Pathetic in Seattle

And the prize in the “Infantile Whiny Loser of the Month” competition goes to a customer in Seattle who left the following card for the waiter:

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The card should be used to illustrate the word “pathetic” in Wikipedia. It’s like some people don’t even realize how silly they look sometimes.

Candidates, Continued

You know what will be totally great? If Trump chooses Palin as his running mate. And then they would both debate Hillary and whomever she chooses to run against. I’m sorry for Hillary because that will be degrading but the comedic factor will be priceless.

In the meantime, here is Bernie Sanders’ interview with Ezra Klein where Bernie defends the nation-state. He actually uses the word “nation-state” and makes a series of very reasonable, clam statements that deserve attention. But he’s talking from the past and trying to bring the past back which is a cute but quite a quixotic proposition. It doesn’t even occur to Bernie that there might be something a tad antiquated about “women should stay at home with babies.” Equally funny is “racism has existed from day one.” Day one of what, precisely? We’ve traveled a long way since the 1970s and have arrived at more sophisticated ways of discussing genderĀ and race.

In terms of foreign policy, Bernie is about as well-informed as Sarah Palin. Just this one bit is priceless:

I happen to believe that when you talk about foreign policy, a the very top of the list is the need for the United States to lead the world, to work with China, work with Russia, work with India in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

Anybody who is marginally aware of Russia realizes that working WITH Russia to move AWAY from fossil fuels is as likely as working with me on moving away from reading books. The entire argument on China, India and Russia (whom it is absolutely ridiculous to lump together, by the way) is childish in the extreme.

In short, Sanders is obviously a decent, honest fellow who has some very important things to say but he’s not even remotely ready to be a president of such a big and complex country. He can preside over nostalgia of the past but not over an actual country of the present and the future.

Manufacturing Origins

Every nation-building process requires the origins of the nation to be pinpointed in a remote past (which, in reality, has fuck – all to do with the nation.) Russians fixate on a Kievan prince from 1,000 years ago. Americans celebrate the Pilgrims. A lily-white colleague of mine from Mexico with the last name of Weinstein talks proudly of “our Aztec ancestors.”

The creators of Spain ‘ s national identity had a choice. They could decide that Spain had originated with the Romans. Spanish language obviously descends from Latin. Roman aqueducts, roads, and olive groves are still visible on the Iberian Peninsula. And there’s the issue of prestige. Who doesn’t want to descend from a culture that is as intellectually prestigious as that of the Romans?

The Spaniards’ other choice were Visigoths. Like the Romans, they were invaders of the Peninsula. But they brought no civilization, built nothing but a couple of ugly little shacks, and made no contribution to the Spanish language outside of the word “guerra” (war).

So who do you think the Enlightened thinkers, the huge believers in progress and civilization, chose as the supposed creators of Spain?

Shockingly, in a fit of what an historian called “interpretative schizophrenia”, the Enlightened thinkers threw over the refined, civilized Romans and embraced the stupid, smelly Visigoths. Romans were labeled effeminate and degenerate, and the liberation from their oppressive rule by the “truly Spanish” Visigoths was celebrated.