I have a confession to make: I get a kick out of Conservative smartass Mat Best.
Because the former Army Ranger and his band of kindred souls seem to stand for something.
It’s not the same thing we stand for as principled liberals at The Cynical Times, but it’s not that far off. The commonality is rooted in the nature of their deeply held views, which appear to be informed, principled and framed by humor and painful truths. Rather than situational.
Just to see someone take a principled stand and laugh at themselves is special at a time like this. With a polarized America awash in political hookers, their ridiculous loyalists, and the poser bullshit being generated by the two big political machines.
The painful truth is most people are either human weather vanes, who stand for nothing but themselves, or reflexive rule followers, who stand for nothing but blind obedience to someone else's dogma. Very few are willing to take a principled stand for what they believe is right, much less a funny one.
The weather vanes pretend to be principled but actually just run with the crowd. That's what makes them so vulnerable to the Donnie Trustfunds and Crooked Hillarys of the world.
They were Nazis in Nazi Germany and Communists in the old Soviet Union. They embraced slavery under Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy; free love when Tricky Dick Nixon was in The White House during the Vietnam War; and family values under Ronald Reagan. They were Wall Street cheerleaders and Gold Diggers under Bill Clinton; reveled in forever war and empire under Barack Obama and the Bushes; and are currently hip deep in the Fake Tough Guy Bigotry of the Trump Administration and the Retroactive Victimization of The Me Too Movement.
The painful truth is that some of the weather vanes are also gun nuts who embraced gun control after seeing a heartbroken and camera-friendly Emma Gonzalez on TV in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, which killed 17 people of our people. Every last one of them American.
As much as we applaud those conversions we don't really roll like that here at The Cynical Times, which has always opposed civilian ownership of automatic and semiautomatic weapons. I have a hunch that Mat Best and his crew feel the same way about these posers, even though they oppose stricter gun control.
Bottom line, it's hard to respect someone whose only commitment to the truth is whatever viewpoint is in vogue. I'd rather associate with people who disagree with me on principle than those with no principles at all.
Best did five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, he's a lot better known for his funny videos on YouTube, which have been viewed more than 13 million times and are incredibly popular with military veterans and active duty members of our armed forces.
Mat's work has brought much needed talent, originality and energy to the military. So much so that Military.com selected him one of the 25 veterans poised to make a difference in 2015.
Homeboy has definitely done that. He made a campy zombie film in 2016 called Range 15, which performed well above its weight class, and did a nice job on a first-person column about post-traumatic stress disorder which appeared on a gun enthusiast website called "Recoil." Best is no journalist, but if he ever learns paragraphs can have less than 10 sentences in them we could be in big trouble.
We're fond of reminding people at The Cynical Times that we deal in painful truths. One of them is that as the political winds of change swirl leftward again, the human weather vanes are getting whiplash searching for their next landing spots. Because that’s what they do.
They stand for nothing and they risk nothing. Ergo, they are nothing.
Unlike Mat Best, who is a somebody. Even when he embraces the nonsense that former Army Rangers are just like everybody else and we should all have Browning M2 Heavy Machine Guns mounted on our Town & Country minivans, and soccer moms riding shotgun inside them with M249 Squad Automatic Weapons.
Whereas we favor a complete ban on civilian ownership of automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and would prohibit civilians from carrying loaded firearms outside the home and range if we had our druthers. In our America, your primary means of self defense would be your own brutality. Not some form of store-bought manhood.
It's also a great reason to be civil to each other.
That said, we can see room for compromise when it comes to establishing different levels of civilian gun rights for combat veterans. As opposed to those who loaded warehouse shelves and listened to other people's phone calls during their time in uniform.
We don't conflate the two groups.
Personally, I’d be happy if the human weather vanes continued to get underfoot on the right. Because the left is already infested with limousine liberals. Meaning the rich Dems who keep trying to tell working Americans how we can voice our frustrations in the way most useful to them politically.
As if we give a shit.
The old saying “The more the merrier (but) the fewer, the better fare” comes to mind. It basically means that more of something is not always desirable.
I’m a “better fare” kind of guy in the sense that I don’t need a lot of fair weather friends, or readers. I just need a few who count for something.
I’ve tried to bring that principled attitude to The Cynical Times, by not looking the other way when limousine liberals like The Clintons, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi bury their snouts in the public trough. Just because they claim to live in the same political area code as we do.
Eff that noise, eff "Me Too" while we’re at it, and eff anyone who thinks it’s OK to criminalize those of us with external genitalia. Sames goes for anyone who equates all white males with Kountry Klub Kommandos like Donald Trump, Robert Mercer, and the Koch Brothers.
Because the limousine liberals of Me Too are not my idea of proper liberals and there are plenty of good men in this country. We don't need to behave like doormats to emphasize those distinctions at a time when knowing lies congeal into fake truths with startling speed.
I’m proud working class and proud liberal. That means I don’t have any use for an elitist movement which only registers exploitation when the alleged victims are rich, famous and glamorous.
I’ve been ridden hard and hung up wet by the greedy sonsabitches of The Fortune 500. As have most Americans. However, when I look at Me Too all I see are rich kids, gold diggers and fame groupies - like Monica Lewinsky - hijacking the suffering of the masses.
