CULTURE

I Hate the Way Pete Buttigieg Kisses His Poor Husband

One small step for gay rights, one giant leap for awkwardness.

With the botched Iowa caucuses and the many inaccuracies of Trump's State of the Union address, it's safe to say this week in politics has been particularly chaotic.

Above all, there's one bit of candidate-related information that has me especially disturbed. It's a photo of Pete Buttigieg kissing his husband. I know there are a multitude of issues that should warrant my concern—like, why are we using untested mobile apps during one of the most important primary elections in American history?—but take a look for yourself, and maybe you'll understand why this graceless smooch has me losing sleep.

Don't get me wrong: It's absolutely incredible that, fewer than five years after gay marriage was legalized nationwide, a quite popular presidential candidate is able to freely and safely kiss his husband in public without risking major loss in support (except for this very stupid lady who wanted to rescind her vote for Buttigieg after learning he has a same-sex partner). What perturbs me about it is the sheer awkwardness of the kiss and the fact that their mouths don't even touch. Sure, maybe they were just trying to play it safe—you know, in regards to the notably homophobic administration we're living under—but it looks like they just straight-up missed. This is how the actors playing Maria and Captain Von Trapp in my middle school production of The Sound of Music stage kissed. This is how sexless 80-year-olds kiss. This is not how a 38-year-old who's been married for fewer than two years should kiss.

But then again, are we shocked? Buttigieg is notably inelegant, from his slightly uncomfortable paraphrasing of Lizzo to his absolutely unsightly method of eating a cinnamon bun. Not chicken wings. A cinnamon bun.

At least Mayor Pete seems happy in his marriage, however perplexing it may appear.

CULTURE

10 Failed Launches More Embarrassing Than the Iowa Caucus App

Primary season is off to a rocky start, but the Democrats have a lot of competition for awful launches

Political junkies went to bed Monday night with reports of delayed results out of the Iowa caucuses, expecting that the mess would be cleared up by morning.

Those expectations were sadly mistaken, and Tuesday morning came and went with no sign of an official delegate count forthcoming. Most sources are pointing to a faulty app developed for the Iowa Democratic Party by a shadowy organization known as...Shadow Inc, because our reality has been undergoing a writer's strike since 2016. Shadow Inc. is run by some alums from Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign—because we are never allowed to forget Hillary Clinton—and associated with the non-profit organization ACRONYM, which doesn't stand for anything (again, writers strike) but is committed to "building tech infrastructure for the progressive movement."

Intended to make result tabulation fast and simple, replacing the traditional phone-in system, the app was developed in just the past few months. The quick development time was apparently streamlined by just skipping over the debugging step to have it "ready" in time for its dramatic premier. As a result, the caucus process was soon overwhelmed by technical issues as party officials struggled with crashes and inconsistencies that left them with no choice but to rely on the old-fashioned tallying and the paper trail kept as a backup.

Meanwhile, multiple campaigns are already reporting their internal results—with Sanders in the lead and Buttigieg not far behind—and the world is largely moving on from the mess with little real consequence beyond the renewed and unifying awareness of the incompetent management within the Democratic Party—even President Trump came through with one of his rare correct takes.

But it's worth keeping in mind that the Democrats are not alone in this. The history of disastrous failed launches is long and glorious, and these are but a few highlights.

Healthcare.gov

healthcare.gov

Okay, the Democrats aren't alone, but this also isn't their first foray into launch failure. When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, contractors were brought on to develop the website based on obsolete criteria and with little oversight, resulting in code that was full of placeholder text and a system that crashed almost immediately. Only six people were able to use the system to actually select an insurance plan on Healthcare.gov's first day. After two months of cleanup, the website was largely usable, but the trash-fire of the launch still resulted in the resignation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and a congressional investigation into the whole mess.

Trump Steaks

trump steaks

Just to be fair, it's worth taking a look across the aisle at probably the only time in Donald Trump's life when he made a bad business decision. Trump Steaks was a branded effort to sell middling quality steaks at a steep mark-up using the image of a man who like his meat served well-done with a heavy dose of ketchup. Billed as "The World's Greatest Steaks," Trump Steaks were sold on QVC and through the Sharper Image Catalog in 2007. Strangely, consumers didn't seem excited to buy overpriced beef from the same services that sell commemorative coins and dog waste vacuums. Both companies stopped featuring the steaks within a few months, and the trademark expired in 2014. Of course, that's just one failure. Probably a fluke.

