Weekend Links

“In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” 
― Carl Sagan

I’m probably going to type this phrase at least thirty more times this year, but it has been a hell of a week, pumpkins…

I’m steering clear of shutdowns and witness tampering in public on the opposite side of the Atlantic, and not touching Brexit. The world is a mess, the media is cutting good journalists and other workers from the very institutions we need most right now, and Ebola cases are rising. There’s a lot to take in and I’m afraid I’m going into the weekend feeling a little moody and grumpy over all.

Cheer me up! Let me know what you’re getting up to in the comments and share a GOOD news story that delighted you this week.

Some shit is going down in Zimbabwe and we need to be following it.

This series of short essays at The Atlantic actually dropped last week but is still worth a review.

This longform piece on human history, DNA, and the complexities of trying to solve the deepest questions of our existence is well worth the time. Our better technology is not exactly uncomplicating the matter.

Quite literally a problem I had never thought of before!

I wrote a piece last week about the confusion I feel over people who align themselves with political movements, the end point of which seem to require their eventual removal from power. It seems dangerously short sighted.  I am equally confused about the point that this piece from the Huffington Post raises: one day Mr. Trump will no longer be president, however and whenever that may be. The Republican party has rebranded itself in his image in record time. What on earth is the plan for when he’s no longer in the Oval Office? He has reduced his political focus to the circa 35% of people who fanboy for him, specifically aggrieved white men, and leaned blatantly into racism and misogyny. While this may be heart-rendingly powerful in the short term, in the long term it is not a winning coalition–the demographics are against you.

This should not be.

And on the back of the previous link, this opinion piece: “Populism of all stripes may be anathema to the billionaire class, but they helped create it.

Tax. The. Rich.

Oh dear

I’ve been craving a longform or profile piece on Senator McConnell lately, to better understand his motivations or endgame. The New York Times came through. It’s a fascinating read, not least of all because of how many connections the Senator is able to call on to speak on his behalf. I dislike much of what he has done, but he is damned effective at his job.

The saga of J. Crew continues.

Oh you KNOW I was going to share this piece. I either want to beg, borrow or steal the MERL’s social media team for my own nefarious work devices.

“I am quite literally from another age,” Attenborough told an audience of business leaders, politicians and other delegates.

This is a concept I will fully and unabashedly stan.

I have been following the #CovingtonCatholic story all week and it’s a mess. The initial images went viral for a reason, the clash of two competing moral positions each staked out with handy props. On one side, while and male America with his MAGA hat, and on the other a champion of identity and narrative politics. Both sides believe they are defending themselves, and they have armies of Twitter eggs on their mutual sides. First the tale was of on the side of the indigenous Elder, then the wronged Good Catholic Boys, and then who even knows. As the story has continued to spin out as it’s been revealed that the children are represented by a PR firm who was aggressively pushing narratives on their behalf (and booking them news slots), further clips of further bad behavior of the sexist and racist variety have surfaced undermining the GCB narrative, and the timeline of events has clarified. In other words, yeah…the kids were behaving in demonstrably racist ways and the initial images probably portrayed the emotional truth. But by this time, the real story is the overcorrections by the media first to cover the story, then to cover the counter stories, and then to mop up the timeline long after the damage was done. The event is a Rorschach test for your political views and we’re long past the point where the facts matter.

I’ll just end by saying that Trayvon Martin didn’t have a PR team. Tamir Rice didn’t have the backing of one of the world’s most powerful religious institutions. Thousands of children have been separate from their parents, made orphans or actually LOST. Meanwhile these Good Catholic Boys are being defended from within the Oval Office and still being positioned as victims of oppression. Spare me. This whole exercise reaffirms the underlying conflict in the initial images that caused this media incident: who is power, and who isn’t? Who is protected and who isn’t? The victimhood narrative does not work when you control all of the levers of power.

Senator Bennett sort of drops the mic

Let’s end on a fun note and an aesthetic I can get behind!

 

ETA: JUST KIDDING. I should never publish Weekend Links early on a Friday in 2019, I truly should know better by now. Excuse the language, but holy shit…lying to Congress is not a “minor charge,” whatever his lawyer may say.

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