Barack Obama's already left Berlin, but the pictures remain. The last time I personally saw the Victory Column, I was 20 and in the midst of Berlin's enormous gay pride parade. Watching young men puke in the bushes while people passed by in front of a stone column was way less impressive than seeing a 20-foot-longpaper maché penis float through the Brandenburg Gate — which makes a better backdrop for everything, really. But the Bush Administration didn't want that backdrop for Obama any more than they probably want to see large penises around Washington, so the Victory Column had to do. Does it really matter what he said? Moe and I say not really, not when we can discuss Rudy Giuliani's Lawsuit-Happy Gilmore, Matthew Yglesias's haters, Michael Savage's stupidity, power, privilege and Duke, SATs, ADHD, Dawson's Creek and James Van Der Beek. (No, I haven't had a bunch of coffee on an empty stomach, why do you ask?) Go read, it's after the jump.
MOE: Whoa 8:45 on the dot!
ON THE NOSE.
MEGAN: That's impressive!
MOE: I'm never on time!
MEGAN: Me neither!
MOE: So guess what? I thought I made this reservation to fly to Seattle tomorrow and it turns out the reservation is for today and tomorrow's flight is sold out, and tonight's flight is sold out!
MEGAN: Hey, I've never been to Seattle and I've always meant to go and I totally actually did that once, only I didn't find out until an hour after the flight actually left. I felt like the world's largest idiot.
MEGAN: Anyway, so the British judges ruled in favor of the Nazi sado-masochistic orgy guy in his lawsuit against the tabloids, because I know we were all on the edges of our seats about that.
And Rudy Giuliani's annoying male progeny is suing Duke for kicking him off the golf team because it will ruin his plans to become a professional golfer. You know, his shitty golfing won't, but Duke cutting him would. Apple, tree in terms of sheer annoyingness and hubris.
MOE: Um, does his mean young people actually might bother voting in this election?
That's a story about an attack ad the Let Freedom Ring foundation is running on MTV. Um, do conservatives ever do youth outreach? Also, in this campaign? What? Also, as attack ads go, it's pretty tame. And cost like $13 to produce.
MEGAN: God, I love the names of bullshit conservative groups! There's always some play on freedom, freedom to own guns and have your religious beliefs imposed on others and to not pay taxes, just not freedom of speech and right of assembly and to IM without the government reading it and to have an abortion.
MOE: Duke is one of those schools that could probably turn a lot of decent impressionable young conformists into abject douchebags but Andrew Giuliani probably had an advantage. He's suing the Duke golf team for booting him off in a "bizarre scheme"…
A bizarre scheme otherwise known as "What can I say, I got sick of the little bitch."
The suit contends the new coach, O.D. Vincent, wanted to reduce the size of the team and trumped up or exaggerated "minor" incidents as an excuse to cut Giuliani. Vincent, who had caused a stir at UCLA when his team there posed naked - holding ball baskets - in Golf Digest, accused Giuliani of driving out of a parking lot too fast, tossing a putter, busting a driver and throwing an apple at a teammate during an argument.
MEGAN: I think that throwing shit at people is generally grounds for getting kicked off of shit.
MOE: I predict success for young Andrew, because it is Duke and as everyone knows money pretty much buys you whatever there.
MEGAN: Well, there and everywhere else.
MOE: Yeah Duke is just apparently particularly bad, according to that story about rich dumb kids whose parents get courted on special fundraising tours starting when they are like 12.
Cissy Bunn acknowledges her daughter didn't fit the academic profile of a Duke student. "She's bright, she had good grades, but she doesn't meet the superstar status," Mrs. Bunn says. "Did my normal child take the place of somebody who could really make a difference in the world? Sure, yes, to an extent. But there are so many things you can lose sleep over. I'm happy for me and my child."
MEGAN: My alma mater has a special 2-year program for stupid little rich kids (and the occasional person with actual potential). It gets them a group of students that will pay full tuition and doesn't need financial aid, but lowers the average SAT scores of the university so much that they take those students out when reporting it to US News & World Report, so the magazine won't rank us anymore.
MOE: Anyway, I just remembered that story because it was kinda truly gross. Like, if elite boarding school and private tutors can't land you a 1300 on your SATs I am sorry but nothing will and you belong fucking elsewhere.
(I say that as a former private SAT tutor who managed to coax 1300s out of some reeeeeally rambunctious kids.)
MEGAN: SATs are a bullshit test anyway. Standardized tests are a tool of the Man, which is why I did so well on them. It's a matter of whether you know or have learned how to game the system. I think it's not that someone like that isn't smart, it's that she doesn't feel like she has to try because she'll get what she wants anywhere, so there's no need to learn how to game the system.
