Things I’m Verbing: Good talkers, bad TV and sweet, sweet Christmas

I’m late to Scandal, and I admit, I’m mostly interested thanks to Josh Malina’s excellent banter and analysis on The West Wing Weekly. I don’t know why I let this happen to me. The show is infuriatingly bad, and yet as long as I can ignore the thoroughly useless White House plots (and the scripts’ hilarious grasp on journalism ethics) and focus on David Rosen’s terrible luck or the weird brother-sister thing between Huck and Quinn or Harrison just being the smoothest, most gorgeous gladiator in the ring… it’s pretty good “let me kill an afternoon so I don’t have to think about the slow heat-death of American democracy” material.

Speaking of:

  • Mike Pence is a very bad man. His policies as governor of Indiana hurt people — specific groups of people. If he won the vice presidential debate on Tuesday night, it was thanks to a Disney film–level ability to wish away the reality of Donald Trump. Slate’s Jamelle Bouie thinks Pence has given us a preview of the GOP after Election Day. That said, Pence and Tim Kaine seem to have gone into the debate with very different goals — and it’s possible that Kaine got just what he wanted.
  • This started off as a tweetstorm (a word I still kind of hate), and I’m glad Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall refined it into a piece, because the @replies were getting very tangled. Don’t skim past “Storm and Menace” for its Tolkienesque headline; this is a clear-eyed piece about why Jews tend to vote liberal, and why we can’t forgive the normalization of antisemitism and other hatreds that this election has become.
  • Meanwhile, totally outside the realm of politics (for once!), something amazing is happening in the world of living Yiddish (yes, it’s still very much a thing): a 21st-century dictionary, especially for those of us who like to shlingen epizodn (“wolf down” TV).
  • I’ve got Timeless and Conviction on my to-watch list at the moment, the former because I’m a sucker for time travel and the latter because I’m a sucker for Hayley Atwell. Jared Keller, writing for Pacific Standard, has more than convinced me to give Designated Survivor a hard pass. I was never a fan of 24, but “post-9/11 pornographic revenge fantasy” doesn’t seem like a thing we as a culture really need.
  • Lucky for me, there’s another option. I keep writing “Luke Cake,” in part because star Mike Colter, have you even seen this guy? (You have. He’s up top. Oh my gosh.) But the MarvelNetflix series Luke Cage, which dropped last week, is shaping up to be a treasure. See, for example, Noah Berlatsky, writing for Quartz: “Luke Cage takes on the ultimate villain: America’s toxic black male stereotypes.”
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