Witty Comebacks

No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.

That’s true, Mittens, but how about showing us your underwear?

Mormon temple garment, circa 1879, via Wikipedia.

This joke brought to you by the Woman Formerly Known as Goose, who objects strenuously to the lowering of political discourse in these United States but nonetheless can’t stop thinking about Mitt Romney’s underwear. I know that sounds strange and superficial, but WFKG’s curiosity goes to the deeper question of whether Americans are really ready to move a Mormon into the White House, despite a recent Gallup poll showing that 80% of voters would be “willing to vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate who happens to be Mormon.” I think that number is high, because I think that’s one of those poll questions likely to elicit horse $hit a polite-sounding answer rather than an honest one. (Interestingly, respondents are less polite when it comes to atheists and Muslims than when it comes to Mormons. Only 54% said they would be willing to vote for a candidate who identifies as atheist; 58% said they would be willing to vote for a Muslim. So much for pluralism, eh?)

The Romney campaign must harbor similar suspicions about the accuracy of the sure-I’d-vote-for-a-Mormon number. The Republican nominee for president has avoided the subject of his religion almost as assiduously as he has avoided disclosing his tax returns, though many observers of the campaign think that focusing more attention on his relationship to his church would be an effective way for Romney to humanize himself and “make[] the case for his worldview.” Perhaps, but it might also remind all those cranky evangelical voters Romney is so desperate to appease that their ministers — and Rick Santorum — used to tell them Mormonism was a cult. That same poll showed that four in ten respondents didn’t know that Romney is Mormon, and I have a hunch the Republican party is hoping to keep it that way. Which is why, when the pageantry and storytelling get underway in Tampa next week, my guess is you won’t be hearing the M-word. Or, you know, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

So, if it’s cool for Romney to make birther jokes, I say it’s cool for Obama to pop the underwear question. I mean, shucks, kids. Bill Clinton had to answer it. What do you think, Madpeople at your Laptops: Should Romney say more about his faith or continue to avoid the subject? How is this issue playing out in your neck of the political woods? Are we all Mormons or Mormon lovers now, or is there still resistance to the notion of a Mormon president? (We don’t endorse such resistance, of course, being as tolerant of Mormonism as we are of any cult religion. We’re just trying to get a bead on the culture.)

And if you’re scratching your head thinking, “Wow, you know, I actually don’t think it’s cool for Romney to make birther jokes,” go read this. It will help to explain that queasy feeling you’ve got. And if you’ve got a little time and want more context, go read this (Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Fear of a Black President” from The Atlantic). We live in interesting sick times, darlings. Some days, it’s hard to keep up with the Madness, but stick with us. We’ll muddle through it together, somehow. Peace out.


(Photo of Indian River Bridge by Jason Rudy. Photoshopping of Ruby on bridge by the Madwoman, with an able assist by Kiwiboy, Photoshop tutor extraordinaire, 8/19/12.)

Classes start next week at QTU, so we’re getting in some last-minute fun, sun, ice cream, and Photoshop lessons at a quiet town on the Delaware shore. We’ve kept half an ear tuned into what’s happening back in the real (and stunningly dysfunctional) world, which is why we can tell you that you really ought to go watch this Onion video on Tampa’s gay prostitutes gearing up for an onslaught of closeted gay Republicans coming to town for next week’s Akin-free convention. Srsly. Go watch it. It had four PhDs and a 12-year-old boy laughing so hard they nearly forgot for a moment that the party of homophobes, misogynists, and starve-the-beasters might actually run the country come November. Was I just musing here the other day about whether our political discourse could sink any lower? Why, yes, I believe I was.

Dear Universe: That was a rhetorical question. There was no need to supply dramatic evidence that the party of Lincoln had gone so completely off its rocker that it would bring the term “legitimate rape” into the political lexicon. Please stop — or I’ll have to run over to the old blog and pick up my laser-shooting vajayjay just to keep from going truly insane. Yours sincerely, The Madwoman.

Oh, and in case you need some guidance on how to tell whether your rape was legitimate or illegitimate — and, really, who doesn’t? — here is an informative and catchy tune to help you out. Click. Sing. You’ll feel better.

The Akins debacle has inspired Kate Harding to realize not only that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances but that American women should each have at least ten children to ensure that we are not depriving the country of the best and brightest. “Martin Luther King, Jr., was the second of three children,” Harding points out. “If his parents had stopped at one, who would have led the civil rights movement? International superstar Madonna is the third of six children. Had her parents decided to quit after two, we would live in a world without ‘Like a Virgin.’ Can you even imagine?”

Indeed, as the third of four children and a survivor of the disco years, I cannot! Wimmin, if your lady parts are still functioning, hop to! America cannot afford for you not to have as many children as you are physically capable of producing! You might have within you the seeds of the next Marie Curie! Or Kim Kardashian! Or Todd Akin! Get those buns in the oven before it’s too late!

