Gorka saw his own efforts to protect the United States from radical Islamic terrorism thwarted as the establishment rallied, like a body battling an infection, and expelled the outsiders.For Gorka, a European-born counterterrorism expert, November 8 was like a scene from Red Dawn. The MAGA team was a scrappy bunch of insurgents who won despite overwhelming odds. …Politically fueled accusations abound about Gorka’s background, his loyalties and his qualifications. It’s hard to see through all the partisan mudslinging, but we sat down with the controversial figure and got to know him as a man with an affinity for fine cigars and 7.62mm projectiles, and most important, a deep love of the Second Amendment.
Beyond his sartorial choices, Gorka was widely mocked for his “everyday carry,” which includes two guns, a tourniquet that he can deploy with one hand, and a pocket copy of the Constitution. Naturally, Gorka himself attributed the mockery to “beta-males and progressives.” Over at Task and Purpose, however, Frances Horton does a fine job deconstructing Gorka’s “man-flair.” Like, for example, the two guns:
Two guns. Not even two guns of the same brand. NOT EVEN TWO GUNS THAT SHOOT THE SAME ROUND. The Glock 29 is a 10mm pistol and the Smith is a 9mm. I suppose I can get behind carrying two guns if you anticipate a lot of shootouts, somewhat raising your odds of one gun spontaneously breaking mid-shootout. I mean, I guess you can’t trust only the gun taped to your back in the event that Hans Gruber has you cornered in Nakatomi Plaza and took your machine gun. Or just the gun stuffed in the ankle holster for you to pull out on your captor while you surreptitiously tie your shoe. I don’t really know. I don’t have hero fantasies. …First off, don’t carry two guns. Or one gun, really. Especially when you’re a dude who works in Washington, where concealed carry is currently not legal.
As much fun as it is to point out Gorka’s massive inadequacy issues, the whole concept of the everyday carry (EDC) is what fascinated me. As Horton observes: “There are myriad places on the internet, including an r/EDC subreddit, dedicated to showing off and parsing people’s EDCs. Some can be pretty interesting. What does a medical student carry every day? How about a city firefighter?”
What about an academic aspiring to be a public intellectual? I am glad you asked! In the interest of opening up a window to how Spoiler Alerts goes about its day in 2017, here is a partial rundown of my EDC.
1. Pants. This being 2017, I feel it is important to point out how useful a nice pair of pants are to my everyday life. There is nothing like a functional, aesthetically appropriate set of trousers that are kept on for the entire work day. The great thing about men’s pants is that they have pockets that can carry almost all of my EDC. I recommend never taking off one’s pants at work, for any reason whatsoever. I highly recommend keeping those trousers on whenever one has to invite a colleague into one’s office.
I wear pants to work every day, and I have never regretted that decision. In the summer, when I am not teaching, I will switch to cargo shorts, for reasons enumerated here. But seriously: Wear pants. It’s an important part of most people’s EDC, and it just might help you keep your job.
2. The Bic Four-Color Pen, Medium Ballpoint. I take a lot of notes, and if I do not mark up what I have read, over time it will be as though I have not read it. Having four colors is a great way to prioritize one’s notes.
3. Something to read. Reading long articles on my phone is aggravating. Anytime I am out and about and know I might be facing some down time, I make sure I bring an actual hard copy of a book or article to read. Reading something longer than a tweet is an excellent way to focus the mind.
4) Burt’s Bees lip balm. If a television producer wants you to opine on the events of the day, the last thing you want is chapped lips. I used to rely on Chapstick, but this is one area where it is worth it to splurge a little.
5) Cash. I am sure that in some societies, carrying two guns and a tourniquet is common sense. I live in a society with a functioning Constitution and declining rates of property crime, however, so I feel like those accoutrements are unnecessary.
Cash, on the other hand, is not. It is the most liquid form of money, and is just a fantastic way to procure goods and services. My Fletcher School colleague Bhaskar Chakravorti has spearheaded some excellent research about the persistent use of cash, even in a 21st-century economy. Holding cash can be costly, particularly for the poor. Nonetheless, his conclusion is straightfoward: “Cash will likely become less popular, thanks to the high cost of using cash and the growing array of alternatives. But I expect it will remain with us forever. The future will be ‘less cash,’ rather than cashless.”
It’s not the sexiest EDC. No guns. No Chiclets. But there are pants. And, to repeat, in 2017, I think that might be the most important component of any man’s EDC.