CSotD: Popular Delusions and the Madness of Clods

Clay Bennett (CTFP) starts off today’s tour of bathos and foolishness with this commentary on the news that Trump’s accounting firm announced they don’t intend to defend his financial statements because they don’t trust the information he gave them.

It’s a large “Uh-Oh” indeed and, while his co-conspirators and rightwing defenders will continue to attack NY AG Tish James and other authorities probing into his empire, at some point somebody is going to have to stand up in a courtroom and do a lot of ‘splaining.

The news made me laugh because, as a biz reporter, I dealt with a lot of real estate developers and many were honest but a whole lot of others were egomaniacal blowhards. I’ve long thought that, when Trump came into office, the media should have swapped out their White House reporters for business journalists who were used to sorting through a steady stream of hot air and bullshit.

(BTW, word is that Trevor Noah will be the speaker at the White House Concubines Association dinner, a disgrace to the trade that I hoped had died a quiet death in the pandemic.)


I got a very closely related laugh out of today’s Fastrack (KFS), because, back in my freelance days, I got a gig with a start-up that planned to deliver videotapes like pizzas, this being when home VCRs were just becoming a thing.

My job was to write movie reviews for their catalog, and, while they couldn’t pay me in cash, they promised I’d be paid in stock, which is not unlike Ms. Trellis’s plan to start paying her employees in cryptocurrency.

It was also not unlike betting on a three-legged horse, but the gig included a VCR and all the free rentals I wanted, so wotthehell.

And when they quickly went out of business, I got to keep the machine, which was worth more than I’d have gotten if they’d been paying me.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Clay Bennett – CTFP)


(Matt Wuerker – Politico)


(Christian Adams)

Bennett gets another satisfying hit with a recognition that maybe sanctions aren’t just empty bluster after all, though it’s still too early to be tossing tickertape out the windows in Kyiv.

Wuerker doesn’t offer as much of a metaphor, but he’s explicit in crediting other nations, which matters a great deal, since the bear spray wouldn’t have reached so far if Biden had been acting alone.

Still, as Adams suggests, those phone calls were not a wasted effort nor, in all likelihood, nearly as cheerful and friendly as they might have been, and I like the way he swapped Mankoff’s classic cartoon around so that we see the receiving end of that cold dismissal.

As said, it’s still early and we should all be cool little Fonzies until this thing plays out a bit more, but I’m old enough to remember when Khruschev blinked.

In those days, BTW, we didn’t have a bunch of cartoonists and commentators here rooting for the Cuban missiles.


Juxtaposition of the Day (Landing the Quad)

(Tom Stiglich – Creators)


(Chip Bok – Creators)


(Dirk Van Stralen)


(Bruce MacKinnon)

Speaking of people cheering for the bad guys, rightwing Yanks may need to visit a chiropractor after the twist they’ve had, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis being the poster boy: He passed a law making it legal for drivers to run over protestors who blocked highways there, then took a double-torque to praise and support truckers blocking roads in Canada.

And an outraged commentator on Fox News opined that, if we’d invoked similar laws during the Civil Rights era, Martin Luther King Jr. might have gotten arrested.

You know, the guy who wrote “Letter from a Birmingham Holiday Inn.”

As Canadians repeatedly pointed out, 90% of commercial truckers got the vaccine without whining, and Van Stralen may not be upholding that “politeness” stereotype, but his panel pretty well sums up everything I’ve heard coming southbound, while MacKinnon expresses the sense that, not only was Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act not “tyranny” or a suppression of freedom, but it was well overdue.

Moreover, just as we can find parallels between the Ukraine and Cuban crises, Canadians can look back to 1970, when a far more draconian version of the Emergencies Act was invoked by a different Prime Minister Trudeau to quell domestic terror in Quebec.

And, while it won’t matter to those who don’t know Justin Trudeau from Pierre Trudeau from Margaret Trudeau from the Rolling Stones, those who are curious about what’s going on up there can get a very quick, concise explanation of the Act from David Frum, an American conservative who was not only born in Canada but born as the son of one of the country’s most respected journalists.

Meanwhile, Ann Telnaes sums up the saga of Sarah Palin’s apparently futile attempt to sue the New York Times for libel, and I say “apparently” because — despite the jury agreeing with the judge — she may still run the thing up the ladder to see if the McConnell Court will overturn a well-established ruling about the free press and prominent personalities.

Despite jokes about how hard it would be to harm her reputation, Palin did uncover some ugly facts about how the sausage is made, which mostly surprised me because I assumed such half-assed foolishness was a failing of small papers, not major metros.

Anyway, as with Putin’s apparent withdrawal and Glenn Close’s apparent drowning in that bathtub, we should probably wait before assuming we’ve seen the end of this.


As a reader, I had a love/hate relationship with PJ O’Rourke, who died yesterday. In our early days — he was only two years older — I laughed, then his conservatism and the snotty/preppy humor of National Lampoon built to the point where I stopped laughing, and then he mellowed out and became funny again.

Jonathan V. Last has an appreciation at the Bulwark called “Why Writers Loved PJ O’Rourke” that sums things up well, and I’d also suggest you listen to Charlie Sykes’ entertaining 2020 podcast with him.


Finally, in today’s cavalcade of folly

Randy Bish posted a Facebook screed calling out the trolls who pester him, and then, like burning down the barn to kill rats, punished us all with this:

5 thoughts on “CSotD: Popular Delusions and the Madness of Clods

  1. And perhaps O’Rouke became funnier again you’ve also mellowed at bit, too? It’s a fate we all face as we gain in years and experience and realize that buffoons come in all shapes, sizes and political stripes.

  2. I felt both ways about O’Rourke, but The National Lampoon High School Yearbook Parody was his and Kenney’s, and it’s my favorite thing they ever did. I finally got tired of reading him because he would stop in the middle of something and just start going off on how ugly Jimmy Carter is. I think I’ll always cherish the first couple of books he collected from his Rolling Stone pieces (and others), and I still admire that he wrote this closer to his “Euro-weenies” epic. The rest of this is his quote.


    Eventually he got, as the Europeans always do, to the part about “your country’s never been invaded.” (This fellow had been two during the Blitz, you see.) “You don’t know the horror, the suffering. You think war is…”

    I snapped.

    “A John Wayne movie,” I said. That’s what you were going to say, wasn’t it? We think war is a John Wayne movie. We think life is a John Wayne movie—with good guys and bad guys, as simple as that. Well, you know something, Mister Limey Poofter? You’re right. And let me tell you who those bad guys are. They’re us. WE BE BAD.

    “We’re the baddest-ass sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We’re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother’s side. You take your Germany, France and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn’t give us room to park our cars. We’re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap D’Antibes. And we’ve got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go.

    “You say our country’s never been invaded? You’re right, little buddy. Because I’d like to see the needle-dicked foreigners who’d have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying ‘Cheerio.’ Hell can’t hold our sock-hops. We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, fuck longer and buy more things than you know the names of. I’d rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than king, queen, and jack of all you Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.”

    Of course, the guy should have punched me. But this was Europe. He just smiled his shabby, superior European smile.

    — P.J. O’Rourke – “Holidays In Hell”

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