If Ryan and McConnell tried to remain boxed off from the earthquake, Priebus occupied another shelter, constructed of talking-point armor, alternate reality and denial.
Leibovich, M. (2016, June 21). Will Trump Swallow the G.O.P. Whole? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/magazine/will-trump-swallow-the-gop-whole.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
Pre-outraged for Your Convenience
Now. What have I done wrong today? What did I just do wrong up there? This is the Internet, after all, and for those people who come pre-outraged for your convenience, there’s much that requires frant-O-type fulminations about other people’s innumerable deficiencies. I’m sure I should GET A GRIP and I’m sure I need to be told that NO ONE CARES LOL and it’s quite certain that a very, very motivated Steve Martin fan is angry that I criticized him in a dream, because his sense of self is bound up with a college identity that included enjoying “Let’s Get Small,” and attacking the work is an attack on him, and his critical faculties.
Someone is mad because their dog died after it ate chocolate, and THAT’S NOT FUNNY. I didn’t say it was. I just said I was worried about the dog in my dream. I had a lady yell at me in the grocery store for writing “I almost had a heart attack” in a column” because her husband had just had a heart attack and THAT’S NOT FUNNY.
There are civil places. But the miserable bitchery of the comments in sites that have no particular reason to exist other than barfing out clickbait chum into the canals – it’s just extraordinary, and Facebook is the tool that lets people wander in to any site and pop off.
The Internet didn’t change people. People changed the internet. We always thought it would empower everyone to have a voice, but those were the early heady days. As it turned out, we underestimated the extent to which self-righteousness, ignorance, historical illiteracy, and the utter confidence of perpetually adolescent brains would form a free-floating thundercloud of perpetual contempt. We all know this. In some way I think we all hate the internet.
Lileks, J. (2016, June 23). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/16/0616/062316.html
Safety of Obscurity
Ironically the vagueness of abstract words is one reason for their popularity. It is harder to be precise. We are often tempted to prefer the safer obscurity of the abstract.
Prowriting Aid User Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2016, from p. 51 https://prowritingaid.com/docs/ProWritingAidManual.pdf
Watch the Claw
When you follow all the Hot Issues of the Day Everyone Is Furious About, you’re looking the scorpion in the eye, thinking you can glare him down with your indignation. Big mistake. Watch the claw. Beware the tail.
Lileks, J. (2016, November 10). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://www.lileks.com/bleats//archive/16/1116/111016.html
Guliani is like those things that leap out of people chests in the Alien movies. Gingrich, Christy, Bannon, Ailes, are all like characters in the bar scene in Star Wars. The First Family are like robots programmed for monarcho-fascism. So, put a bunch of paranoid crackpots, oligarchs-in-waiting and desperate has-beens in a gilded palace to divvy up unimaginable power, and place at the center a terrified, clueless, instinctively cruel narcissist who never dreamed in his worst nightmares that he would be in such an impossible position, what could go right?
(2016, November 15). Re: Why Rudy Giuliani Shouldn’t Be Secretary of State. Editorial. [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/opinion/why-rudy-giuliani-shouldnt-be-secretary-of-state.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region
When the fall of the United States is written about by future historians, the Internet will figure prominently in the postmortem. The time of the slow, deliberate spread of information is over. There is no filter, nothing to confirm or verify reports, nothing to prevent people from seeking out and occupying a narrow silo of information that merely amplifies their foolish beliefs.
No one in prior decades would have taken a rifle to a pizza shop based on a column in The Times. All the poisons that lurk in the mud are hatching out, courtesy of your local ISP.
Krugman, P. (2016, December 19). How Republics End. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/opinion/how-republics-end.html?action=click&contentCollection=World&module=Trending&version=Full®ion=Marginalia&pgtype=article
Don’t Try to Make It Funny
Mr. Wilder’s rule for comedy was simple: Don’t try to make it funny; try to make it real. “I’m an actor, not a clown,” he said more than once.
Lewis, D. (2016, August 29). Gene Wilder Dies at 83; Star of “Willy Wonka” and “Young Frankenstein.” Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/30/movies/gene-wilder-dead.html
You’ve made just enough safe choices to stay alive but not enough to matter. Is that what you want? You can be more. You want to be more, don’t you?
The window of opportunity is closing. This is your chance. This is not about not losing. This is about you finally having the confidence to walk out on the ledge and know that you’re not going to fall.
Halt and Catch Fire. Directed by Juan José Campanella, performance by Lee Pace, AMC. June 1, 2014. Amazon Prime, https://www.amazon.com/I-O/dp/B00KCXIHJG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1498408932&sr=8-2&keywords=halt+and+catch+fire+season+1
Many reporters are using the term “populist,” which seems both inadequate and misleading. I guess racism can be considered populist in the sense that it represents the views of some non-elite people. But are the other shared features of this movement — addiction to conspiracy theories, indifference to the rule of law, a penchant for punishing critics — really captured by the “populist” label?
Krugman, P. (2016, December 23). Populism, Real and Phony. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/opinion/populism-real-and-phony.html?action=click&contentCollection=Travel&module=Trending&version=Full®ion=Marginalia&pgtype=article
Contempt and Dim Prospects
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, whose 2012 “Twilight of the Elites” called for rethinking the entire ethos of liberal “meritocracy” — a system, he argued, that tends to fuel self-congratulation and incompetence at the top while offering little but contempt and dim prospects for those at the bottom.
Gage, B. (2017, January 3). How “Elites” Became One of the Nastiest Epithets in American Politics. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/03/magazine/how-elites-became-one-of-the-nastiest-epithets-in-american-politics.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=mini-moth®ion=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below
Indeed, researchers said, people who have insecure attachment models tend to be drawn to those who fit their expectations, even if they are treated badly. They may subconsciously act in ways that elicit insensitive, unreliable or abusive behavior, whatever is most familiar. Or they may flee secure attachments because they feel unfamiliar.
Murphy, K. (2017, January 7). Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/opinion/sunday/yes-its-your-parents-fault.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0
You’d find that Lady Luck was really a hooker, and you were fresh out of cash.
Max Payne. Dir. Sam Lake. Remedy Entertainment, 2001. Video Game.