Today is the first full day of Hanukkah, which began last night at sundown and will last for seven more evenings. At that point, Santa Claus himself will scootch down the chimney of every Jewish household on Earth and steal their menorah so he can melt it down to make ice skates and BB-guns for all the good gentile boys and girls.
Despite what you may have learned from Rugrats or that one episode of Friends with Jughead from Riverdale and a giant armadillo, Hanukkah is not so much a charming celebration of plucky underdogs triumphing over religious persecution and supernatural flammability as a commemoration of a family of psychotic zealots who instituted a policy of forced circumcision. Also, an elephant fell on one of them and squished him to death.
While Christmas-proximity has elevated Hanukkah from minor observance to major Adam Sandler hit, the holiday as we know it today is largely an exercise in historical revisionism — an effort to conveniently smooth out the rough edges of what would otherwise be a celebration of religious extremism and violence.
And speaking of historical revisionism that seeks to distract from celebrating a regime of violent extremism: Kellyanne Conway just landed herself a big fat multi-million dollar book deal. How nice for her. I can only imagine she’ll engage in the same sort of soul searching and deep personal introspection that takes an unflinching look at her role in bringing us to the brink of whatever the hell it is we’re on the brink of this week.
Lol, just kidding. Even I’m not that dumb. We all know how this is gonna go. Even the worst ghouls of the Trump administration will land plum gigs at Fox or Newsmax or some only-semi-overtly White Nationalist think tank, and eventually everyone’s reputations will be laundered through enough layers of media appearances and book deals and the inevitable gauzy nostalgia that clouds the minds of the sort of people who have spent the past four years waxing rhapsodic about the good ol’ days of George W. Bush.
Does this mean that sometime in the distant future our descendants will be lighting candles and frying shredded potatoes to celebrate some invented MAGAbees fable that supplants the record of the horrors and embarrassments inflicted on us all by the Trump administration? Probably not. But it’s worth keeping in mind how easy it can be to lose track of how bad things were, just because they’re not so bad anymore.
For now though? The things? They’re pretty lousy. Oh well.
Pope Francis is unquestionably one of — if not the — most powerful and influential religious leaders on Earth. And yet, despite his immeasurable influence and authority, he apparently approaches gift-giving like someone’s grandparents.
This year, as a special Christmas present to his nearly 4,000 employees and Vatican staff, Francis has reportedly given everyone five boxes of Vicks Day-and-NyQuil — the good stuff with the pain killers and zonk-out ingredients. This, is, I suppose a step below his traditional gift of wine, or pastries, but definitely more thoughtful than the too-small tube socks I got last year from my aunt.
If you’re a global nuclear power in possession of something called the “Doomsday plane,” I’d think you’d probably want to keep a closer eye on it than Russia does. Because, while the modified Ilyushin Il-80 jet — designed to serve as an aerial command center in the event of an atomic war — was grounded for maintenance in the port city of Taganrog, some extremely ballsy crooks snuck on board and ripped off a million roubles worth of high tech, top secret electronics which — again — are designed to help coordinate troop movements during a global nuclear conflagration.
I ask: what could be worse than holding an ultra-hush-hush anonymous city council vote to give a white supremacist religious congregation their own church in your small Midwestern town? Evidently, it’s when your ultra-hush-hush anonymous city council vote to give a white supremacist religious congregation their own church in your small Midwestern town is, itself, illegal.
Welcome to Murdoch, Minnesota!
This week the town’s five-person city council granted a permit for the white supremacist Asatru Folk Assembly to use an abandoned church as a meeting place, arguing that to deny the congregation’s request would have likely been a First Amendment violation. Unfortunately (??) by turning off their Zoom cameras, and refusing to do a voice roll call as part of the vote, the council likely broke the state’s laws regarding how teleconference meetings must be conducted.
While the city contends that its council members don’t believe they broke the law, they each face a possible $300 fine. Also, the town is now going to be the midwest hub for an SPLC-listed hate group. So that’s not great either.
C is for cholesterol
Thank you Top Marketing Agency for confirming that we are all eating more crap than usual during this interminable pandemic — specifically, cookies, to the tune of about 25% more than before. Personally, I didn’t need a fancy survey to tell me that I’m shoveling more shit into my gullet than usual, I’ve got mirrors for that.
All bark, no bite
Perhaps this transitory tooth was simply trying to get as far away from Louie as possible. Can you blame it?
I don’t know how you could possibly hear the mysterious “BOOMS” that have evidently been tormenting New Jersey residents over their usual cacophony of “gabagool” and “eyyyyy” and various shouted Bruce Springsteen lyrics. Nevertheless, that’s evidently what’s been happening in the Jersey town of Hammonton, where this week Rob Butkowski admitted that he’s been blasting off a homemade, 16-foot-long “hail cannon” that he uses to break up cloud formations and scare away birds with targeted shockwaves that feel like the “loudest thing you’ve ever heard just blew through your chest.”
Did anything make you say “Man, what the hell?” this week? Perhaps out loud to a roommate, loved one, or disinterested household pet/plant? Misery loves company, so share your personal what the hells in the comments below! And don’t forget to submit your Man, What The Hell? suggestions for next week to our dedicated inbox of horrors: firstname.lastname@example.org