MOE: (I didn't realize at the time I should have been buying their Ritalin off them.)
MEGAN: It's sort of like how financial institutions figured that even if they fucked up hard core the government would still bail them out, so there was no need to practice self-regulation or risk-management, since there was little risk.
MOE: That's a fair point. I mean, I personally hated the "system gaming" stuff because it was like, "No the point of this test is to see whether you know implicitly how to game the system." So I just basically told the kids CONCENTRATE. And focused on critical reading and vocab. One kid asked me if I had been watching too much Dawson's Creek.
I wonder what Maude Bunn is doing these days! I bet she's on Facebook.
MEGAN: I never watched Dawson's Creek. I think the WB didn't come in so well on my TV at college. But James VanDerBeek or whatever went to my sister's college before he made it, if being on one show is considered "making it."
I mean, it's better than I've ever done, but then I'm kind of a shit actor even when I'm a decent liar.
MOE: I think that's a big deal if only because without Dawson's Creek we never would have had Television Without Pity.
One of the most important cultural institutions of our time.
And I say that as someone who doesn't even watch TV.
MEGAN: Which sucks now that Bravo bought and redesigned it.
MOE: Well, that would suck even more if I watched TV. So did you check that Erik Wemple item about how the Washington Post's 97-part Chandra Levy series is quite possibly doing better pageview-wise than their Pulitzer-winning Walter Reed series? Although there is no actual data they are releasing to support this so it is fundamentally speculation? Speculation based on no underlying grievances or suspicions whatsoever??
MEGAN: Oh, by the way, Michael Savage is "clarifying" his shitty stupid assholic remarks on autism being a fake disease. It turns out that the uptick in diagnoses is due to doctors and drug companies peddling their wares like they did with ADHD, even though there are no drugs to treat autism. I hate that fucking guy. Fuck him, someone, please find him and beat him about the head.
Also, OF COURSE it's doing better, it's seriously written like at a 3rd grade reading level and published in like easily-digestable chunks and containing little in the way of actual new information. Like, you keep waiting to learn something and then never do if you read anything about it
MOE: I mean, is one thing to joke that, like, fibromyalgia or bipolar disorder is fake, but autism? Did he miss that Babysitter's Club? Also, in all seriousness, what are they prescribing to the autistic kids? I mean, I don't know nothing, but if it's SSRIs that's sort of a racket. Beyond that, regarding the Post, you know how carefully I monitor the Most-Viewed list because it provides a hilarious counterpart to the New York Times Most Emailed List. And right now Chandra is #5. I really think most of the Dana Priest investigations did better than that. The real mystery is Public Enemy Robert Novak, whose column — syndicated column! — is always like #1 or #2 for at least a few hours.
MEGAN: Also, you heard, the guy Bob Novak hit was a homeless dude? And he really did roll onto the hood and fall off and Novak drove away? I'm like, for real-real? You hit a guy at rush hour and figure no one will notice? What did he think this was, New York?
MOE: (Oh and guys! I know bipolar is real!! As is fibromyalgia! But it is true that bipolar is way over-diagnosed so the pharmas can maximize the profits on their schizophrenia meds before they lose their patents, so that is all I am saying!)
MEGAN: Also, I don't think that most autism patients are on medication. My cousin isn't. It doesn't really work like that, not that Michael Savage fucking knows because he knows so little about it.
MOE: You know who makes me appreciate our beloved commenters more? Yglesias's!
MEGAN: Oh, totally, his commenters all hate him. Oh, wait. Did I mention that I've been here long enough — 9 months since I first wrote for you guys — that I have commenters that hate me too?
MOE: Hahaha I thought they all loved you! They are always like "Megan is a captain of industry and Moe is the one who says outrageous shit that doesn't even make sense," which anyway, brings me to Savage, and his "autistic kids are just little brats who obviously need a good spanking" line of argument. And shit like this will resonate with folks who wonder what happened to the days when you used to grin and bear it and not belabor things — shit, not even talk about things — and everyone sort of fell in line, except that one kid in every family who just sorta became a "black sheep" or a hermetic spinster or an alcoholic or a suicide case…you know? And I basically think most of it comes back to the economy. Anyway
You got bumped off over there?
We should probs address the Berlin speech.
MEGAN: Yes, I got bumped off but I am back and, actually, that speaks to the issue in my family because my cousin who has Asperger's syndrome, his grandmother on the other side of the family was like, whatever, you're just coddling him, his father was the same way and everyone on our side of the family was like, ohhhhhhh.
Yes, Berlin. 200,000 screaming Germans. We should all be friends! Hooray.