Primarily Horrendo

[Content Note: This post contains discussion of disablism and of the Mormon practice of nonconsensual posthumous baptism.]

Mitt Romney grins menacingly at Newt Gingrich
"I will keel you!"

So, the Republicans had ANOTHER DEBATE! last night, because, little known fact, standing in front of cameras with 6,000 CNN logos behind you has been found to extend life. Each of these men will live to be at least 200 years old.

Anyway! Mitt Romney went after Newt Gingrich like a full-tilt miffed machine, and delivered the world-class snippiness that only a wealthy white dude who's ordered chocolate chip cookies (effortlessly winning the Republican Primary) but gets served oatmeal raisin cookies (having to work for it) can produce. My favorite line of the evening was: "I spent 25 years in business. If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, 'You're fired.' The idea that corporate America wants to go off to the moon and build a colony there, it may be a big idea but it's not a good idea." BURN!

He has a point, though. Corporate America doesn't even want to maintain the colonies here, so it doesn't seem very likely they'll want to build one on the moon.

"Inconceivably, we have even less interest in the moon than in Detroit."—Big Business.

If you want more Funtime Debate Action, Richard Adams' live coverage can be read here. It is, as usual, very enjoyable!

Back on the campaign trail, the Republican Establishment, who's decided Mitt Romney looks pretty good after all if Newt Gingrich is the only other viable option, has decided on its "Fuck Newt" strategy, and it's a doozy: Newt Gingrich is crazy.

The Romney campaign is sending out a print ad that seeks to "rais[e] doubts about Newt Gingrich's 'emotional stability'," and dog whistles cuckoo by calling him, in big block letters, ERRATIC and RECKLESS.

(The main picture of Gingrich, viewable at the link, is also cropped to make maximum hay of the fact that he is fat: "Look at the double chin on this guy!")

Elder GOP statesman and Viagra spokesboner, Bob Dole, who endorsed Romney, is doubling-down with the implications that Gingrich isn't of sound mind, releasing one of the most scathing statements against a member of one's own party I can recall. In the statement, Dole says that Gingrich's ideas as Speaker were "off the wall," and suggests Gingrich himself doesn't even understand why he does things. The statement is brutally honest about Gingrich's ethics problems, ego, and poisonous unpopularity, but there's definitely a troubling undercurrent of "bro be crazy!" running through it.

Meanwhile, on the "Fuck Romney" train, there's more natter about one of the more curious aspects of Mormonism—the practice of posthumous baptism, which is something Romney has said he's done. It's a controversial practice for several legitimate reasons, not just because it's "weird." It's an anti-Semitic practice for one, in habit if not design, as Jewish cemeteries are frequent targets for posthumous baptism, despite repeated requests by Jewish leaders to cease and desist.

I also find it really objectionable that Mitt Romney doesn't consider deeply problematic what is ultimately an issue of consent. Look, I don't believe that performing some ritual over a grave makes a blinking bit of difference in determining where some allegedly sentient soul that vacated the buried body spends its eternal retirement. But Mitt Romney does. He believes that person went into the ground with one belief, and he can change their infinite destiny for them. And he believes he has the right to do that. Which is pretty fucked up.

And it doesn't leave me with a whole lot of confidence that a President Mitt Romney would be very sensitive to other issues of consent that matter in the here and now.

That's something worth asking about. But won't be, because we live in a rape culture, where hostility to consent is the norm.

Also because how could they possibly make room for a question on such a SILLY TOPIC, ha ha, when there are only like 3,000 debates left?!

Moving on...

Something something Ron Paul.

Rick Santorum is still hanging in there, I guess because he believes he actually has a shot at becoming either the nominee and/or the nominee's veep choice? Oof, Rick Santorum. You do not have a shot at either of these things.

In totally unrelated news, ahem, a new study has found that "there is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world." Huh. Shocking.

In all seriousness, the study was examining correlation between IQ and prejudice, suggesting conservatism and prejudice is an innate intelligence issue. But we should all know by now that IQ tests don't meaningfully measure any kind of comprehensive intelligence. The issue underlying the appeal of right-wing ideology is intellectual curiosity, or the lack thereof, which is really not contingent on what's measured with IQ tests.

There are subcultures that actively discourage intellectual curiosity, by demonizing science, by romanticizing segregationist small-town life, by sneering at people perceived to be elite or over-educated, by framing education as the enemy of faith, by embracing isolationism. Even rape culture narratives are embedded with disincentives against adventure: Don't leave the safety of your home, neighborhood, town, county, state, nation because there are nefarious strangers waiting to get you! And for god's sake don't use the internet!

All of these things conspire to create a mind seized with fear, afraid to be curious. Curiosity is necessary for empathy, and empathy necessary for progressive positions.

Conservatives are not unintelligent by nature; they're incurious by design.

That's an important distinction.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

[Photo via.]

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