The video depicts a mass shooting in a church by a lone assassin who looks very much like the grinning 45th president of the United States. It is violent, gruesome, tasteless, and obviously faked, but the adjective the New York Times editors chose for the headline above Monday’s story was none of those words. It was, instead, macabre, a word with a long, lurid, and murky history.
The organizer of the American Priority event at which the video was screened said the video was part of a “meme exhibit.”
When does a following become so avid, so unquestioning, so blindly loyal that it deserves to be called a cult?
That question, and that label, have spiked in recent discourse. “We’re in a strange place. It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?” U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee,mused to reporters last Wednesday. He continued: “It’s not a good place for any party to have a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be purportedly of the same party.”
No, no, no,joked Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina: “You got to be organized to be a cult. ... I don’t think we’ll ever qualify as a cult.” Or maybe Graham was deflecting; after all, in May 2016 he had tweeted: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it.” What a difference 13 months make.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President!
You’re keeping your promise to make America safer and more prosperous.
“Cult 45” – often seen as a hashtag on social media – spoofs Colt 45, the malt liquor brand. “45” is a reference to the 45th president. Colt .45 is a firearm cartridge; Colt 45 is a 1950 western starring Randolph Scott.
On January 14, David and Louise Turpin – the parents of 13 children, ages 2 to 29 – were arrested in Perris (Riverside County), California, and later charged with multiple counts of false imprisonment, child abuse, and torture. The children had been starved, beaten, chained to their beds, and permitted to bathe only once a year; they had been home-schooled (minimally), forced to memorize long passages of the Bible, and denied medical or dental care.
David Turpin’s parents told ABC News they were “surprised and shocked” by the allegations because their son and daughter-in-law are “a good Christian family.” “God called on them” to have as many children as they did, the elder Turpins said.
That statement led to speculation in somequarters that David and Louise Turpin might be adherents of a fringe Christian movement called Quiverfull.
Years ago, I named the world’s first “bidirectional” condom, so this story really spoke to me:
Diverse & Resilient, an LGBTQ organization in Milwaukee, decided to do something about the bland branding of free condoms. So it partnered with a local marekting agency, Cramer Krasselt, to create Naughty Bags, condoms designed by teens for teens. According to Adweek, the condoms are made “to be sex-positive, humorous, and cool” and feature “witty names like Pork Parka, Pelvic Poncho, Scuba Gear, Surge Protector and—our favorite—Papa Stopper.” Brilliant – in every sense.
Prayer-shaming: Criticism of public figures who, after a mass shooting or other tragic event, offer “thoughts and prayers” but do little or nothing to change policy.
Prayer-shaming was popularized by Emma Green, the managing editor of The Atlantic, in an article published online on December 3, one day after a shooting attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead as well as the husband-and-wife shooters.
On September 30, the Fisker Automotive and Technology Group of Costa Mesa, California, announced a new corporate name and logo: Karma Automotive. The name reincarnates – sorry, couldn’t help myself – the name of Fisker’s only product, a plug-in hybrid that sold for more than $100,000 … when it sold at all. The model lasted only two years; just over 2,000 units were sold before production was suspended in November 2012. The company filed for bankruptcy and was eventually sold to a huge Chinese automotive-parts company, Wanxiang Group.
New logo. Application for trademark registration filed September 30, 2015.
Fisker Automotive had been named for its founder, the Danish car designer Henrik Fisker, who had previously worked for BMW and Ford and who resigned from Fisker Automative in March 2013 because of “disagreements with management.” At the time of his resignation, the New York Times noted that the Fisker Karma had received “mixed critical reviews” as well as “business setbacks and technical problems, including two recalls. In addition, the Karma’s federal fuel-economy ratings were disappointing and its all-electric range proved limited.”
God, or those who claim to speak on His/Her/Their behalf, has had a busy week.
In Rowan County, Kentucky, an elected official named Kim Davis, apparently misremembering that she is paid to render unto Caesar,cited “God’s authority” as the reason she has defied the law of the land and refused to grant marriage certificates to same-sex couples. She’s been held in contempt of court and, as of this writing, is in a county detention center.
Meanwhile, “Hand of God,” a new original series from Amazon, is available for streaming today. I’ve seen only the trailer for the nine-part series, which the New York Times’s Mike Hale called “a California neo-noir thriller” and which centers on a judge (played by Ron Perlman, whom you may remember as Hellboy) who believes he can hear the voice of God, but I can’t help imagining the fictional Judge Pernell Harris meeting the real Ms. Kim Davis in court.
And “Hand of God” isn’t the only deity-themed entertainment in the news. Cast thine eyes on this holy-ish trinity: