URLs du Jour - 2014-12-16

  • Jonah Goldberg is a master pundit. His Friday "G-File" mail is great PG-13 fun to read, and often preview his more respectable op-ed columns.

    Example: last Friday's G-File was subject-lined with: "Jonathan Gruber’s Pants Inferno". Sample:

    In almost every exchange, Gruber fell back on language you’d expect from a stockbroker tied up in an S&M dungeon. I did it because I am a flea! A worm! I am no master of the universe, I am nothing! Punnnniissshhh meee!

    All that was missing were some riding-crop and melted-candle-wax welts, and maybe a shorn scrotum. Hey man, it’s a defense.

    But it’s not a good one. You can blame your arrogance for calling the American voters stupid, but you can’t blame your arrogance for claiming that the bill was designed to hide taxes and deceive the public. If I stab someone 34 times, the jury might want to hear about my arrogance, but whether I’m arrogant or humble, it doesn’t change what I did — and apologizing for it doesn’t clarify where the body is buried.

    But the argument carries over to the less raucous version in Jonah's op-ed, "Jonathan Gruber should've been Time's Person of the Year". The word "scrotum" does not appear. The sober conclusion there:

    […] Gruber's arrogance goes beyond the personal. He represents the arrogance of the expert class writ large. They create systems, terms and rules that no normal person on the outside can possibly penetrate. They make life and living more complicated and then get rich and powerful off of their ability to navigate that complexity. Time and again they sell simplicity and security and deliver more complications and insecurity, which in turn creates demand for more experts promising simplicity and security the Gruberians never deliver.

    So read both, and give thanks for Goldberg.

  • Could P. J. O'Rourke's employer, The Daily Beast, make him write about Lena Dunham? Find out the awful truth at "They Made Me Write About Lena Dunham". Part of Peej's research was to watch an episode of Dunham's HBO series, Girls.

    The young people in Girls are miserable, peevish, depressed, hate their bodies, themselves, their life, and each other. They occupy apartments with the size and charm of the janitor’s closet, shared by The Abominable Roommate. They dress in clothing from the flophouse lost-and-found and are groomed with a hacksaw and gravel rake. They are tattooed all over with things that don’t even look like things the way a anchor or a mermaid or a heart inscribed “Mom” does, and they’re only a few years older than my daughters.

    The characters in Girls take drugs. They “hook up” in a manner that makes the casual sex of the 1960s seem like an arranged marriage in Oman. And they drink and they vomit and they drink and they vomit and they drink and they vomit.

    It’s every parent’s nightmare. I had to have a lot to drink before I could get to sleep after watching this show about young people who are only a few years older than my daughters.

  • I like the homepage at MagicLeap.com. Neal Stephenson is involved with them somehow, so it—whatever "it" is—could be indescribably wonderful.

  • Also check out Kevin Clark's wonderful article about Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck's "trash talk".

    Luck has become famous for congratulating—sincerely and enthusiastically—any player to hit him hard. Any sack is met with a hearty congratulations, such as ”great job” or “what a hit!” He yells it after hard hits that don’t result in sacks, too. It is, players say, just about the weirdest thing any quarterback does in the NFL.

    Weird is a welcome relief from most of the NFL news this season. If the Pats falter, I think I'll be cheering for the Colts.

  • And I think you will laugh at least twice while reading through VAViper's collection of warning labels.