Out With The Malarky, Out With The Flimflam, In With Not Thinking About Politics 24/7/365/Infinity.
Good morning, poppets! It’s Friday and I am looking forward to a weekend of cleaning and hiking and sleeping and not wondering whether or not the occupant of the Oval Office is going to suddenly rescind citizenships because he’s in a mood, and other terribly exciting and normal adventures.
Seriously folks, I started this Missive in 2015 partly in response to Trump’s entrance onto the presidential political scene and my brain going “UH, THAR BE AUTHORITARIAN TENDENCIES”, so what are we going to talk about now?
We all know that the societal lies and rot that spurred a mob to storm the Capitol with confederate flags two weeks ago didn’t just magically disappear when President Biden took the oath, and that we’ve got years of self-reflection and hard work to undo the damage we’ve incurred over the last four years and beyond. But maybe I’ll have the mental space to send more cute animal stories, like this “rambunctious” pet goat lost in Alberta (thx Mum).
So what do you all want to hear from me? Part of the joy of sitting down every morning with a coffee and writing this is talking to you - so what do you want to read? Let me know.
ANYHOO, here’s what’s on my Kindle this weekend:
John Dickerson, Boring is Better (The Atlantic) - Anyone familiar with toxic or emotionally volatile relationships understands the dopamine rush that comes from the ups and downs of toxic people, of the addictive attachment forged when you never know whether you’ll wake up loved or ignored. Friends, we’re addicted to the randomness of our political moment, not unlike the “Skinner box” rat feeding study of predictable vs. unpredictable food delivery systems. I cannot wait for the moment I realize I’ve gone a whole day without thinking about the executive branch of the U.S. federal government. I crave not fearing the shenanigans of some undersecretary at DHS, and I yearn to have no freaking clue who is in charge of the OMB. In this piece, we stan John Dickerson’s encyclopedic knowledge of presidential history and normalcy, and this subhead says what we’re all craving: “Biden must prioritize science and durable facts over flimflam.”
Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, Some QAnon followers lose hope after inauguration (NBC News) - It can be easy to mock those who truly believed that Trump would retain monarch-like power and execute his enemies. But this piece, and the one below, recognizes that if YOU actually thought that an about-to-be-sworn-in president was there illegally, that there was a conspiracy of child abuse only one man could save us from, discovering on Wednesday that it was a hoax would be devastating and destabilizing. And frankly, that leaves us in an even more precarious position.
Charlie Warzel, How to Talk to Friends and Family Who Share Conspiracy Theories (The New York Times) - Related to the above, this is a piece from October but it was helpful for me in understanding just how total the mindset of conspiracy is for so many, and why it is so hard to get through to them.
Claire Fallon, ‘Bridgerton’ Isn’t Bad Austen — It’s An Entirely Different Genre (HuffPost) - Yes, I devoured Bridgerton. Yes, I am so glad there will be a second season. No, I don’t care that it’s not historically accurate, or high-brow, or serious. It’s sumptuous, sexy and gorgeous-dressed romantic escapism in this horribly hard time, and I am here for it (and, btw, so are at least 75 percent of the cis straight women I know, if the vast number of times I was sternly told to watch it by friends and colleagues is any indication.)
Anne T. Donahue, The unparalleled, decade-defining chaos of the 2001 Super Bowl halftime show (CBC) - Gather ‘round, ye youngins, and let us tell you the tale of the late 90s-early aughts a.k.a. my end of high school into college formative years. It was a weird and overwhelming time to be a young woman in, with, as Donahue states, “a mish-mash of "everything ever, all at once”.” If you want to understand your Elder Millennial brethren (or bosses) a wee bit better, this piece is great.
That’s it, that’s all. Be kind to each other, wear your mask, and get some rest, why don’t you?