Posted in Quick Hits on September 18th, 2017 by Ed

In 2008 the Oliver Stone-directed W was released starring Josh Brolin as the (at that moment still incumbent) ex-president. It pulled in a weak $29 million at the box office on a budget of $25 million, meaning that when other costs like marketing are factored in the movie likely lost money or broke just even with DVD and pay per view sales.

The movie was cast well (Brolin, Ellen Burstyn, Jeffery Wright, James Cromwell) and avoided the paranoiac plotlines that characterized early Oliver Stone. It isn't, I suppose, a bad film. But as I wrote at the time, it simply was too soon to release a movie about the GW Bush years. It was still ongoing when the film opened and the truly worst parts of it – the Iraq War, Katrina, etc – were recent enough memories that the movie was assured of alienating any potential audience. Bush fans would assume the movie was just going to mock him, and people who didn't like Bush were nowhere near ready to laugh about what at the time seemed like the American presidency at its rock bottom worst.

The W film has been almost completely forgotten, but it came back to me in a flash when I received the first of a thousand "Sean Spicer was just on the Emmys trying to make jokes" messages Sunday evening into Monday.

To say that it is "too soon" to laugh about any aspect of the Trump presidency is a wild understatement, and for the individuals involved there may never be a time where they can be viewed sympathetically. Every time I have felt the urge to feel slightly bad for the White House staff under this administration I have found it useful to remind myself that they are doing this of their own will. They are not career civil servants duty-bound to serve whoever happens to have power. These are opportunists, losers who no half-respectable campaign would hire and who latched onto Trump like barnacles because nobody else would elevate such total losers to such highly visible positions.

Sean Spicer could have walked away at any moment; in fact he could have avoided the situation altogether quite easily. But he didn't. He wanted the money, he wanted the attention, and he wanted a chance to leap from Single-A (where he belongs, doing PR for some tenth-rate 501c in northern Virginia) to the Major Leagues despite being devoid of any skills except for dog-like loyalty to a very bad person.

Americans have a great capacity for people with bad jobs, because most of us feel like we understand what it is like to show up every day to work for a bad boss and/or at a bad job. But Sean Spicer was not living in a cardboard box until Trump came along. He took a job in the White House in order to be a big shot and to get paid. Fine. That's the choice he made. Now live with it. If ever there is going to be a time at which seeing these Trump hangers-on do image rehabilitation, it certainly isn't now. It will be a very long time from now, and quite possibly never.


Posted in Quick Hits on September 12th, 2017 by Ed

Today I got something published in which I call Steve Bannon a trash bag full of old taco meat right before I describe Alex Jones as an anthropomorphic sweat gland.

Boy I had fun writing this. I like it when it's fun. And the end result is probably better for it.


Posted in Quick Hits on September 6th, 2017 by Ed

I'm late to the party on this 2016 best seller, but Tim Marshall's Prisoners of Geography needs to go on your reading list immediately. The Aughts fad for treating Non-State Actors as the Next Big Thing caused a lot of people to forget that geopolitics is still a thing. Subject matter experts will find some of these takes a bit thin (it's pretty hard to do India-Pakistan justice in 50 pages) but nearly everyone short of expertise on a given region will learn a lot here. And the best part is that even if you fancy yourself an expert on one country or region, there are nine other chapters to tell you things you probably do not already know. 100/100 read immediately.


Posted in Quick Hits on August 29th, 2017 by Ed

I have a new thing up at Rolling Stone; the editor is getting more comfortable with me and is beginning to encourage me to be more of an asshole. I think the final product is better that way.


Posted in Quick Hits on August 23rd, 2017 by Ed

The commenters on Facebook have spoken. I was on the fence about this one, but recent events suggest that it needs to happen. Here they are in the popular "big words on a shirt" format: the Gin and Tacos Get Mad Punch Nazis Be Free shirt.

As with previous shirt sales, this is a pre-order and you will receive your shirt in about four weeks. Please digest those words. Final design may vary slightly, as the graphic designer is still fiddling with it. Text and colors will not be changed. I am not an Amazon warehouse, but I do try my absolute best to get these out of the shipping box and into the mail for you as quickly as humanly possible.

For every shirt sold, I will donate $1 to the Southern Poverty Law Center. I'll post proof here and on Facebook once the print run is set, in case you're the skeptical type.

Canvas brand, screenprinted (no print on demand crap), no text on the reverse side, 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. Canvas sizing guides for unisex and women's v-neck shirts are here. The quality on these shirts has been great – they don't fall apart or fade after one wash.

Select Size

Please note that all international orders, even in Friendly Canada, must choose the more expensive International Shipping option. Those rates have gotten pricey recently, and I apologize for that. But as much as I'd like to lose $15 on every one of these sold to a non-US customer, I can't.

Order soon, as once the pre-order period is over (end of this week, likely) the print run will be set and there won't be a shirt on the way for you! I order a few extra, but not many because I can't warehouse a bunch of unbought shirts. Thanks for understanding the limitations of this "operation."


Posted in Quick Hits on August 22nd, 2017 by Ed

I have a new thing up at The Week about Charlottesville and the myth of America "fixing" racism in the 1960s. This is not simply a theoretical exercise, because the belief that racism is pretty much a thing of the past (or "not what it used to be") was used by the Supreme Court in 2013 to cripple the Voting Rights Act. The quotes from the Chief Justice about how much things have changed have not aged well.


Posted in Quick Hits on August 19th, 2017 by Ed

All the Clurb shirts are gone! Same deal now with the remaining Everything is Terrible All the Time shirts and None of This is OK shirts. I have a handful of Men's Small in each. That is the only available size. $10 until they're gone!



Posted in Quick Hits on August 18th, 2017 by Ed

Having the odds and ends of the Clurb Shirt second print run sitting around my room for most of the year, I've decided to do a super blowout $10 offer until the remaining shirts (about 15 total) are gone. Now's a great chance to grab one of these Hot Stunts for next to nothing!

Only some sizes are available. Women's sizes smaller than XL are sold out, and the popular Men's XL size is also gone. Everything else has at least one shirt available.




Posted in Quick Hits on August 15th, 2017 by Ed

Do you want to lose 10 pounds in five days? Ask me how! No special diet or exercises! Requires 1 drop of Ecuadorian tap water. Not approved by FDA.

I have lots to say about today's trainwreck but zero energy with which to say it. But I'm back in my native land and will resume the normal schedule shortly and oh my god how is it even possible that every day of this shitshow is worse than the one prior.


Posted in Quick Hits on July 31st, 2017 by Ed

I will be on vacation for two weeks, and I intend to continue updating during that time. It will be more sporadic than usual though. If you need quick and insubstantial fixes, you can of course follow me on – I hate myself for becoming the guy with every social media account – Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. I won't tell you where I'm going but there ARE giant tortoises involved.

Following politics day in and day out for the last 18 months has been exhausting and if at all possible I'm going to try to pretend the news doesn't exist during this trip. But I think we both know I can't stay away. In the meantime, post your best guess on which person who currently works at the pleasure of the President will be fired or "resign" by the time I return.

Oh, and if you're waiting on a t-shirt I apologize but you won't get it until I return. If that's a problem, go ahead and request a refund of your payment via PayPal.