Things I’m Reading This Week

Local Elections, Things I'm Reading

In a world of soundbites and social media and headlines you don’t even click on (guilty sometimes), I’ve fallen in love with longform journalism. Or as it used to be called: just journalism. I’m that annoying person who will read the entire Mother Jones article, leaving it up in a tab until dammit, I’ve finished the thing! I read a lot of stuff online, and then share it on Facebook when I love it, but then I thought to myself…self, I have a blog. Again. Why not have a curated list of articles I’ve read worthy of your full, longform attention? So maybe this will be a Thing. Or not, my brain can be fickle like that. If you like it, I’ll keep doing it. I am not above being bribed by flattery and eyeballs.

Basically I just am saving this post as a draft until the end of the week, adding things as I read them.

You Wouldn’t Like Her When She’s Angry

Oh boy did this piece from the NYTimes resonate. Do you have any idea how often I’ve been called “angry” by detractors (often older white men) who didn’t like this blog?

I struggle to think of women who lost their tempers in public and didn’t face ridicule, temporary ruin, or both. And we don’t even have to be angry to be called angry. Accusations of being an “angry black woman” chased Michelle Obama throughout her tenure at the White House, despite eight years of unflappable poise (black women suffer disproportionately under this paradigm). The decades-long smearing of Hillary Clinton as an unhinged shrew culminated one year ago today when, despite maintaining a preternatural calm throughout the most brutal campaign in living memory, she lost the election to masculinity’s apoplectic id.

This isn’t even longform as long forms go. Go read it.

Post Referendum Post Mortem

If you like to torture yourself with examining the debate that led you here, and boy do I! then this is a very interesting, detailed take from Downtown supporter Stephan Anstey on what went wrong for Cawley supporters. It meshes with my less-involved, tangentially-collected anecdata, so make what you will of it.

Here’s one big problem they faced — asking the question, “Isn’t new always better than renovated” in the city of Lowell is going to get you a big fat “NO!” from a large majority of the citizens. In fact, one of the biggest regrets in our city’s recent past is that we tore down so many of our boarding houses and other historic buildings. This was a huge part of why their movement failed. For the last 3 decades, we’ve rebuilt our city into a model other cities study and try to emulate — not by building all new buildings, but by renovating and preserving our old buildings. Hard to seel ‘new is better’ to a population that KNOWS it’s not.

This Is What (Identity) Democracy Looks Like

This past Tuesday wasn’t just a backlash against sexist, racist, homophobic politics. The winning liberals were a virtual rainbow of race, color, sex, gender identity and background, who created a lot of firsts across the country. So much for admonishing the left on focusing too much on identity politics—the lesson here is, we should have more of that yummy intersectionality please. Here is a pretty comprehensive list of those firsts.

Is It the Economy, Stupid?

Not to be really depressing, but there is no reaching some people. You’ve probably seen the Politico article on die-hard Trump supporters already, but if not you should read it, if only for the anthropology.

I don’t care how much you try to address their economic situation…they are not persuadable voters, no matter what the Trump-country-obsessed media says.

Schilling looked at her husband, Dave McCabe, who’s 67 and a retired high school basketball coach. She nodded at me. “Tell him,” she said to McCabe, “what you said the NFL is …”

McCabe looked momentarily wary. He laughed a little. “I don’t remember saying that,” he said unconvincingly.

Schilling was having none of it. “You’re the one that told me, liar,” she said.

She looked at me.

The NFL?

“Ni**ers for life,” Schilling said.

“For life,” McCabe added.

Can’t Convert the Cult

Vox has an article saying what I’ve been saying for eons. All this media interest in going into Trump country and seeing if any of them have changed their hearts and minds in the interim is an interesting study in authoritarian follower personalities. But you don’t need to convert the nonconvertible to win elections, so stop telling us that’s what’s stopping the Dems from winning stuff.

Here’s the thing: No one will win in 2018 or 2020 by trying to convert the most hardcore of Trump supporters. That isn’t how elections are won. It never has been: Herbert Hoover, in the depths of the Great Depression, held about 80 percent of his vote from the previous election. You can imagine stories going deep into Hoover country quoting diehard Hooverites explaining away their president’s failures. But Hoover still lost his reelection bid in a landslide.

 

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