WHAT MATTERS MOST

Posted in Quick Hits on December 30th, 2016 by Ed

Things that are A-OK on Facebook:

-Racial slurs
-Overt racism
-Doxxing
-Sexism that would make a 1950s Friars Club audience wince and think "Geez, take it easy pal"
-Fake news
-Copious profanity
-Fake profiles from scam marketers

Things that get you banned from Facebook for seven days:

-Posting a screenshot of a message some random stranger sent you reading, "You are a fucking pussy and allow your minions to speak, and attack, on your behalf. Nice. Fuck off."

Makes sense to me. See you back there in a week!

T-SHIRT "300"

Posted in Quick Hits on December 22nd, 2016 by Ed

The response to the "Everything is Terrible" t-shirts exceeded all possible expectations, and I'll have to order a few hundred (!!!) more early next year. For now, all sizes are sold out except for the last few I have in the bottom of the box: 4 men's XL, 2 men's L, 1 men's M, and two women's v-neck M. If you're interested in any of those sizes, take them off my hands here. Until I get more delivered, sate your needs with Clurb shirts and bumper stickers (I saw my first one in the wild, it's majestic.)

FISCHER-PRICE "MY FIRST DICTATORSHIP" KIT

Posted in Quick Hits on December 22nd, 2016 by Ed

As first reported in NY Mag, Trump plans to maintain his own private security detail while in the White House. That can serve no conceivable purpose other than to circumvent the Secret Service and, you know, the basic tenets of legal conduct that it adheres to. He's just smart enough to realize that the Secret Service isn't going to go around beating up protesters at his command. You know who will? Glorified mall cop private security guards.

I'm starting to wonder if part of the transition plan involved Googling "All the things Hitler did" and then seeing how many of them he could imitate before anyone could stop him. Hitler analogies are reductive and hyperbolic in most cases, anyone who doesn't know about the centrality of a party security apparatus loyal only to Hitler himself and functionally above the law to the erosion of the German state in the 1930s should read up on it presently. References like "SA" and "Sturmabteilung" probably don't mean much to most Americans today – hell, a lot of us couldn't give a coherent explanation of "Nazi" at this point – but between Trump's army of shut-ins ready to harass and bombard with death threats anyone he identifies as The Enemy and this bizarre move toward sidestepping the legal restrictions on Federal law enforcement employees, we may be in for a crash course.

WHY STOP NOW

Posted in Quick Hits on December 19th, 2016 by Ed

We've spent the better part of 18 months predicting one Donald Trump moment after another will be the straw that breaks the camel's back, the moment where we announce that we've proven ourselves willing to put up with quite a lot but this time he has Gone Too Far. And then the election rolled around and we proved that we really have no values, ethics, or standards for behavior as a society that we're not willing to waive when the prospect of a tax cut and cracking down on scary brown people is on offer. Right-wingers have always been good at the hypocrisy of preaching civility and Family Values for everyone but themselves, but it's not far-fetched to describe 2016 as having taken it to a new level.

So when the Russian hacking stuff came out after the election – which, to be clear, I don't believe told us anything that anyone paying attention could not have concluded with confidence prior to the election – I was embarrassed to find myself thinking yet again, "Well this time he's gone too far." Cut me a little bit of slack, though. If there's one thing that old white people, and old white conservatives in particular, could not conceivably go soft on it would be The Russians. We are a nation of people literally raised to hate, fear, and mistrust The Russians even when there is no logical reason to do so and even (or especially) when we don't quite understand why. They are the bad guys, period. They always have been and they always will be. Even abandoning communism didn't change the dynamic. America Good, Russia Bad.

Except, of course, when they actively attempt to screw Hillary Clinton. Then they're our pals, or at the very least they are inept and harmless.