Windows Vista

Windows Vista

After five years of Windows XP, the numerous vulnerabilities in Microsoft's operating system were causing frequent issues with viruses and malware, and people were excited for an upgrade. Windows Vista was not that. Released in 2006, the clunky user interface, compatibility issues, and frustrating security measures led to hardware companies reverting back to XP. Nonetheless, hundreds of millions of windows users ended up stuck with Vista until Microsoft rushed to release Windows 7 three years later.

GoTrump.com

gotrump.com

Oh, hey, looks like Trump may have made another slight miscalculation here, trying to establish his own branded travel-booking site. The site launched in 2006, promising to lend Donald Trump's famed deal-making skills to your travel booking, with the tagline "The art of the travel deal." Trump predicted that the website would be a "tremendous success." It ceased operation in 2007. Oops. Still, two mistakes ins't bad. Definitely not a pattern.

LaserDisc

laserdisc

LaserDiscs were basically giant CDs with movies on them. Introduced in 1978, they delivered higher quality images than VHS before the invention of DVDs, but they were also about the size of a vinyl record but much more delicate and they weighed about half a pound. The discs could only hold about an hour of video on each side, so they had to be flipped over halfway through a feature film, and the huge, expensive players also produced a lot of noise getting the discs up to speed. Needless to say, the promise of high-quality video at home was not quite worth the numerous downsides, and Laserdiscs never really caught on.

Next Page
CULTURE

You Don't Have to Like Him: Joe Rogan's Endorsement of Bernie Sanders Is Still a Good Thing

More than any other candidate in the presidential race, Bernie Sanders' base is actually intersectional.

The Joe Rogan Experience

As if the recent Warren-Sanders feud wasn't already threatening progressive politics enough, Leftist Twitter is now actively self-cannibalizing over controversial podcast host Joe Rogan's endorsement of Bernie Sanders.

Or, more specifically, a lot of people seem to be mad because Sanders actively accepted Rogan's endorsement, cutting together a campaign spot on Twitter featuring Rogan's support.

But to any leftist upset about Bernie Sanders jumping on Rogan's endorsement, especially those who want to see Bernie Sanders win the nomination, please keep in mind: You're missing the forest for the trees.

There's a reason that mainstream media companies like The New York Times support Elizabeth Warren (and Amy Klobuchar) over Bernie Sanders. It's because Sanders' staunchly pro-worker policies like Universal Healthcare and actual fair taxes for billionaires challenge the capitalist, majority-white hegemony (which the owners of every major media company benefit from) far more than any other candidate. It's the same reason that the majority of non-white voters and millennial (and younger) voters do support Sanders.

Bernie Sanders' movement has always been grassroots in nature, and for a grassroots movement to succeed on a large scale it needs all the individual support it can get––after all, the establishment actively wants Sanders to lose. So what does that mean, practically?

It means that if a problematic podcast host with tens of millions of monthly listeners (many of whom are apolitical, centrist, or right-leaning) publicly endorses Bernie Sanders, then we can both dislike said podcast host on a personal level and recognize that bringing such a base into Sanders' orbit is objectively a good thing for Sanders' electability.

In fact, one of the most common critiques of the Sanders campaign by neo-liberals revolves around how his ideas are far too unrealistic (read: leftist) to ever actually work with right-wing people. In this context, one of the establishment's democrats (i.e. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or even Elizabeth Warren) is always presented as the more compromising, viable alternative.

Joe Rogan

Rogan's support of Bernie Sanders completely debunks this argument. To be clear, Joe Rogan is a deeply problematic public figure. On top of his history of transphobic, racist, and sexist comments, Rogan's podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, is considered by many to be a gateway to far-right ideology due to Rogan's willingness to give a wide platform to fringe voices like Milo Yiannopoulos and Jordan Peterson. But then it stands to reason that if Rogan really does have the ears of a massive potentially right-leaning demographic, then his support of Sanders has the potential to draw in people who genuinely might otherwise vote for Trump––which is way more than anyone could say about a The New York Times endorsement.

Contrary to what seems to be a popular viewpoint on Twitter, you do not need to like or agree with all of your preferred candidate's supporters. Even if you actively dislike a large chunk of Bernie supporters (which is perfectly valid), we need to recognize that nothing will ever actually get better if we can't band together long enough to get a candidate with progressive policies into office.

Most importantly, Sanders didn't need to move any of his policies to the right in any capacity to gain Rogan's support. Sanders has remained consistent in his ideology throughout his entire career––it just so happens that his ideas truly hold the most benefit for the widest spectrum of American people. More than any other candidate in the presidential race, Bernie Sanders' base is actually intersectional. You don't need to agree with every Bernie supporter, but it's time for leftists to stop in-fighting and band together for the greater good of everyone.