The Brothers Karamazov is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s final masterpiece. It offers superb characterization, psychological depth and insight; intrigue, murder, and suspense; great daubs of humor, both madcap broadsides and satirical with a capital slice; that never-ending, cyclonical struggle between faith and reason; a sublimely Slavic melange of love, lust, deception, betrayal, violence, flight, revenge, apostasy, and redemption—capped off by a court trial scene that overrules Perry Mason and, in the renowned chapter The Grand Inquisitor, a full-court press by an impassioned Hierarch against Jesus’ abandonment of mankind to a terrifying freedom and overwhelming spiritual responsibility it neither wanted nor could manage that alone is worth the price of the book.
All right, I didn’t write the paragraph above (stole it from here), but it’s similar to what I would have cribbed from my CliffsNotes had I spent high school reading classics instead of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the D&D Monster Manual. A few years back I decided to make up for my literature deficit by reading at least one classic a year. Liked Moby Dick, loved The Kalevala, and 2016 was the year I’d finally read the book that smart people have told me to read for decades, The Brothers Karamazov. So what did I think of this, the greatest Russian novel ever written?
Eh. It was a bit of slog.
The internet features lots of snark, but precious little wit. Spend any time on social media, and you’ll find that most confuse the two.
Wit is defined as “the keen perception and cleverly apt expression of those connections between ideas that awaken amusement and pleasure.” Snark is “to be critical in a rude or sarcastic way.” Of course, sarcasm and rudeness can be funny, but the problem with most snark is its purely negative intent. Don Rickles is obnoxiously rude but everyone knows he doesn’t mean it. And funny sarcasm contains a wink to the recipient that it’s all in good fun. But snark holds the subject in contempt and the goal is harm and virtue signaling to the cool kids.
I created a chart to ensure that budding journalists understand how to properly frame a story involving any type of shooting, terror attack, or other violent crime. Remember that the job of the Objective Journalist™ is not to tell the audience what happened, but to expand the event into an indictment of Western culture.
There are 492 stories on the naked island. This is one of them.
A political consultant — John Yob’s his name — was out tomcatting at a Mackinac Island watering hole Thursday night. One drink became three, three drinks turned to 10, and by 2 a.m. he was feeling every drop of his Oberon Ale. Yob had a mouth full of cotton and a belly full of regret. Little did he know, the night was just getting started.
Most people think of Mackinac Island as a family place. A dot of green in a great lake of blue topped with B&B’s, fudge shops, and horse-drawn carriages. But there’s another side to Ol’ Mac. A darker side.
Tell a joke to a liberal. Between your punchline and his laughter, there is a Progressive Comedy Pause. In this second or two, the liberal will process the joke to make sure he is allowed to laugh.
Is that joke racist? He mentioned Obama, but didn’t make light of him, so to speak. He also mentioned Michelle, but I didn’t notice sexism. Is it dismissive of the LGBTQIA community? Latinos? Muslims? Vegans? Will this joke hurt progressive causes? Will my laughter trivialize oppressed communities? Will I appear intolerant? I think it’s okay if I laugh. Yes, I’ll laugh now to signal my appreciation and to indicate that I’m not a joyless liberal scold.
James Rosen, Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent, said that some of the criticism of Marie Harf and Jen Psaki was rooted in sexism.
On the Howard Kurtz program Mediabuzz this weekend, Rosen was asked about the State Department spokesduo, which has been pilloried by the international press and center-right commentariat for multiple high-profile gaffes. Following a Harf statement last week that “we cannot kill our way out of this war” with ISIS, even MSNBC’s Chris Matthews complained about the administration’s feckless response to the Islamist threat.
While Rosen thought some criticism was justified, he worried that much of the social media blowback was offensive. The only specific example he pointed to was a Photoshop I made last year. You can watch Rosen’s remarks in the video below (skip to the two-minute mark) or read the transcript below.
The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect upon the brilliant prose offered by the political commentariat's bravest voices. A good columnist will offer trenchant observations, cutting satire or unique policy proposals. But only the truly great will combine all three in a seemingly effortless manner. Better still is the writer who inexplicably remains humble despite his manifest literary gifts, winsome attitude, and raw, animal appeal to the opposite gender.
Keeping these lofty principles in mind, and with all the votes tallied and re-tallied, I am honored to unveil The ExJon.com Complete Best Conservative Columnist List of 2014!
Since I’m all about the youth vote, I updated the comics of my childhood with timeless messages about the free market and limited government.
Netroots Nation is an annual conference for online progressive activists. Over the past few days, the group held their ninth annual event in Detroit — America’s finest example of unchecked liberal policy.
Unbeknownst to the organizers, I attended the conference to see what the other side thinks about economics, education and the midterms. If their presentation on comedy is any guide, conservatives don’t have much to fear.
“The Left is supposed to be funnier than the Right, damn it,” the panel description stated. “So why do we so often sound in public like we’re stiltedly reading from a non-profit grant proposal?”
While digging a shallow grave the other day, my accomplice said, “when I die, I don’t want anyone to cry or be sad. I want my funeral to be a party! They should get a keg, play loud music and have a great time!”
Not only is this sentiment clichéd, it’s also unrealistic. If people are that giddy at your funeral, you were probably a complete jerk who everyone is glad to be rid of. (And with my accomplice, we would be.) But, as King Solomon once plagiarized from The Byrds, “a time to laugh, a time to weep.”
It is perfectly natural to be sad at the departure of a loved one. You realize you won’t see that person again on this side of mortality and that’s an awful feeling. I have no need to short-circuit the grieving process for those I leave behind. So when I die, I want tears. Lots and lots of tears.