’re welcome, Mexico. I’m sure whenever the Americans make it back to Mexico, they’ll be given their traditional welcome of a golden shower.
On the plus side, their uniforms double as picnic blankets when they’re not using them (the checkerboard element is taken from the Croat Coat of Arms, which is quite the tongue twister). On the downside, I’m pretty sure that every player on their team’s last name ends with ivicisevicicicic, which can be confusing.
For the first time, I actually went ahead and physically attended the 2014 Belmont Stakes. I’m going to walk you through what it’s like to go to the Belmont Stakes, because unless you’re one of the 102,000 people who did so this weekend, you were probably watching from the comfort of your own home (or a Vegas sports bar. Or a prison TV lounge. Both of which may seem like they have their charms, after you read this piece).
Getting to the Belmont Stakes is of course to the first step of going to the Belmont Stakes. It is the second-hardest part of going to the Belmont Stakes. The hardest part, of course, is leaving the Belmont Stakes (we’ll get to that). Besides by car or horseback, there is exactly one way to get from Manhattan to Belmont Park, in the town of Elmont, and that is via the Long Island Railroad, or LIRR. The bad news about the LIRR is that anyone other than the very first people who shoved their way to seats have to stand for the entire forty-minute ride. The good news is that everyone on the train was in a good mood.
As you probably are aware, Facebook COO and all-around successfulperson/self-appointed voice of womankind Sheryl Sandberg has launched a campaign to ban the word “bossy.” Let’s go over the positives of #BanBossy first:
It’s good to encourage girls.
“Bossy” does tend to be used on women and girls more so than on men and boys
Popular people such as Brigitte Bardot, Bob Benson, Bobby Brown, and Benjamin Button have the initials BB.
As you may have guessed, I have some quibbles with the Ban Bossy campaign. And not because in America you can’t ban words, and any attempt to do so is going to invite resistance. And not because if you’re going to tell people they can’t say a thing anymore, “bossy” is the most ironic choice possible. And not for semi-racism reasons. And not because this really only affects the little Sheryl Sandbergs out there, with the implicit message that non-leader (?) little girls can go die their worthless deaths. And not because campaigns against more vicious slurs like Ban Bitchy and Ban Cunty (I was uncomfortable even typing that!) would be more universal.
The problem with Ban Bossy is…do we really want to live in a world in which little girls are as awful and bossy as little boys?
Have you ever met a particularly “assertive” little boy? They’re the worst human beings possible. They assume you want to hear their boring, self-obsessed stories. They Lord of the Flies each other. Are these really the behaviors we want to be enabling in sweet, kind girls?
The answer is not, as Sheryl Sandberg would have it, to encourage girls to develop their leadership skills–it’s to discourage bossy behavior in boys and girls alike lest it fester into something more sinister and they end up becoming “leaders.”
For example, let’s let Sheryl Sandberg (and again I refer to her as “Sheryl Sandberg” because it’s just one of those names that is meant to be said in its entirety) explain what leaders are like as children:
When my brother and sister describe our childhood, they will say that I never actually played as a child but instead just organized other kids’ play. At my wedding, they stood up and introduced themselves by explaining, “Hi, we’re Sheryl’s younger brother and sister … but we’re not really her younger brother and sister. We’re her first employees—employee No. 1 and employee No. 2.” From a very young age, I liked to organize—the toys in my room, neighborhood play sessions, clubs at school.
In short: horrible monsters. Is that what’s wrong with society? Not enough children ruthlessly instilling order and discipline in their play time and trampling anyone who gets in their way?
In conclusion, #BanBossy is very exciting if you’re hoping some more girls can grow up to be women who join the ranks of great leaders such as George Bush, who led us into Iraq, Jordan Belfort who led investors to give him their money, and Richie Incognito who led the Miami Dolphins to bully the bejesus out of Jonathan Martin, and also, an 8-8 record.