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Dingus of the week: Dax Shepard
Also, John Fetterman gets it
This is the weekly dingus, a Friday newsletter, where I make fun of someone or something that has made our lives just a little worse. The weekly dingus started in 2020, as a way to find something to do besides scream in my pillow about how dumb everything was. The dingus has become about finding humor and joy and eking a little witch cackle out of the mess of humanity. It’s the release valve, the steam hole in the kettle, that lets out the pressure of this human existence.
It’s also fun and silly. And gosh darn it, isn’t that enough?
But it’s also work. This is my job. And it’s not possible without your support and your help. Never miss a dingus by becoming a subscriber.
It’s harvest season for dingii. And maybe it’s climate change making us cough, wheeze and die from the heat, or maybe it’s the black hole collapse of social media, which once kept us connected, but now only keeps us connected to Nazis and people mad about the genitals of cartoon dogs — but it’s been a bumper crop of stupidity this week.
America stands on the precipice of a shutdown, with one foot on a banana peel, and Republicans behind us, giving us a little shove.
The only thing Democrats and Republicans, could agree on this week was that it’s important to look like the most canceled man at a literary conference when you are on the senate floor and that we should harass the homeless.
Who says bipartisanship is dead?
And then we had the Republican debate. Did you watch it? Me either. I can punch myself in the face without hearing Vivek Ramaswamy drag the Overton Window into the Atlantic Ocean.
As always, Alexandra Petri has it right. “Do you want to hear these seven people yell unintelligibly over one another for two hours of your life that you will never get back? Then boy, do we have an evening for you!”
It takes a real dingus to out dingus them all this week. Which is why Dax Shepard should put this week’s win on his resume right next to being married to Anna from Frozen.
The actor who once declared he’d be willing to flash his anus if that’s what it takes flashed his anus on his podcast quite unprovoked when he had Jonathan Van Ness on as a guest. The podcast is called “Armchair Expert” but should probably be renamed “Dunning-Kruger Expert” because the man has an unearned sense of entitlement born solely out of his career which was launched by his appearances on that early 00s blight of a show, Punk’d. Punk’d is the show that launched a thousand bros into America who keep screwing us up in ways we have yet to reckon with.
I wrote about the Ashton Kutcher effect in a newsletter a few weeks ago, but what I wrote about Kutcher, could also be said for Shepard.
“It might be unfair to lash out at these kinds of guys. But in so many ways they create the environment where the others thrive. This type of guy is the cytoplasm of the patriarchy, the fluid that holds it all together.”
In Shepard’s case, the kind of guy he is, is the just asking questions guy. And wow. He really wants to ask questions about trans people. When he had Van Ness on, Shepard moved Van Ness to tears with his constant badgering and “just asking questions routine.”
During the interview, Shepard wants it both ways. He wants to badger Van Ness about trans rights, but still be the good guy. He does this by placing trans rights in opposition to women’s rights. Which, hi, those are the same things. They aren’t in opposition. But using the scapegoat of the sanctity of white women has always been the Potemkin village behind which the rot of hate hides. And when you question someone’s fundamental humanity and their right to exist. You are not, by any definition of the word “good.” You actually, suck and are a terrible person.
The interview drove Van Ness to tears, because, they are simply exhausted of having to constantly justify a trans person’s right to exist and have basic human rights. Van Ness says, "I could just cry because I'm so tired of having to fight for little kids because they just want to be included. I wish that people were as passionate about little kids being able to be included or grow up as they were about fictitious women's fairness in sports. I have to tell you, I am very tired."
It reminds me of the time, a very liberal and good journalist asked me out on a date, and we spent the first half hour with him asking me if I really believed everything I wrote about trans rights. Was I, a mother with a daughter who is a swimmer, worried about her?
Absolutely not. I’m worried about my daughter with youth pastors or on scouting trips. I am not worried about a trans girl hurting my daughter or beating her at swimming. In fact, shout out to the trans ladies who give my daughter advice and solidarity with her swimming.
But, when you act like Shepard, and turn someone’s humanity into a fun little debate exercise, you are robbing them of their right to full personhood.
I’m so tired of watching fundamental human rights get “well actuallyed” into oblivion, while these guys just shrug and say they’re just asking questions. A lot of “respectable” reporters do this. Bringing up questions about rights and identity where none should exist, giving air the toxicity of hate, under the guise of respectable disagreement.
And my god, before you hop into the comments and insist on your goodness and that you aren’t that guy, consider why you are doing that? Why are you insisting on your goodness here? Why are you asking me to adjudicate that you are the one lone good man?
God I am so so tired of carrying the anxieties of “well-meaning” white men on my shoulders.
In other news…
Dianne Feinstein died at the age of 90. You can read this excellent profile of her by Rebecca Traister.
And now for something good:
The writer’s strike is over! The CEOs lost. The lesson here is about solidarity.
Speaking of solidarity. It’s great Biden showed up for autoworkers.
Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett gave a rousing speech during the impeachment proceedings about Republicans ignoring the evidence against Donald Trump, while pursuing the impeachment of Biden, because he has a son who kind of sucks. The link to the speech above is worth watching. But CNN titled it “Congresswoman curses…” which wow, yeah, I mean, if there was ever a time for cursing, CNN.
Sophie Turner and Taylor Swift are “thick as thieves now.” And we love to see it. I can only assume this happened because Taylor reads the weekly dingus. The two were spotted out having dinner. And oh….wait. What’s that Taylor is carrying? A copy of my book that you can pre-order?
As the government is pushed to the edge of a shutdown by House Republicans who can’t agree on a funding bill, Republicans are focusing not on their jobs, but on a sham impeachment proceeding of President Joe Biden. Thursday, as the impeachment proceedings kicked off, led by Rep. James Comber, Sen. John Fetterman sent over a case of Bud Light, with the note, “To: Rep. Comer & his squad. A profile in courage can make a guy thirsty. Congratulations. This Bud’s for you. Hugs & Kisses: John Fetterman”
The joke, of course, is that Republicans hate Bud Light because one time a trans person drank some and everyone got really mad.
It’s a great joke and he should do it more often.
When you live in the world’s dumbest timeline, where men with the personalities of expired skim milk, insult Taylor Swift because she’s dating a football star, and some man in platform boots who ironically hates drag fights with Disney, you have to laugh. Yes, sure, these are the worst possible people and they are running our country. So, we have to keep doing good work and fighting for justice and equality. But you have to have a little fun doing it. You have to laugh at the ridiculous naked Emperors running around insisting their clothes look amazing. You have to mock the rotting tubers out there trying to insult you.
I think there is sometimes an impulse to pearl-clutching righteousness when we see abhorrent things or stories and we should take the threats seriously. But laughter is the best tool I’ve ever known for defusing the bombs of
Do not hide from it. Revel in it. Don’t back down from a fight. In fact, pick one or two of them. Just for funsies.
In the words of the columnist Molly Ivins, “Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce.”
What I am drinking:
This week, I made an old-fashioned with cinnamon simple syrup and cardamom bitters, and oh my god. It was so good. I paired it with roasted plums and ice cream. And that’s all I have to say on the matter. Have a lovely weekend. Stay safe out there.