Bongreads of the Week: Conservative Media Edition

In order to be a fully-rounded person, you should see what the other side has to say. In order to stay sane, you should do this while stoned.

Bongreads of the Week: Conservative Media Edition

True story: The other night, I ran out of weed and ended up doing the thing where you scrape all of the resin out of your bowl and smoke those shitty weed-boogers that get you high for like twenty minutes max. The bad weed residue then told my already dumb brain that it would be funny if I read articles from "highbrow" conservative publications and wrote about them for this here website. Before I realized how hard this was going to suck, I'd already committed to it and read like 15 articles written by old white men on websites whose names seemed to all have the word "National" or "American" in their title.

Now, I am going to tell you about them. You should not feel pressured to actually read the articles I'm linking to, and if you do actually read them prepare to be both bored and horrified in equal measure. If you manage to make it all the way to the end of one of these dumb-ass monstrosities, you will come out on the other side with a fuller and richer appreciation of how smart people who believe in stupid things pretty much always end up writing the prose equivalent of a moth ball enema. In other words, you should only read them after smoking enough resin to varnish a coffee table.

Slouching Toward Mar-a-Lago

Andrew J. Bacevich for American Conservative

The first thing you'll notice about literary-ish American conservative publications (such as, uh, American Conservative) is that Donald Trump really pisses them off and they don't want to be left holding the bag once he fucks up and starts nuclear war. The first thing you'll notice about Andrew J. Bacevich's piece Slouching Toward Mar-a-Lago is that Andrew J. Bacevich fucked up his Joan Didion reference by forgetting to put an "s" at the end of "towards." Bacevich's piece is remarkable in that he manages to blame Trump on Bill Clinton and Barack Obama without explicitly saying so, builds up a steam of goodwill by making perfectly reasonable suggestions like saying we should nix the electoral college and cut corporate money out of politics, then shits it all away by saying we should reinstate the draft. Anyways, this piece is the least bad of the bunch I read, so I figured I'd give it to you first. 

So You Want to Be a (Social Media) Star

David DeVoss for The Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard specializes in what could be charitably termed "conservative gonzo journalism." As in, they send a square––but snarky!––white dude into an environment that makes him completely uncomfortable, and instead of doing drugs he knocks out a bunch of his word count by complaining about the loss of family values. The one Weekly Standard writer who can actually kind of pull this off is Matt LaBash, who despite looking like a completely wet Bobby Moynihan actually tries to understand his subjects. Here, read this genuinely moving profile he wrote about disgraced former D.C. mayor Marion Barry, and never, ever read any of his opinion pieces because he sucks at thinking his own thoughts.

Miss Marple and the Problem of Modern Identity

Alan Jacobs for The New Atlantis

I'm not sure why Alan Jacobs, a professor at Baylor who once wrote an entire book on the Chronicles of Narnia books, felt like he needed to spend several thousand words writing about Agatha Christie and the history of the British passport system before just to make a point about how Facebook wants to govern our identities. But then again, one of the tricks of conservative rhetoric is to use barely relevant historal and philosophal examples to stultify your reader into submission in the hopes of making them so miserable they'll agree with you just so you'll stop history-ing at them. From clicking around the website of the conservative science journal The New Atlantis, it seems like this just might be their house style.

Damaging Information

John C. Eastman for The Claremont Review of Books

One of the phenomenons of conservative media is you'll often find an article arguing the same point as their lefty analogues, but for completely different reasons. Like, this article is about why Donald Trump Jr.'s infamous June 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower is being weaponized by the Democratic party in dumb ways. I totally buy that––especially, as Eastman points out, when you've got lawmakers like Tim Kaine and Seth Moulton calling Trump Jr.'s actions "treasonous." But where I think Democratic politicians should stop paying attention to this whole Russia scandal and instead let Robert Mueller's investigation take its course while focusing on keeping Donald Trump Jr.'s dad from starting nuclear war, John C. Eastman deliberately insults his own intelligence by claiming that the real problem is actually Hillary Clinton. Who is, it has been established, extremely not the president.

Blame Communists for Communist Provocations, Not the West

Noah Rothman for Commentary

The ideological arc of Commentary is a weird one. Originally started in 1945 by the American Jewish Committee, the magazine started out as a left-wing rag roughly in the same wheelhouse as the New York Review of Books. But in 1968, its social climbing Editor-in-Chief Norman Podhoretz wrote a notoriously bad novel called Making It that pissed off all his society buddies and got a scathing review from Normal Mailer, and so Podhoretz became a neoconservative partially out of spite. Now, his son John edits the magazine and publishes stuff like the above-linked piece from Noah Rothman, which pretends that everybody to the left of Tim Kaine is a communist who wants to make out with Kim Jon-Un and implies that communist countries need to be nuked because they're communist. I tried to read some more stuff on Commentary's site, but was mercifully blocked by a paywall.

Written on August 11, 2017 by

Drew Millard

Drew Millard is a freelance writer and dog owner living in Durham, North Carolina. His writing has appeared in VICE, High Times, Hazlitt, SPIN, and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @drewmillard.