Things I’m Verbing: Real rhinos, thick skins and great expectations

Happy Saturday! It’s the weekend! Sure is nice to kick back and do some reading, right?

Totally, totally. So, it’s all good stuff, I’m sure: great journalism, considered research, thorough analysis of the state of the world, a new way of looking at things, cause for… op… cause for…

…well, okay, I guess that was too much to ask. (And yes, you should click all those links, they’re pretty staggering.) It might get worse before it gets better, but there are at least some signs that it could get better.

  • I’m still thinking about Charles Pierce’s Esquire indictment of the potential Trump voter. “This Isn’t Funny Anymore. American Democracy Is at Stake” is the much angrier version of the Washington Post editorial board’s remarkable full-page op-ed “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy.”
    • Two interesting — not counterpoints, but thoughts on anger as political discourse. Laurie Penny’s “I’m With the Banned” is about noxious alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos, who like all trolls sees rage as victory. I also can’t stop thinking about Invisibilia’s recent episode on complementary behavior — specifically, on how treating alienated young men with kindness rather than authoritarian condemnation kept them from joining ISIS. I don’t know what can be done about the current of selfish, racist, nationalist, nativist, xenophobic anger that Trump is riding, but I want to believe this can inform some kind of response.
  • All that said, we did get one actual bright spot this week: Jon Stewart came home, and oh boy, he’s still got it.
  • It’s easy to rend our hair about the Republican candidate — goodness knows he gives us plenty of cause. But I’m trying to remind myself that our alternatives are actually quite good. Cases in point:
    • I finally read Ezra Klein’s long piece “Understanding Hillary,” about the gap in her approval ratings between when she’s running for office and when she’s actually doing a job. I’ve long been a Hillary skeptic, if for no other reason than dynastic politics are no better when it’s spouses rather than sons, but I found this really illuminating and encouraging, even as it’s honest about her very real faults.
    • The knee-jerk liberal narrative about Tim Kaine, her vice-presidential pick, is that he’s a boring white guy on a ticket that could have been transformative. But I’m hearing different from a number of Virginians, including Krystal Ball, whose “The Progressive Case for Tim Kaine” includes this line, for those of us who balked at his record on reproductive freedom: “Kaine doesn’t want to control my body and I don’t want to control his mind, so we’re all good there.”
  • More to the point, the New York Times Magazine cover story this week is a fascinating and, dare I say it, hopeful look at the economic progressives whose message is becoming more and more central to the Democratic national ticket. “Could Hillary
    Clinton Become the Champion of the 99 Percent?” Felicia Joy Wong, the president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, thinks so.
  • We deserve something nice after all this week’s sturm und drang. Have this baby rhino. Oh, and also:

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s