The closest thing to a silver lining from this year is the way we will emerge from it with a much clearer understanding of American conservatism in its current incarnation; at its core, it really is just authoritarianism. They can try to decorate it with bows and ribbons and puerile rhetoric about God and Guns and Freedom, but this man-crush on Putin gives the lie to all of it. The closest thing to a legitimate use of "freedom" by anyone willing to cozy up with that guy is a selfish, authoritarian one. We love freedom in the sense that everyone should be free to do as they please as long as they do exactly as I do.

When you're willing to excuse away a foreign country trying to fuck with our presidential election what you're really saying is that you've gone so far in on this hand that you don't see any reason to stop now even when logic and judgment dictate that you should. This is like a gambler down to his last $20 pouring it into a slot machine and figuring that having $0 to your name and $20 to your name are, if not economically or rationally identical, functionally so.

CURIOUS GAMBLE

Posted in Quick Hits on December 15th, 2016 by Ed

If you feel like you've been in withdrawal from the pre-election "We talked to Trump voters and you won't believe the stupid things they say" pieces, Vox has you covered.

Despite the tone of the previous sentence, this Sarah Kliff piece is actually pretty good. It interviews rural Kentuckians who stand to lose their health coverage (which they gripe about in terms of price, granted) if Trump goes through on his promise to repeal the ACA. Two things stand out.

1. Contrary to the widely held view that Trump voters are low on information, these people (all of whom voted for him) appear to be well aware of his promise to repeal the ACA and "replace" it with…well, don't worry about that part. Whatever it is will be great. So a lack of information is not the problem here. They have chosen the curious strategy of assuming that even though he said he intends to repeal it on his first day in office, he will not actually do so. "Too many people depend on it" and "You can't just take insurance away from all these people" are the common themes here.

That is a really odd roll of the dice compared to the other candidate who promised to continue or expand the law. Personally, I wouldn't put a lot of faith in a man who literally craps in a solid gold toilet to care suddenly about some Appalachian yokels' subsidized health insurance. And anyone who thinks that the current crop of congressional Republicans "wouldn't do that" is somewhere between delusional and willfully obtuse. The people in charge of the GOP on the Hill right now are the son the rest of the family knows will unplug Mom's respirator when the time comes. As for the political fallout of a Republican president and unified Congress taking away health insurance from tens of millions of people, after what we have seen in 2016 I'm sure they will construct and successfully sell some narrative explaining how it is all somehow the fault of Democrats. The art and science of creating one's own reality is advanced enough to pull it off.

2. I know many people in the situation mentioned throughout the piece – working poor who pay a lot for very bad insurance because they are Not Poor Enough. Medicaid is better and cheaper than the bottom end of the private market. It's not even a close call. Rather than jumping on the resentment bandwagon and finding a way to take Medicaid away from people in poverty, we could, you know, find a way to improve what is available for people just over the poverty cutoff. The nihilism of "If I don't have anything nice, nobody else can either" is a race to a bottom that we are getting dangerously close to reaching.

BEYOND THE PALE

Posted in Quick Hits on December 8th, 2016 by Ed

So this is a weird post. Maybe you're familiar with all of these things already. But here are a few suggestions from one white liberal to another on how to dilute the painful whiteness of most of our internet reading experiences. I mean, I'm not going to say that opinions you enjoy reading are not valid if they come from someone who is the same as you in terms of demographics, but over the last few years I've made an effort (and due to the dominance of White Dudeness and White Feminism in the blogosphere, "effort" is an appropriate term) to make the perspectives I expose myself to a little less homogeneous. I am a white dude, I am more likely to Get other white dude humor, writing style, and perspective, and they are more likely to get mine. I don't think any of us need to apologize for that, but it's worth recognizing that we're looking into the mirror a lot when it comes to the perspectives we see online. Yeah, everyone gets their dose of Ta-Neshi Coates. Here's some other good stuff I've found that fits the product category, "Things a Gin and Tacos reader will probably like."

