THE SUBTLE ART OF LYING

Sorry to do this on a weekday – not to mention on consecutive days – but I'm doing some traveling and both time and energy are currently at a premium.

1. Indiana's imbecile man-child governor Mike Pence came up with a very creative way to make "Obamacare" look all scary: he had his staff make shit up. More accurately, he had them make a conceptually ludicrous average of the average cost of all available health care exchange options irrespective of the fact that the lowest-cost options are far and away more popular. How does math work? When Forbes is calling bullshit, you've probably gone too far. Nice try though. Very subtle.

2. John Hodgman offers some choice excerpts from back when Ayn Rand had a column for…Parade??? How did I not know that was a thing? Does anyone remember this? Readers really get to see her human side:

Short column today. Once again, I have cut my finger trying to open a can of Fresca. What are they, made of Rearden Metal? I am joking, because I am not joyless. What is your favorite joke, readers? Write me and let me know.

Am I getting trolled? Is this real?

3. Lawyers, Guns, and Money examines the problems created by the stranglehold that two schools – Harvard and Yale – have on legal education in the U.S. and the legal/judicial system in general. Even though I work in an academic field where the same elitist dynamics apply, I found these numbers about law schools shocking.

4. What's this…original reporting from BuzzFeed? It turns out that foreign governments looking for the support of the American defense complex have found that the ol' payola system works remarkably well on right-wing bloggers. Does the name Armstrong Williams ring a bell for those of us with the misfortune to recall the Bush years?

5. You've probably seen this by now, but McDonald's inadvertently admits that no one can live off of minimum wage in the U.S. without having a second job. By offering a budgeting tool for employees, Mickey D's has show its employees just how screwed they are. But, you know…work hard and save and Horatio Alger and Freedom and a bunch of other nonsense. America!

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24 Responses to “THE SUBTLE ART OF LYING”

  1. Xynzee Says:

    "My moral philosophy is founded on the idea that there is an objective reality, and that man’s senses can perceive this objective reality. This faculty, which is man’s reason, is paramount above all else. He takes for evidence only his own experience, his own judgment, and that is why I do not hesitate to say, objectively, definitively, that “Caddyshack” is the year’s best movie."

    Either he's trolling, or Rand was taking the piss, or it was her way of telling the world that anyone who actually took her seriously that the joke was on them, or her pathetic inanity had caught up w her and rotted her brain.

    I'm leaning towards being trolled.

  2. Dallas Says:

    It's Shouts and Murmurs–it's a comic piece. If you're not sure, by reading to the end you should be.

    John Hodgman has also done performance pieces wherein he dresses as female combover enthusiast, Ayn Rand. And it is similarly hilarious.

  3. middle seaman Says:

    1. Republicans have made the rather mild change Obamacare offers into Armageddon. They behave hysterically, stupidly and, as always, vengeful.

    2. Who cares

    3. A short article that tries to make two unrelated points (why?). Lawyery experience doesn't count at law schools and Harvard and Yale practice incest. Academia typically doesn't count non academic experience. There are many other important law schools. DC has two, Georgetown in particular is a liberal center, Chicago, Michigan and several on the West coast.

    4. Payola is king and queen.

    5. The whole country agrees with the abuse, degradation and immorality of minimum wage.

  4. Jimcat Says:

    @middle seaman: the one piece of comic relief in the batch and all you can muster is "who cares"? You need a vacation, or a drink, or to get laid. Or all three.

  5. Sarah Says:

    Those Ayn Rand excerpts sound as though they were either made up or, uh, "modified" from original text. I can't be sure, though, as I haven't actually read any of her stuff.

  6. Anonymouse Says:

    At this point, the Republican party is the party of "makin' shit up to scare the rubes".

  7. c u n d gulag Says:

    I also suspect that you were trolled, Ed

    Having read her massive and repellent word-turds, I don't think Ayn Rand was capable of even half a yuk, let alone a yuk or a yuk-yuk.

  8. Aaron Says:

    The thing about Practical Money Skills for Life is that in general it comes from a good place. There are a lot of people out there who do in fact have enough money and don't manage it well. Working in financial aid, I see them. And PMSL is a program that's aimed at people like, say, high-school students and college undergrads who don't know how to balance a checkbook.

    Applying it to grownups earning minimum wage is absurd. It's a tool for managing your money – not for magically turning poverty into money you can manage.

  9. JohnR Says:

    You do know who John Hodgman is, right? Try his deeply insightful research on hobo matters if you like his work on Ms Rand.

  10. zach Says:

    From what I understand, BuzzFeed's model is to use the viral marketing side to support serious journalism. They actually hired Ben Smith from Politico last year.

    Unfortunately, what they don't seem to understand is that your reaction is entirely predictable. Why should we take them seriously, even if their reporting is good, when the brand is so diluted by their shitty link-baiting lists?

  11. Paul Says:

    Trolled. Duh.

  12. GeoX Says:

    Not only is John Hodgman a comedian, but Shouts & Murmurs is the New Yorker's weekly joke column. Calling this "trolling" is a bit much, since nobody was ever expected to take it at face value.

  13. GeoX Says:

    …to clarify—BECAUSE CLARIFICATION IS THE SOUL OF HUMOR–the stuff in Italics is accurate; the rest is an extrapolation from that. It says she "was offered" a column in Parade, but it's not clear that she accepted the offer.

  14. Eschatos Says:

    Given that John Hodgeman is a comedian, and Ayn Rand wasn't(at least not intentionally), #2 is clearly a satire.

  15. freeportguy Says:

    I'm at the point where Republicans' crying wolf has the reverse effect on me:

    Without even knowing the specifics of an issue at stake, hearing their standard and systematic predictions of Armageddon each and EVERY time makes me instantly believe that those predictions will NOT happen, no matter what.

    It's as if I was listening my ex…

  16. Trombonist Says:

    GeoX got it right; you don't get to read a humorous article by a well-known humorous writer in a well-known humor column and then claim you were "trolled."

  17. mew Says:

    If you thought McDonald's budget template was hilarious, you should read Megan McArdle's predictably innumerate defense.

  18. sluggo Says:

    @Sarah

    Avoid Ayn Rand. It is Vogon Poetry.

  19. Sarah Says:

    @sluggo

    Hee.

    (Seriously, not to worry. I've already had enough barf-worthy reading with the Hayek, the Malkin, the Coulter, and the Venereal Disease TB.)

  20. Nate Says:

    Pence is such an idiot and not a very good governor.

  21. Alan C Says:

    Just for kicks I looked Ayn Rand up on IMDB. She was indeed on Donahue in 1979-80. She has one acting credit, as an extra in the 1927 film King of Kings! Alas, no Match Game or Love Boat.

  22. Cyborg Grandpa Says:

    @ Dallas

    I saw his performance of this at the Bellhouse in Brooklyn a while back. It was pure genius. He, and Eugene Mirman (who MC'ed for the evening) are probably my two favorite comedians currently.

  23. xynzee Says:

    @sluggo:
    That's a terrible thing to say.

    There's no comparison between Vogon poetry and Rand.

    Vogon poetry is quite dulcet and lyrical by comparison. Even when read in the original.

  24. HoosierPoli Says:

    That John Hodgman piece was a RIOT. I'm surprised you don't read the New Yorker more often, Ed, otherwise you'd know that Shouts and Murmurs is weekly short-form satire that is rarely worth missing.