How to Resist Trump

We’re already one twelfth of the way through Trump’s first term, and what a memorable four months it’s been! The assaults on our rights, dignity, sanity and basic survival have been unrelenting, and while left-leaning Americans have been passionate in our desire to resist, we can’t do it alone. We need an authoritative voice—a trustworthy leader to rally around, and to keep the fires of dissent burning. Over and over, the Times has promised to be that voice. In a series of ads, the paper of record positioned itself as a lone defender of truth, an entity which is “hard,” yet “more important now than ever.” And their editorial board has called on Americans to fight “a reckless, unqualified leader” through “activism.”

The truth is hard, and so am I. (Talking about my quads, folks.)

But what exactly does that involve? How would the Paper of Record have us manifest our outrage and passion for justice? Below, some suggestions culled from its pages. Continue reading “How to Resist Trump”

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How To Be Out of Touch

Weeks away from the election, anxiety stalks the land. Americans are broke, worried about their futures, deluged on an hourly basis with bizarre and surreal news items. How to cope with this national mood is a tricky question for a newspaper: When your mission statement calls for remaining sober and rational, how do you respond to outrage and hysteria? Can the Times interpret events in a way that connects with today’s cynical, weary readers?  Let’s find out by looking at some examples.   Below is the opening salvo from a recent op/ed attempting to articulate what it all means:

Over decades of writing about politics, I’ve crossed paths with many candidates and office holders who impressed me, but few who blew me away. Chris Christie blew me away.

Yes, that’s Frank Bruni, at one of whose columns you could throw a dart from 50 paces and hit a passage this dumb, and no, they’re not really trying.  Below, I examine two closely related lines of argument with which Times writers evade the task of coming up with substantive takes on our current historical moment: It’s Not Fair to the Nice Republicans and It’s All the Democrats’ Fault for Not Being Centrist Enough.

Continue reading “How To Be Out of Touch”

Can David Brooks Learn from History?: David Brooks Is an Idiot, Part IV

In the time since I last discussed David Brooks, a lot has changed.  Brooks’ main identifying trait as a “thinker” has always been that he maintained the same bland pretense of evenhandedness no matter what he was discussinga trait well-adapted, perhaps, to a world we could at least pretend was sane. The zeitgeist has shifted, and that world no longer exists. If we’re all going to get nuked tomorrow by a reality TV star, should we still spend most of our time hand-wringing about civility? When your personal brand is premised on being the sane guy, and all around you is going mad, do you go mad too?

Continue reading “Can David Brooks Learn from History?: David Brooks Is an Idiot, Part IV”