We live in partisan times and our media habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to expand our collective vision with trials beyond the range of our typical selections.
From “Is John Durham deliberately stoking right-wing conspiracy theories?” by David Corn in Mother Jones.
The background, from the author: Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia scandal has turned into a conspiracy theory-generating machine for feverish right-wingers. And his last deposit raises the question of whether this is intentional.
Excerpt: Putting all the allegations and suggestions together – a tech official possibly linked to the Clinton campaign “mining” data linked to the White House and Trump Tower – right-wing journalists have come to a dramatic conclusion: the Clintonites hacked (Donald) Trump at his home (or office) and at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and spied on him. But this leap was based on cyber-ignorance and possibly the misinformation presented by Durham. Searching DNS lookups is not hacking a server. It follows the pattern of connections between servers and computers or smartphones. Much of this information – the DNS logs – is not private.
The context, from the author: Socialists in the United States are stuck. How do you become master of your destiny?
Excerpt: The question we may have to ask ourselves in the years to come is whether some of our actions might accelerate rather than reverse the process of class misalignment. On his journey to the top of Purgatory, Dante was accompanied by the great Roman poet Virgil. As he approached the heights, having faced his many sins, Virgil made his famous remark: “Expect no more word or sign from me…on yourself, I crown you and you miter.” Finally, Dante was master of his destiny. In politics, things are never so orderly. But as one year of marginality drifts into another, it’s increasingly difficult to argue that the fault for the left’s troubles lies with everyone but ourselves.
From “US-born children in China will have to choose between rival superpowers,” by Rong Xiaoqing in The Nation.
The background, from the author: Tens of thousands of children in China were born in the United States to maternity tourists. But at 18, they have to decide which nationality to keep.
The excerpt: There is more overlap between history and the present than people would have imagined, said Charlotte Brooks, a historian at Baruch College in New York. “One of the things that worries me for anyone growing up in a time of growing hostility in the two countries is that the strident nationalism in both places will make their lives very difficult, regardless of the traces of identity that they make.”
FROM THE RIGHT
From “What PJ O’Rourke knew,by Kyle Smith in the National Review.
The context, from the author: After (the late PJ) O’Rourke, how could you be funny and do not to be a republican? “People who are worried about sexism in language,” he wrote, “and think the government is sneaking into their homes at night and dumping atomic waste in the kitchen, we can’t expect everyone has a sense of humor and they don’t.
Excerpt: Democrats believe so many outlandish things about how society works that they’re practically Scientologists. They think every American should be punished, protected, or honed by hideous monster programs dreamed up by sci-fi crackpots in the Frankenstein labs of Washington, D.C. Republicans don’t even need an affirmative creed (apart from love our country) because we don’t think Washington should be trying to pull everyone’s strings in the first place.
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From “Let freedom honkby Jonathon Van Maren in The American Conservative.
Excerpt, from the author: For weeks, the world has been fascinated by a one-of-a-kind populist uprising in one of the world’s most docile nations: Canada. The Freedom Convoy, a cavalcade of tractor-trailers, pickup trucks and other vehicles crossed the country and moved into the capital to demand that the government lift vaccination warrants, give up vaccination passports and return to Canadians their freedom.
Excerpt: Canadians (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) demonize are an incredibly diverse group. Some are vaccinated, others are not; some oppose vaccination for medical or conscience reasons, others for political or conspiratorial reasons. All ethnicities are represented, and the signage on the huge trucks parked outside the Parliament Buildings ranges from “F–k Trudeau” to Bible verses. The convoy is impossible to characterize because it has become a lightning rod for Canadians of all races and creeds with unresolved concerns. The one thing that binds them all, if you talk to them, is their commitment to freedom – prompting Canada’s state broadcaster describe freedom as an “extreme right” concept.
From “From Wordle to the Super Bowl to the Oscars: American culture adapts to the rapid decline of mass media,” by Emilie Jashinsky in The Federalist.
The context, from the author: Popular culture is dying. The consequence is a decline in shared values and cultural landmarks. There will be fewer Jennifer Anistons and more Sydney Sweeneys, fewer “Titanics” and more “Parasites”, fewer Kronkites and more Acostas. There’s good and bad in all of this, as Guardians lose power and better products win. Enter Wordle.
Excerpt: Part of Wordle’s appeal is shared experience. Everyone guesses the same word. When people publish and send their results, the fact is that we see our different paths towards a common destination. We all play exactly once a day with exactly the same result. The game would be less fun if people played for different words at different paces. There’s something magnetic about shared entertainment experiences. But it takes the willpower and knowledge to create something people want to consume.