Duuuuuudes. Welcome to another edition of Derp Roundup, the (*koff!*) weekly feature where we roll up whatever seeds and stems are left from stories that weren't quite compelling enough to make a full post, but too stoopid to ignore altogether, and then we, uhhhh... hahahahahaha Yeah, we totally do, man.


  • Our first story probably could have stood on its own, but we were busy with a new year and an anniversary this week, so whatevs, here it is: David Brooks wrote a thing about weed. And he worried a bit about the newly enacted legalization of the gentle herb in Washington and Colorado, not in full-on apocalyptic moral-panic mode, but in that chiding David-Brooksian way that kind of makes you wish you had some means of briefly escaping the finger-wagging and turning it into an easily-ignored background buzz. Ha, buzz. Brooks worries that the new laws will encourage laxity and unseriousness:

    Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

    Strangely enough, this follows his account of how he and his pals smoked pot in high school and pretty much grew out of it and got serious all on their ownselves, avoiding the example of their one pal who "became a full-on stoner." Somehow, he seems to think that ending a largely ineffective legal prohibition -- which did nothing to prevent him and his friends from toking up -- will somehow prevent such maturation from being the norm anymore. Of the many reasons Brooks gives for why he grew out of pot use, "the threat of jail" wasn't one of them. Still, as a "moderate Republican," legalization is simply not a concept that Brooks can comfortably pass to the Left.

    Among the many fine reactions to the column, let's highlight (ha! "high") a couple: A Connecticut psychotherapist named Gary Greenberg published a fine interwebz hoax -- confirmed fake -- claiming that he was one of Brooks' stoner friends. It was, of course, debunked within hours, but it was fun, for a few hours, to think that we'd heard from Brooks' "full-on stoner" pal. The giveaway for us, at least, was Greenberg's description of the night they were pulled over by cops "in senior year right after we’d clambaked his Mom’s Vista Cruiser," and young Dave

    didn’t beg for mercy or fight with the cop. Somehow he knew exactly how to go all bar mitzvah boy, how to talk to authority, how to flatter and impress and toady, even stoned to the gills, like his inner Eddie Haskell was deeper down than the pot could get. And it worked.

    Mostly because "Vista Cruiser" is just far too perfect. The rest, we'd totally believe.

    The other riff on a theme by Brooks is Wonket Alum Juli Weiner's story in Vanity Fair, explaining how when she was younger, she and her friends experimented with reading David Brooks but eventually grew out of it:

    We didn’t give it up for the obvious reasons: that his ideas were repetitive and self-evident; that citing a Brooks column at a dinner party is a good way to get yourself mocked; that young people who read Brooks go on to join the College Republicans and perform patronizing monologues about “elitism” that are themselves elitist.

    I think we gave it up, first, because we each had had a few embarrassing incidents. People who read Brooks do stupid things (that’s basically the point). I read his column one day during lunch and then had to give a presentation in Economics class. I stumbled through it, incapable of putting together simple ideas, feeling like a total loser. It is still one of those embarrassing memories that pop up unbidden at 4 in the morning.

    And then there was the friend who became a "full-on 'moderate Brooks-style Republican.'” That could not have been a pleasant thing to behold, and we're glad to know that Juli straightened up.

  • In other Social Media Shitfits, there was a bit of a New Year's Eve grump over a terribawful America-killing joke made by comedian Natasha Leggero during NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly. What happened was that the panel of comedians were talking about this fairly inept bit of corporate flag-waving back on Pearl Harbor Day (yep, this one's real):

    Oh, wait, not "inept," INSENSITIVE, because somehow WWII vets have turned into precious flowers who must be protected at all costs from dumb ads. Anyway, the comedy people made matters even worse by viciously attacking and slurring America's Brave Heroes:

    JANE LYNCH: I'm offended because they were referring to SpaghettiOs as pasta.

    NATASHA LEGGERO: I mean, it sucks that the only survivors of Pearl Harbor are being mocked by the only food they can still chew. It's just sad.

    Newsbusters' professional poutrage expert Noel Sheppard sniffed, "Yeah, mocking the only survivors of one of the worst attacks on America in its history is hilarious."

    And yet, as of press time, no Pearl Harbor vets are reported to have succumbed to apoplexy. Even so, the Internet let Leggero know just how displeased it was, as patriots repeatedly informed her that she was a cunt who doesn't deserve to call herself an American.

    We were rather pleased, however, with Leggero's refusal to apologize, since it acknowledges that WWII vets -- even though they're old! -- are probably made of tougher stuff than defenders like Noel Sheppard. For one thing, they survived Pearl Harbor. In any case, it's a model of how to say take your crappy fake outrage and stuff it (into some bland, watery tomato sauce):

    I’m not sorry. I don’t think the amazing courage of American veterans and specifically those who survived Pearl Harbor is in any way diminished by a comedian making a joke about dentures on television. Do we really believe that the people who fought and defended our freedom against Nazis and the Axis powers will find a joke about Spaghetti O’s too much to bear? Sorry, I have more respect for Veterans than to think their honor can be impugned by a glamorous, charming comedian in a fur hat.

    And then she noted that veterans (really, it is still legal -- for now! -- not to capitalize it!) have a lot of real problems in the real world that might be addressed in more effective ways than calling a joke-teller a 'orrible cunt. Good on this Natasha Leggero person.

  • And then there was the rightwing Facespace "group" America the next Generation, which posted a funny, harmless joke that, unlike that completely outrageous and offensive joke about dentures, really was just a harmless amusement:

    We will go out on a limb and confess that, all things being equal, no actual harm is done to the Preznit by a funny joke about lynching him. But maybe, just maybe, it is also more tasteless than pointing out that old folks may have problems chewing? This is largely a judgment call, we know. But anyway, no harm no foul, since the admins of the facespace page issued a very sincere notpology:

    OK by are own choice out of respect of our regular followers that requested us to remove the post with the noose around Obamas head. we did so out of Respect to them and we will take the high road! Now for all the trolls you are welcome to stay only if you can debate clean and prove your points otherwise leave now!

    Patriot

    Now, where is the apology to the English language, huh? Also, the Internet being what it is, the group's main page was promptly hacked:

    And now it's just goats and goats and goats. Thanks, Anonymous!

  • In more short-form Derp, we learned this week that some genius has launched a Bitcoin alternative called RonPaulCoin. Sounds profit-y! We are a bit more likely to get behind Dogecoin, which lets "cryptocurrency" fans put their money where their memes are. Except it got hacked. Wow so crypto such irony.
  • [NYT / Gary Greenberg / ThinkProgress / VanityFair / Daily Mail / Newsbusters / Natasha Leggero / RawStory / Washington Examiner / Vice]

    Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. Paul Krugman is off today.

    Doktor Zoom

    Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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