If, on the other hand, you are not planning to fulfill your biological duty to the nation and plan to waste your time and love on really bad dogs, here’s a funny Tumblr devoted to Dogshaming. It’s pictures of dogs next to signs identifying their bad actions. For example: “I pooped by the elliptical machine.” “I ate a Herman Melville novel.”  If we were to submit one for Ms. Ruby this week, instead of “I went flying over the Indian River Bridge in my human’s blue goggles,” it would most likely say, “I went on vacation and forgot that tinkling is an outdoor activity.” Alas.

And if, on the other other hand, an orgy of syllabus-writing and other forms of back-to-school craziness have you rethinking your career plans, by all means go read this piece on leaving academe by Terran Lane. It clearly and succinctly maps out how changes on campus — e.g., centralization of authority and decrease of autonomy, budgetary contraints and pressure to raise money, poor incentives to do exploratory research outside one’s own speciality — have made higher education a far less appealing place to work in recent years. Reading it, I thought if I were a software engineer instead of an English prof who needed help from a 12-year-old to create an image of my dog flying over a bridge in a pair of swim goggles I might head for the exits, too. Hey, Google, got any jobs for a 50-something feminazi with limited no tech skill and a library full of queer theory? No? Well, thanks for your consideration.

Sigh. Looks like I’ll have to finish that syllabus after all. Later, darlings. Today, I’ve got a wave to catch. Peace out.

Sheroes and Fools

I sincerely hope this is the most disgusting thing you read all day ever in your life if you live to be ten thousand years old. It’s a report in the print edition of this morning’s Washington Post by Ed O’Keefe:

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — No matter what her opponent might think, Tammy Duckworth insists she doesn’t talk much about Iraq anymore.

Duckworth, the Democrat challenging Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), lost her legs in a 2004 helicopter accident during the Iraq war. She uses both a wheelchair and prosthetic limbs when speaking with voters.

“Most people are familiar” with her injuries, she said in a recent interview. “I don’t talk about what happened in Iraq much, unless people ask.”

Her opponent, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), said last month that “all she talks about” are her war injuries.

“Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about,” Walsh said.

The comments quickly drew national attention and swift condemnation from veterans groups. Duckworth reaped the political rewards.

“We saw a tenfold increase in Web traffic and volunteers and $50 donations from the whole country, because it really went viral,” Duckworth said. Most of the donations came from fellow veterans.

Duckworth said that if Iraq comes up with voters, it’s because “they ask the ‘Why are you doing this?’ questions.”

“That’s when I tell the story about Iraq and that’s when I say, ‘Look, I should be dead and I’m not,’ ” she said. “And I have that to live up to. I’m not a parent, I’ve not been blessed with kids, so I can’t say I’m doing this for my kids’ futures. I’m doing this because a bunch of heroes saved my life one day and I owe them. It’s hard to explain that to folks who don’t understand the military and the bond you have with your buddies, but I have to do more with my life and live up to that.”

Please, lord, make it stop. Please tell us we’ve finally hit the bottom of what passes for political discourse in this country when a non-veteran has the indecency to comment on the nature of heroism or question the right of a veteran to speak of her experience and her grievous wounds. We can’t sink any lower than this, can we? Oh, wait. Of course we can. Pardon your Madwoman while she bangs her head against the retina display screen of her shiny new Laptop.

I’m doing this because a bunch of heroes saved my life one day and I owe them.

Tammy Duckworth, you are a hero, and we hope you send Joe Walsh and his foul mouth packing come November. He is a disgrace to the office he holds.

Meantime, Mad People with your Laptops, click here to help Tammy win. Congress needs Dems and sheroes, and with Duckworth you get both.

Here’s a linkable piece by Ed O’Keefe on the Walsh/Duckworth race. (Dear WaPo: Please explain the logic of your paywall. I want to bring eyeballs to your dying enterprise, but you make it really hard and utterly baffling. Yours sincerely, The Last WaPo Reader on Earth.)

Also, Dana Milbank points out that this campaign only feels nastier than others because this time around Dems, from the president on down, “are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success. They have ceased their traditional response of assuming the fetal position when attacked, and Obama’s campaign is giving as good as it gets — and then some.”

He’s right, but I think I’ll spend the rest of the political season paddling quietly away in a Swift Boat to some peaceful land without newspapers, Interwebz, or large-screen teevees.

Yeah, right. Well, I am going to the beach for a week. Catch up with you soon, kids. Keep the faith, and may you too have a chance to step away from the Laptop for a spell and enjoy the last fleeting moments of this scorching summer. Peace out.

M. Wuerker, Politico

Bustin’ a Move with the SOS

Your Madwoman has a new Laptop, a sweet, snazzy little number with display so pretty it makes her eyes smile. How happy does this back-to-school gift from the taxpayers of Turtle Country make me? Why, very nearly as happy as global goddess Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have been last night in Pretoria, South Africa. Watch this video. It’ll put a grin on your face for the evening, even if you don’t have retina display on your laptop and even if you’re planning to hunker down and face those syllabi tonight instead of zoning out to another four hours of #NBCFail. You go, Hillz. If ever a girl deserved to cut loose and get down, it’s you. Peace out.

%d bloggers like this: