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Whiskey & Wry

44. The Folly of Dystopian Jenga

Remember Emelio Estevez? Before his 'Brat Pack' stardom faded and his brother, Charlie Sheen, lost his mind, he once made a movie called Wisdom in which he played a modern-day Robin Hood. He bought an Uzi, converted it to fully automatic by shortening the barrel — turns out you can do that in Hollywood — and started robbing banks for, um, justice or something. Emilio's character committed a series of crimes that took time, effort, and bullets; lots and lots of bullets. He knew — and we knew — that what he was doing was criminal. But that was then, and this is now....

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43. Our Not-So Benevolent Masters

Once upon a time, there was a wise and benevolent Council of Masters. It was their job to help the Feeble-Minded Masses get through their days. The Council passed many laws and empowered people with shiny badges to enforce those laws. The purpose? To ensure the Feeble-Minded Masses didn't make the Wrong Choices. See, left to their own devices, the masses would do Stupid Things — you know, like eating paint chips and McDonald's daily, wearing our underwear outside our clothes, or attempting to change the weather without telling the Secretary of Commerce. The Council of Masters looked out on the land and saw that...

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42. Riding high over the fiscal cliff

Congress giving away billions in national lands! Toads falling in plague swathsfrom the lightning-streaked sky! Mayan temples cracking open to disgorge clouds of ancient killer bees! ANDY DICK TO STAR IN YET ANOTHER 'INSPECTOR GADGET' SEQUEL! These and other made-up, apocalyptic headlines accompanied this article in the Guardian. The column highlights a plan by the often-worthy-of-derision Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to "give away Americans' birthright" in the form of federal land. "Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable...

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41. Bizarro World & Partisan Hypocrisy

Did you wake up today talking in pidgin English and wearing cracked, white-pancake makeup? Congratulations! You're now living in Bizarro World, where up is down, good is bad, water flows uphill, green Kryptonite is not your problem, populists cheer presidential power grabs, and Progressives oppose centralized power. Introduced in 1958, Bizarro Superman was a mirror-image opposite to the 'Man of Steel.' Sometimes an antagonist and sometimes an anti-hero, Bizarro represented the inverse of Superman's instincts, character, and values. As we survey the boiling landscape of MAGA hats and anti-Trump protests, the unfolding scene strikes us as 'un-possible,' as Bizarro might say. For...

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40. Populist Hero or Supervillain?

It's a movie moment you're sure to recognize. Breathing heavily, carrying himself as a man accustomed to getting his own way — and destroying those who stand in his path — the Supervillain strides ominously to the microphone. With sweeping gestures and self-righteous rhetoric, he informs those assembled that the evil he commits is really for their benefit. He solemnly vows to free his audience from their troubles and suffering, and he pledges to hold those responsible accountable. The Supervillain understands their pain and he shares their anger. They're angry about taxes. They're angry about crime. They're angry about corrupt...

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