Always planning my narrow escape

Always planning my narrow escape September 11, 2015

Mike Huckabee’s understanding of history, the Constitution, and basic civics isn’t even three-fifths correct. Huckabee’s culture-warrior shtick requires him to defend the indefensible, so it’s not surprising he winds up tying himself up in knots trying to make sense of his own rhetorical nonsense, but it’s fascinating sometimes to watch his weird ideology unspool and unravel as he tries to chase the implications of his own assertions to their increasingly strange conclusions. As Libby Anne puts it, “Mike Huckabee (Apparently) Thinks the 14th Amendment Applies to Fetuses But Not to Black People.

Huckabee is on firmer ground when he just sticks to making up complete lies about Abraham Lincoln.

• Lorrie Moore offers a postmortem on the disappointing second season of True Detective. Let me just repeat what I said about this season of the show after the first two episodes: Watch Terriers instead. It has a very similar setting and plot, but it succeeds in every way that True Detective’s Southern California incarnation fails. Plus: Donal Logue.

The single glorious season of Terriers is still streaming on Netflix. As the lowest-rated original program in the history of the FX Network, it didn’t earn a second season, but it still wants and deserves one. Here’s hoping that Netflix or Amazon or one of the other new non-network production companies will realize that soon and we’ll get to find out what happens after Britt gets out of prison.

• Taking another swing here: “This mountain is sacred to our people,” the elder says. Do you take this to mean the mountain is: A) Not to be questioned? or B) Not for sale or rent at any price? I’m inclined to go with “B.” And I’m inclined to think that “A” is just … odd.

Phil Plait shares the latest Dawn mission photos of the strange white spots on the asteroid/protoplanet Ceres:



NASA is expecting closer, clearer photos to come, but it doesn’t seem like these will confirm my theory/preference that these white spots were sunlight reflected from the wreckage of a crashed alien spacecraft. Still — we now do have conclusive evidence of one spacecraft in the vicinity of Ceres, and it’s one of ours. That’s not first contact, but it’s still pretty cool.

• For the record, the “Pennsylvania ‘Gentleman’s’ Barber Shop Fined for Refusing to Cut Woman’s Hair” is way out west and nowhere near the men’s salon where the Slacktivixen plies her craft. Her place caters mainly to men, but women are welcome there too — not just because that’s the law, but because while their business model involves a specialty niche, it doesn’t call for them to be inhospitable jerks to half the population.

• “It’s not the first ancient virus that scientists have found frozen — it’s the fourth found since 2003. And you can be sure it won’t be the last. And with climate change causing massive melts, it’s not totally alarmist to suggest that something deadly might one day emerge from a long, icy sleep.”

• Fun, fascinating Pacific Standard piece by Jerrod Rosenbaum — “Was John Robins the Reincarnation of Adam?” — looks at 17th century British cults as a window into the odd phenomenon of “biblical literalism,” the practice of pretending one can read the Bible (or anything else) without having to interpret what it means. Bonus points for a shout-out to my favorite obscure British sect, the Muggletonians.

This so-called “literalism” wasn’t really an option before the 17th century or so — it had to wait until after the printing press was invented and the Bible started getting translated into languages people could read. Rosenbaum has some interesting, sensible thoughts on how social and economic change spurred the rise of literalism. That could well be part of it, but I’ll again note that the rise of “literalism” in the 1600s occurred alongside — and, I believe, because of — the rise of European colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade.

Erik Loomis has some strong opinions about the funny pages.

When the newspaper biz began losing revenue due to the Internet — first due to the loss of classified ads, then to the loss of subscribers — the comic section was one of the first places they started cutting to save money. That seemed short-sighted to me, since the comics were one of the few things that newspapers offered that you couldn’t get elsewhere. But on the other hand, Loomis has a point — the funny pages don’t give you a competitive edge if all you’ve got in them is half-hearted dreck.

Browse Our Archives