Yesterday I linked some Damon Young. You should read basically everything he says, including but not limited to VSB (Very Smart Brothas). I first became aware of this thanks to….

Samantha Irby, who does Bitches Gotta Eat, a great Facebook page of the same name, a best-selling book and soon a TV series on FX based on said book.

Luvvie Ajayi similarly has a best-selling book, an active FB community, and a website updated regularly with long-form stuff. The sense of humor is a little less twisted and more Normal Person compared to mine or the above Irby material, but I think it's still funny without being cornball or wandering into Wayne Brady / Dave Coulier territory.

Wain Bennett's Field Negro has one of my favorite comment sections on the internet. I've had people compare me to him in terms of willingness to go full R-rated in his writing. The assumption, though, is that if you're in for Gin and Tacos nothing over there will shock you much. People are very candid on that site.

Anyway, that's just a sample. The internet is cruel in a sense, there is always more good stuff than any one person can reasonably consume. But if you're looking to freshen up a stale set of daily reads, you could do worse than sampling a few of these.

YOU WERE HERE FIRST

Posted in Quick Hits on December 4th, 2016 by Ed

It's kind of ridiculous how many of the Everything is Terrible All the Time shirts you guys have ordered, but if you really want that "In on the ground floor" credibility when visiting your respective clurbs there are still a handful of the original Follow Me to the Clurb shirts and bumper stickers waiting for loving homes. Christmas is just around the corner.

WATCH AND LEARN THE ART OF THE DEAL, LIB-CUCKS!

Posted in Quick Hits on November 29th, 2016 by Ed

And so the Master Negotiator, the man so skilled at making deals that his name is practically synonymous with wheeling and dealing, has struck again. He's not even in the White House yet and already he managed to convince Carrier to keep a medium-sized factory in Indianapolis open. Does this guy know how to talk people into doing what he wants or what??

Wait.

"Incentives." The deal involves "incentives." So like, he walked into a meeting with their people and said, "If you stay I will give you this bag of money. The money is not mine, but I have the power to give it to you. Giving it to you costs me literally nothing." Then they said "OK, we will let you give us this big bag of free money"?

Those fabled Trump negotiating skills really are a thing to behold. I don't think there's anyone else alive who could have made this deal, taking a big bag of free tax money and handing it to a major defense contractor in exchange for a lukewarm promise to keep 700 Indiana factory workers employed for a little while longer. This is more incredible than when the Dutch swindled the Indians out of Manhattan.

What. A. Deal.

THE ZEITGEIST, IN SHIRT FORM

Posted in Quick Hits on November 15th, 2016 by Ed

Yeah, in light of last week I think it's appropriate to turn this into a t-shirt. Same drill as The Clurb t-shirts (which necessitated a second print run, and are available again in all sizes). Canvas brand, screenprinted (no print on demand BS), no text on the reverse side this time, women's v-neck and men's/unisex crew neck available. Simple. Black. Bleak. Let everyone know how you feel. Let everyone know your favorite blog. Because that's an important thing to let people know, obviously. Canvas sizing guides for unisex and women's v-neck shirts. The quality on the Clurb shirts and the screenprinting were both great, so these won't fall apart or fade after one wash. Black hides tears, too.

Once again this is a PRE-ORDER and it will probably take two-three weeks to get them in my hands once I order them. Since I'm not a big box store, I have to do the pre-order thing to get a rough idea of how many you guys actually want. Otherwise I would be guessing and end up with way too many or not enough. The good thing is that once they're in my hands they'll be in yours in two or three days. I appreciate your understanding and patience.

eitatt


Choose size and style




RETURN OF THE MACK

Posted in Quick Hits on November 12th, 2016 by Ed

The classic 3×5 stickers, which sold out a few months ago, are back in stock if you feel like you can part with $3.50. Clurb t-shirts are also being replenished – honestly I had no idea that more than about five people would want one – and will ship as soon as I receive the new order shortly.

ginandtacosv3