[We haven’t heard from you in a while. Have you been overtaxing your dogged little mind, busily cogitating over the abstruse implications of Tuesday’s elections?]
Something like that, my exalted Editor-in-Chief. I didn’t want to write a response before the results were known to the public, or that portion of the public that isn’t completely comatose. As you may recall, I have a serious issue with this culture of the “quick hit” and the “immediate reaction”. One of the many reasons we are in this mess is because we spent such little time in thought. If this were a society based on some notion of functional intelligence, then almost everyone you see on cable news would be unemployed—and of those who would keep the jobs they currently have, none of them would speak until several days after the bloody midterms.
[You consumed some of the news media’s commentary, then?]
Yeah, mostly that of Fox. I believe very strongly in knowing thy enemy, which is one of the reasons I always read Pat Buchanan’s columns when I still a regular recipient of the Laconia Daily Sun. I still read him when I get the chance, but as of late, I’ve taken a greater interest in Jonah Goldberg and George Will—not that I consider either of the latter men my enemy, but just as an aside. Now, back to Fox: I made sure to watch Sean Hannity’s opening monologue on Wednesday, and I was a little uncomfortable with his attempt to depict the midterms as some kind of unmitigated success for the President.
[President Trump said the same thing. How, may I ask, have they come to that conclusion?]
At the height of the Kavanaugh hearings, Sam Harris said we have diminished “the quality of our lying” in the Trumpish age. Something I have noticed about Trump’s style of deceit is that he very rarely leaves himself vulnerable to accusations of outright mendacity. Usually, he gives himself just enough wiggle room to muddy the waters—or, barring that, to claim plausible deniability.
Continue reading “Midterms Post-Mortem; Plausible Deniability; Curious Counterbalance; “A Disgrace to Democracy”; Hannity Makes a Point; Underrated Democratic Victories; McSally Out of Bounds; Tallying Up Tlaib”
When I read the invitation, I thought I was going out for pizza. I can’t read the name, or the word, Brookside without immediately recalling Brookside Pizza, one of our many competitors back when I was a delivery boy for Gilford House of Pizza. Those halcyon days are over, and with them, most of my knowledge of the Gilford-Laconia roadways—but with them, not every mental association forged. All of which is to say, in the most prolix style, that I was actually heading for the Brookside Congregational Church in Manchester, whereat would be a rally starring Senator Bernie Sanders.
[You haven’t attended a political rally in years. How long has it been?]
Not as long as that, not even close. I went to the March for Our Lives demonstration in March, and I saw Trump in Manchester, on the other side of Elm Street, on the eve of the election in 2016.
[All right, so you didn’t have too much rust to burn. Still, I remember how prolific your viewership was in 2011—]
That was a different time, as well as a different place: I was living in Laconia, a city so small that it doesn’t even deserve the designation of a city, and so small, in any case, that it was hard not to know about every campaign stop made by the various candidates. And even so, I witnessed only three in Laconia during that time. You make it sound like I was a guest of honor at Herman Cain’s house.
[Regardless, you consumed so much political media at the time that you were physically ill by the end of the game. Do you even remember anything from the first week of November 2012?]
Continue reading “Bernie Goes to Brookside”
[So, the midterms are just around the corner. Are you feeling cautiously optimistic, or incurably depressed?]
If those are my only options, I’m incurably depressed. All of the positive energy I felt in August—
[Excuse me? You are capable of feeling positive energy? And towards something as grueling as a political vote, no less?]
Apparently so. I’ll admit it: I was truly interested in forcing a changing of the guard in the House of Representatives—not because I was enchanted with anything proposed by the Democratic Party, but because I have grown repulsively fatigued with the melodrama rolling out of Washington each day. This political culture needs a change of scenery, almost as badly as New Hampshire needs a day without rain.
Continue reading “Midterm Depression, Twelve-Point Advantage, Responsibly Urbane New Hampshirites, Not Just White People Like Trump, Democratic Impasse, Fear What Happens Next”
There is a time to read and a time to write. The latter is upon us. I have denied this for as long as I could—not because I fear or dread the act of writing, but because I feel so sickened with guilt every time I put my books aside. The good news is that my current task, A People’s History of the United States, can be halted at the end of any chapter, and recommenced without significant trouble.
[Why are you convinced that this is the time to write? Or, perhaps more accurately: why are you convinced that now is not the time to read?]
Because the act of reading has become so bloody painful. A People’s History is not laden in the least; it is actually one of the most accessible works of political analysis you will ever find, hence the frustration in my struggle to read it. I had set myself a goal to finish the book by Monday, but I’m only one-third of the way through it.
[Are you struggling relative to the standards of performance you set for yourself, or do you find yourself struggling, period?]
Unfortunately, I’m just struggling. It happens to me sometimes. If I read too much, too quickly, I burn myself out, and my mind just shuts down. It refuses to accept any more text. People think it can’t happen, but it can: have you ever exercised excessively, at which point your body responds with aches and pains, thereby preventing any more exertion?
Continue reading “Overdosing on Books”
I’m having the worst anxiety.
All of the reading I’ve been doing as of late. At the end of every paragraph, I’m compelled to write a response, to describe how this observation, made however many years ago initially, is germane to something that is happening today.
[That, of course, was your intention when you committed to reading only that political literature which was published prior to the year 2008. Why, then, do you complain about your, shall we say, fecundity of response?]
Because there’s never enough time in the day to respond to all of it. I feel as though I’m constantly racing against time, battling to get the words out before I lose the thought.
[If you are truly in such danger of forgetting that which you wish to say, then is it fair to question the pertinence, the urgency, of whatever it is you would?]
Jeez, you make it sound like I’m annihilating my mind with alcohol, or something. What I meant to say is that, by the time I get to the next paragraph, a new idea comes to mind and hogs the mental spotlight from its predecessor. I wish I had more time to read and write, more time to focus on the things I’m reading, and more time to draft a more detailed reply.
Continue reading “A Glut of Ideas, Bad English Translations, the Tea Party Redefined, Pitchfork Populism, “It Can’t Happen Here””