This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

The Cruel And The Dumb Inherit The Earth, Apparently.

William Hogarth, "The Four Stages of Cruelty, Stage I" (1751)To begin with an aside, I confess I don’t care whose feefees I’m hurting when I say this: fratboys are the worst. THE. WORST. This is not a compliment. If any member of the “culture” reading this DOES regard it is a compliment, that would only be proving my point. To any predictable objections to the effect whether I shouldn’t be ranking the Nazis or Islamic terrorists as the worst, I reply with an immortal quote from The Big Lebowski: “Say what you want about National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.” Frat “ethos”, such as it is, revolves getting shitfaced, destruction of property, humiliation, sex crimes, inflicting suffering, and occasionally killing people and animals for the hell of it — for the lulz. So yes, the label “the worst” is entirely apt here. I cannot believe universities and taxpayers shell out money to subsidize this nonsense.

This story from last week is sad and horrible — all the more so because this is precisely the kind of stuff that fratboys find funny, nay, heroic. If you are too lazy to click on the link, here is the summary: some pledges from a Mississippi university broke into a zoo at night supposedly to take a picture of a flamingo for a scavenger hunt. (That’s the frat’s official story, anyway, and it’s TOTES believable — I mean, you would have to break into a zoo at night to take a picture of one of the animals, right?) Moving right along, instead of just taking a picture, these freaks went ahead and kidnapped a flamingo. The bird was found in the morning several miles away with massive internal injuries and a broken leg. Its mate back at the zoo was also found to have severe internal injuries, including ruptured organs. Both birds had to be euthanized. The apparent leader of this worthy exploit, Devin Nottis, was arrested on felony charges after bragging about it on Twitter. Read more…

A Curious Presumption

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, "The Dutch Proverbs" (1559)One of the most mystifying things people say about rape is that being raped by a stranger is “worse” than date rape or any other kind of acquaintance rape. Richard Dawkins (whom I have long believed to be a passive-aggressive misogynist) is getting some well-deserved flogging as we speak for lecturing women on how trivializing “lesser rape” isn’t tantamount to endorsing it. There is a whole series of smarmy, condescending tweets, but what caught my eye in particular was this: Read more…

A Belated Mothers’ Day Wish

Volga barge haulers: they had it easy.

Volga barge haulers: they had it easy.

Here is what I want: I want people to stop saying that motherhood is “the toughest job”. For the record — I am a mother. I especially want people to stop saying that stay-at-home motherhood is “the toughest job”. For the record — I am not a SAHM. Read more…

Un-American, The New Patriotic

Victor Vasnetsov, "The End of Prince Igor's Campagn Against the Cumans" (1880)

Over at Salon there is a worried entry about the increasingly close association between American Evangelical Christians and secessionist kooks, exemplified by Bobby Jindal’s recent waxing poetic about a coming violent overthrow of the Federal Government. With high-level public officials feeling increasingly free to state, publicly and explicitly, that they would like to dismantle this country for not being Jesusy enough (and presumably exterminate the ideologically non-conforming, which is what Jesus buried all those fossil fuels in Red States for), I can see how one can become nervous about a possible violent insurrection. But I am going to go out on a limb here and say: relax, it’s more likely to be an infuriating slow burn than a big scary explosion. Read more…

What Does This Movie Mean? The Coen Brothers’ “Fargo” (1996)

Here is another entry in my amateur critic movie interpretation series. This is Fargo; if you are reading a blog entry interpreting it, I assume you’ve seen it — so I won’t summarize the plot. Let’s just dive right in. Read more…

Ban All Images Just In Case, For Freedom

William Hogarth, "A Midgnight Modern Conversation" (1732)WARNING: The artwork contained in this post depicts an occasional nipple and a baby without undies. If you are under 18, don’t look, or you will die!!! If you are 18 or over, proceed at your own risk, but should you believe you may be harmed by the sight of a female breast or a naked infant, I do encourage you to consult your father, clergyman, therapist, your favorite political candidate or your local Chastity Pariah.

You sheeple will be happy to know that conservative heroes have uncovered the real reason Jay Carney’s kitchen has prints of two WWII-era Soviet posters in it: to make you sign up for Obamacare, convert to Bolshevism, embrace the theory of evolution and make Jesus cry. Never mind that these posters are virtually identical to American propaganda posters from the same era. Never mind that the posters convey rather unobjectionable ideas (unless you are a Nazi sympathizer): “Men, enlist! Your country [which, by the way, was actually honest-to-goodness invaded in WWII] needs you.” “Women, do your part on the home front!” (That “Natasha the Riverter” poster actually reads “strong home front — strong war front”.) Never mind that in recent years, vintage Soviet posters have become something of a fad, and their significance to people who hang them in their kitchens, or bathrooms, or dorm rooms, or laundry rooms, is ironic. No — wingnut pundits know upwards of 5 Russian words (including “dacha”, which this native Russian speaker apparently never understood properly), so leave it to them to tell you what these images really say to you, you poor bovine schmucks without understanding or willpower. Read more…

“Stupid” Is The Least Of It

Unknown, "A Laughing Fool" (c. 1500)So this Dutch 14-year-old got herself arrested for tweeting a terrorist threat at American Airlines. Copycats inevitably followed, because the world is apparently full of people who think that the worst thing about such tweets is that they are “stupid jokes”. Read more…

Ten Rules for Making an Official Apology

Pictured:  NOT Mike Maggio, Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch or that Duck Dynasty dude.  They wish.

Pictured: NOT Mike Maggio, Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch or that Duck Dynasty dude. They wish.

When politicians, public officials or celebrities get caught making outrageous comments, I find myself wondering about the anonymous machiavels who sit in the shadows and craft their boilerplate unapologetic apologies – which, as we all know, accomplish nothing except add fuel to the fire.

I wonder: is it a lucrative occupation, writing the same formulaic nonsense that never works over and over? (Maybe I’m in the wrong profession.) Do these people, who specialize in writing official apologies, actually heed public opinion, seeing as they are supposed to be Public Relations experts? Do they sincerely believe any of their tired semantic tricks for deflecting blame actually work? Do people really pay them for their “services”? Read more…

Auto-Da-Fé

The Burning of Sodomites (unknown artist, German, 1482)
My previous post, Teabagging Jesus, provoked a lengthy discussion in the comments, which devolved into a general argument about the supposedly unfocused and shifting nature of liberalism. At one point, a guest commented that people who harass confront (let’s use a polite term here) women in front of abortion clinics are motivated only by a good-faith concern for those women’s souls, not maliciousness. It’s important that we all understand that, the guest contended. After some reflection, I decided the topic deserves its own post. Read more…

Teabagging Jesus

Pieter Bruegel, "The Ass at School" (c. 1570)Per RightWingWatch, Family Research Counsel Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin gave an exhilarating speech about the meaning of “Biblical Manhood”. It’s pure comedy gold. According to Boykin, Jesus was a “man’s man” and a “tough guy”, who “smelled bad” and had huge biceps and bulging veins from all the carpentry he was doing. Boykin laments the “feminized Jesus” that the church presents, that provides no inspiration to modern Real American Men, men communicate by grunts, shoot unarmed “urban” teenagers for freedom and have more neck tattoos than teeth. Read more…

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