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February 27, 2015

one of the terrorist dudes chopped food i ate

I know that I'm supposed to talk about the llamas and the dress, or at least talk about the phenomena of everyone talking about the llamas and the dress, but this is just so good that it takes precedence.

So maybe amid all the hoopla you heard that three men from Brooklyn were arrested for attempting to fly to Syria and join ISIS?  Well I had heard that they were Uzbeki or Kazak, and my personal neighborhood in Brooklyn is one of those everyone likes to describe as the Most Diverse Zip Code In America, so I was mildly curious if maybe any of these guys were from around the way.

So then the NYT runs its deep dive into the three would-be Islamic extremists, and I trip across this passage:

But before he could go off to wage war, he needed to get his passport back from his mother.

He worried about this, confiding in his friend Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev.

Week after week, Mr. Juraboev, 24, had worked alone in a dank basement beneath the Gyro King on Foster Avenue in Brooklyn, chopping vegetables for 10 hours a day, six days a week.

And that is the part where the little tiny invisible hat jumped straight up off my head of its own volition.

This specific Gyro King is around the corner and down the street from my apartment building.  That Gyro King is a place I go at least once a week to pick up a lamb on rice.  In fact, they know me well enough that they're heavy on the veggies that they load on top.

That Gyro King is delicious and awesome.  And employed a dude that wanted to go fly off and behead some infidels.

If that is not a perfect snapshot of Life In These Modern Times, it is at least a very good one.  Business as usual, a busy corner in a vibrant tapestry of a Kings County neighborhood, and then an Oh My God What Just Happened?

Please none of you tell my mom.  She would freak out.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:26 AM

February 24, 2015

bill o'reilly

Funny enough I'm working on a longer Goodbye To All That piece on how Gotcha blogging is so so 2005, and then here comes Bill O'Reilly, determined not just to autodefenestrate, but also not THAT window here let him build a very special window with his working class buddies from Long Island and then get a nice running start.

So then before I say Goodbye To All That let's talk about Bill O'Reilly.

This event is of course being compared (or in some circles framed as revenge for) Brian Williams being less than honest about his time on a helicopter in a war zone, as O'Reilly is being hounded because he made some claims about being in a "war zone" during the Falklands War, which claims have been widely mocked and derided by his colleagues at the time.  Some have made the point that Brian Williams matters because he is actually trusted.  But I'm going to flip it around and say that the O'Reilly issue is also important because he is NOT trusted and can we just all agree on that in some public manner as to dissuade O'Reilly's fans from citing any "fact" brought to bear by O'Reilly as anything other than third-rate fiction.

For some reason the right has cornered the market on ethics in journalism.  I'm actually fine with that, in the sense that I want journalists, all journalists, to be held to high standards.  However, if the perp happens to be in the employ of Fox News, generally the perp skates.  This may be because no one really thinks that the types of Fox Newsers making these flubs are actually journalists, and I can't recall any of the old TV news types, like say Brit Hume or Chris Wallace, ever getting their heads stuck in the banister in such a fashion.  So possibly the initial motivation of David Corn (who stirred this O'Reilly issue up) was an attempt for equivalency.

But heck with that I say.  O'Reilly is coming unhinged over some perceived insult to a credibility that exists only in his mind.  (Perhaps Corn's intention.)  But you don't have to read very close to see a motive for the old colleagues to come out of the woodwork: O'Reilly was a contentious, bullying, self-regarding blowhard, just a big old garden variety asshole.

So what O'Reilly is missing is that this is not about journalism, this is about O'Reilly being a dick.  And the more he goes off the reservation, the more he proves the point.

Which is why I approve of wasting ink on this: couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

This post was written in its entirety without mentioning a loofah.  You're welcome.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:22 AM