N.Y. Town Clerk: I Won’t Sign Gay Wedding License

From Politico:

New York’s gay weddings victory lap has not extended to all parts of the Empire State, with a rural town clerk determined to not sign any same-sex marriage licenses.

Barbara MacEwen, the town clerk in upstate Volney who is responsible for signing marriage licenses in the town, said she’s morally opposed to same-sex weddings and does not intend to affix her signature to any marriage documents for gay or lesbian couples.

“If there’s any possible way to not do it, legally, then yes, I would not want to put my name on any of those certificates or papers,” MacEwen told POLITICO. “That’s their life, they can do it, but I don’t feel I should be forced into something that’s against my morals and my God.”

Somebody Reads Too Much Into “Go the Fuck to Sleep”

From Slate:

The odd, rageful, beautiful little book’s inspiration lies in the commingling of insipid bedtime story rhymes with the inner monologue of the wildly irritated parent: “The owls fly forth from the treetops./ Through the air, they soar and they sweep./ A hot crimson rage fills my heart, love. / For real, shut the fuck up and sleep.” The stylish parody relies for its humor and frisson on a certain level of frustration, an over- the- top, pent-up fury toward one’s children, because without that fury, it’s simply not that funny. The idea of saying “shut the fuck up” to a 3-year-old is hilarious and enthralling only if you are channeling an awful lot of that “hot crimson rage.” As one Amazon reviewer puts it, “The sanity we give up as conscientiously-parenting adults makes bonding experiences like this so worth it!”

In Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, Freud writes about the “hostile purpose” of jokes. He argues that jokes are liberating and give us pleasure when they articulate the anger we are not allowed to express in everyday life. Here of course, that anger or hostility is aimed at children, at big-eyed toddlers padding around in their strawberry pajamas, and that is what is both exhilarating and disturbing about the book. There is a nastiness in Go the F**k to Sleep, an undercurrent of resentment that is comic, or “cathartic,” as another Amazon reviewer put it, only to parents who are pretty radically subjugating themselves to a certain kind of kid-centered drabness, and judging from the book’s runaway success, that would be a lot of parents.

Why Supermarket Tomatoes Suck

From OnEarth:

An industrial Florida tomato is harvested when it is still hard and green and then taken to a packinghouse, where it is gassed with ethylene until it artificially acquires the appearance of ripeness. But as far back as the 1920s, food scientists had determined that no tomato artificially ripened with ethylene would ever have taste and texture equal to one allowed to ripen naturally. In the field, any fruits that show the slightest blush of pink, let alone red, are left to rot or are scavenged by freelance “pinhookers” who pay a small fee to enter fields that have been harvested and collect fruits showing color to sell to local restaurants and vegetable stands or through pinhookers’ markets. It’s not that the Florida growers can’t pack fully ripe tomatoes. They have done it in the past. But doing so requires frequent harvesting over a long period of time, which is costly. It is more profitable for them and their large fast food and supermarket customers to handle and sell tomatoes that are harvested in two or three passes when they are green, indestructibly hard, and impeccably smooth skinned and have a couple of weeks of shelf life ahead of them. Taste does not enter the equation. “No consumer tastes a tomato in the grocery store before buying it. I have not lost one sale due to taste,” one grower said. “People just want something red to put in their salad.”


Bachmann gets history wrong while avoiding a question about how she got some other history wrong.

And while we’re on the subject of Bachmann, you may want to read Matt Taibi’s profile of her in Rolling Stone:

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don’t laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children’s show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing “launch” instead of “lunch” inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.

Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government. She kicked off her unofficial presidential campaign in New Hampshire, by mistakenly declaring it the birthplace of the American Revolution. “It’s your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world!” she gushed. “You are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard.”

I said lunch, not launch! But don’t laugh. Don’t do it. And don’t look her in the eyes; don’t let her smile at you. Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau. She’s trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don’t, because the secret of Bachmann’s success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.