Same goes for those who post nonsense about how all men are rapists and accuse us all of being part of the billionaire “patriarchy.”
Last time I looked progressive males just like me had played key roles in the Civil Rights movement, the Sexual Revolution, the Abolitionist Movement, The Civil War and every other movement toward true equality. Men like Freedom Rider James Zwerg (right), who took a brutal beating beside John Lewis in Montgomery in 1961; Thomas Miller who cleared the way for Kathie Switzer to become the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon in 1967; and Marine veteran Scott Olson, who got his skull cracked while participating in an Occupy Wall Street march in 2011.
And men like Mat Best, who is pretty goddamn liberal by military standards. He might very well be one of us if not for the repugnant hypocrisy of the limousine liberals who dog the steps of legitimate progressives and legitimate victims at every step by constantly crying "wolf."
Best is fond of criticizing those who equate patriotism with racism. Good on him for that.
I'm equally fond of criticizing those who attempt to hold all white men responsible for the sins of the Kountry Klub Kommandos by spraying terms like "patriarchy" and "white privilege" at all and sundry.
The truth is that there are plenty of good men in this nation of every size, shape, income, melanin level, sexual orientation, religious belief system and political viewpoint. Many of them are living pretty rough these days.
Personally, I don’t have any use for those who think America can combat the scourge of sexism with reverse sexism or the scourge of racism with reverse racism.
Because group bias is group bias, plain and simple, and it is the enemy of true liberalism. Regardless of whether the groups are traditional victim groups or not.
I judge people by the choices they make in life, rather than the groups they were born into, because equality is a foundational values of liberalism.
I know that approach has alienated some readers.
We don’t need a bunch of human weather vanes at The Cynical Times.
Meanwhile, I look at Mat Best and think “this kid and his smartass pals might be someone worth knowing.” Even though his views on gun control don’t mirror my own, he can’t spell his own first name, and he doesn’t seem to be able to keep a shirt on for more than 10 minutes at a time.
I do that right after observing that Best looks and sounds a lot like the Steve Stifler character from America Pie, albeit at his 20th high school reunion.
Do I know everything about the kid?
Nope. Never talked to him and have only seen a fraction of his stuff, but I like what I've seen. Even the stuff I disagree with.
Homeboy just put out a satirical video called “Conservative Comes Out.” It shows him telling his allegedly "liberal" family he’s a Conservative. Much like a gay man coming out to his parents.
It was both hysterical and chockful of painful truths.
The clip is neither anti-gay nor anti-Liberal, in my opinion. What Best was really poking fun at were reflexive rule followers. The money line occurs when Mat’s friend asks him how it went.
“It’s amazing how violent people get when you’re just trying to articulate an opposing viewpoint,” Best says.
No shit. We get that too in these days of rampant identity politics - from both directions.
The sentiment is something everyone has experienced when dealing with reflexive rule followers and their robotic devotion to whatever dogma serves as their intellectual crutch.
I don’t care what anyone tells you, the real enemy of a principled liberal is not a principled conservative. It’s the human weather vanes and reflexive rule followers of the world, who reflexively attack or ignore those of us with different viewpoints.
The most dangerous of these weather vanes are opportunistic bullshit artists like Trump and Hillary, who hijack populist movements like Occupy Wall Street and Me Too and transform them into vehicles for their own personal aggrandizement.
These political hookers don’t want followers, they want worshippers, because they’re all about themselves. They have zero interest in public service.
Well, I pass.
Because I can do better.
This kind of navel gazing always brings to mind the annual junior-senior football game at The Bronx High School of Science – my alma mater. We had 4,200 students, but no varsity football team. So the juniors and seniors would square off for a "friendly" game every year.
Only 20 juniors suited up when I was in 11th grade, which is barely enough to field a team. However, more than 90 came out to play as seniors.
Where were they all a year earlier, when it was time to play the underdog?
Why did they all suddenly discover their love for the game a year later when it was time to play the bully?
Because no poser can ever pass up the chance to play the fake tough guy and wear their brand new jersey around school ad nauseum, like they're something they're not. Which is why the senior team was awash in future human weather vanes who love to play Dress Up GI Joe now, but never had any interest in military service in their youth.
These are the posers the firearms industry is getting fat off.
I look at Mat Best and his crew and think: “you know, I bet those kids would have been taking their lumps beside me junior year.”
Because why live in fear?
Fugg the seniors. And fugg Hillary and Trump while we’re at it and anyone else who needs to demonize those who disagree with them.
This is a big country, with room for lots of different viewpoints.
The only distinction that really matters is the one between the Americans who live their lives in trembling fear and those of us who refuse to take the bait and hate everyone who doesn't look, act or think as we do.
Case in point, the removal of children from Neo Nazi homes.
I'm Jewish and it's hard for me to find a silver lining in a group which is dedicated to exterminating me and mine, but you know what?
It's still terribly wrong when the state puts their kids in foster care.
Especially given how contrary American kids are these days.
You never know, these Nazi tykes might grow up to be transgender, Hindu, liberals in committed biracial relationships. Or former Army Rangers who spend an inordinate amount of time polishing their bullets and admiring themselves in the mirror before heading to the shooting range.
What difference does any of it make so long as they're good kids?
The Cynical Times is a liberal news and satire organization devoted to the poor and faltering middle class. And no, we don't lift.