Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Social Media and Disinformation Watch #2

Over at Shakesville, I have a new piece up as part of my ongoing series on social media and disinformation. Check it out!

Friday, March 15, 2019

My Very Important Thoughts About Beto

From Twitter:

From the Vanity Fair piece, Beto says he was "born to be in it."

And yes, he's aware that our political system has long been dominated by white men. It seems to trouble him. Just not enough for him to step back and support a woman for the top job, of course.

Meanwhile,"I guess he'll do, 2020."

In all honesty, I know little about Beto other than what I've gleaned from his Wikipedia page and that glossy Vanity Fair profile. I don't actually even hate him, even though it might seem like it.

His run against Ted Cruz in Texas was impressive. I just don't immediately find him inspiring as a candidate for president and a lot of the mania seems to be that he's a shiny, charming, handsome white male face. That will work in his favor, even as the mainstream press acts like it's a "liability" to be a white male Democratic politician these days.

I'm repelled by his talk about how he thinks he'd uniquely be able to work with Republicans, as it seems incredibly naive to think Republican politicians are acting in good faith in the era of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. That talk, of course, could be a strategy to garner support from white Republican voters.


Also, I wasn't a fan of his video, particularly the placement of his wife as a mute, adoring supporter.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Quiet, Revisited

NPR ran a story last week about the song "Quiet," which women performed at the 2017 Women's March and subsequently went viral.

Two years later and I still tear up whenever I hear the song and get chills thinking about my experience at the Women's March. During that first protest, I felt hopeful for the first time since the 2016 election about our capacity to resist and endure Trump's Republican rule, after weeks of profound sadness, anger, and fear.

During these past two years of actually living through it, I've wavered now and then. We continue to live in a moment of both feminist resurgence and deep backlash, as we've done throughout our nation's history. More than ever, I believe that justice will never be a "one and done" thing, but something each generation will have to continually strive for. And, just as important, every gain must be vigilantly protected and never taken for granted.

I desperately want a progressive woman to win the presidency in the United States. I don't know if it will happen in my lifetime, particularly as so many on the left remain just as resentful of "identity politics" and threatened by women's progress as those on the right. I may not see that anytime soon, even in my lifetime, perhaps.

At the same time, we've seen a record number of women in the House of Representatives, as a result of the 2018 mid-term elections. That is no small thing.

Two years ago, I wrote that I had hoped the moderate-to-left side of the political spectrum could unite in their opposition to Trump. I think that has happened in some ways, but not in others. Perhaps this is too much of a generalization but a significant division seems to rest on whether our strategy should be defeating Trump vs. whether we need to defeat Trump and also usher in the socialist revolution at the same time.

The former assumes that it will be enough of a challenge to defeat Trump. The latter assumes that 2020 will be an easy election, so we may as well make the most of it. I have grave doubts about that logic, given the existential threat Trump poses to our democracy.

Fox News essentially acts as the Trump/Republican state media channel, brainwashing millions of rightwing Americans. They are already now hate-obsessed with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and have amped up the socialist fear-mongering now that the mainstream media has anointed Bernie Sanders as the leader of the Democratic Party. I also have serious doubts as to whether the 2020 election will be free and fair. And, even if a Democrat were to win, I question whether Trump would ever concede. Remember, in 2016, he had already primed Americans for drawn-out battle, if he lost, to contest what he was calling an election "rigged" for his opponent.

A lot of this danger seemed more obvious in 2017, as Trump opponents united in staunch opposition to him. Despite whatever internal conflicts we may have had with one another, I think many people were alarmed by the norms he had already violated. What changed? Have Americans become inured and numb to his transgressions? Does the US not look like what they think an authoritarian regime stereotypically looks like? Do people think it hasn't been as bad as they thought it would be? Have people given up on a female president out of fear, and are investing hope in a white male savior? Do they truly think the Democrats are worse, or just simply weak?

I don't know. I remain fearful, angry, hopeful, and inspired.

Friday Feeling: Political Music

Monday, March 11, 2019

Stop Trying To Make "Partisan Prejudice" Happen

What is the moral imperative Americans have to "tolerate" people with with different political views than us, and in what contexts does this imperative extend?

The Atlantic ran a series of pieces last week on the concept of partisan prejudice implicitly arguing that Democrats ought to broadly "tolerate" Republicans in virtually all spheres of life, and vice versa.

It turns out I had some thoughts about these pieces, which I shared today over at Shakesville. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

"You Can't Have It All"

That's the title of a poem, by Barbara Ras, the entirety of which can be read here.  Here's a snippet that I particularly like:

"...[W]hen adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this."

The obvious reading is to be grateful for what we have, because life is impermanent and fleeting. Yet somehow, the poem doesn't lecture us about it. In a way, it simply speaks to perhaps the most basic condition of our existence. You can't have forever, but you can have this moment.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Quote of the Day

So says the Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman, on Bernie Sanders:
"Policy is not everything. Trump has reminded Americans that in the Oval Office, qualities such as restraint, moderation, good humor and flexibility are indispensable. These are not traits generally attributed to Sanders. He brings to mind Winston Churchill’s description of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles as a bull who carries his own china shop around with him."
Working in Bernie's favor, though, is that white men can get away with that shit. What are dealbreaker traits for female politicians - being a cantankerous asshole chief among them - are often seen as strength, authenticity, and charm in old white guys.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Femslash Friday: Broad City - Abslie

Abbi and Dr. Leslie, played by Clea DuVall.

Yes please:

I'm not sure what exactly Leslie is doing for those awkward few seconds when she turns her back on Abbi, other than obviously waiting to be asked out, but it's fuckin' funny.