Tag Archives: Journalism

2019 as 1649

After coffee and before exercise, I spent a delightful ninety minutes yesterday morning and intermittently the rest of the day fighting rightist journalists, their minions, and sundry trolls on Twitter. I went after Erick Erickson, an unlettered windbag whose self-professed Christianity is unleavened by imagination and empathy — a redundant phrase, for empathy requires imagination. Infuriated by the New York Times’ 1619 Project, a prodigious journalistic feat about which amateur historians can argue in good faith; yet Erickson and his toadies, together with National Review editor Rich Lowry, questioned its very existence. Continue reading

Criticism as a palimpsest, not a stone tablet

When students asked if I could speak for an hour about writing criticism, the request flummoxed me. I look in the mirror to fix my hair and write in my journal; scrutinizing methods hasn’t engaged me. After a fitful start, I cobbled together a PowerPoint that encompassed my most sapient points. Readers will get an idea by looking at this post’s title. I even managed to discuss for a couple minutes Pitchfork’s coverage of Taylor Swift this morning. Continue reading

Our capacity for imagining the unimaginable

Traditional media has not adjusted itself to the Trump era, I’ve often noted. Accelerating the entropy begun at the height of the Iraq War and continued by the Obama White House’s campaign against whistleblowers, the Trump administration’s insistent, aggressive, and insouciant mendacity overwhelms a news outlet’s corrective efforts, yet, because those outlets need the clicks, they keep interviewing Kellyann Conway, Mick Mulvaney, and Wilbur Ross as if they were respectable bureaucrats instead of charlatans and grifters. Continue reading

Annals of corruption, #4561

In a story about the GOP’s political chances in 2020, please note the sophistication of the nation’s Paper of Record:

But both parties have overwhelming incentives to push next year’s election toward issues of the heart, not the head.

For Republicans, the arrival in Washington of liberal women of color such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with some top Democratic presidential candidates running toward the left, has created irresistible political temptations. With new bogeywomen to caricature, and explosive liberal issues like reparations for the descendants of enslaved blacks, voting rights for prisoners and federal benefits for undocumented immigrants, G.O.P. officials have even more fodder for the sort of scorched-earth, and unabashedly racist, campaign that Mr. Trump ran in 2016.

These new targets offer fresh material with which Republicans can galvanize their base and try to make the case to moderate voters that, while they may be uneasy with the Trump-era G.O.P., the alternative is left-wing radicalism.

Two men, according to the byline, crafted the tough prose of the one-sentence graf quoted above. In the second graf, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns can barely contain their enthusiasm.

We’re all going to die.

The ‘electability’ trap

“If ‘electability’ previously meant ‘the candidate most associated with the hawkish and business-friendly wing of the party,’ it now seems to have become purely and nakedly demographic,” Alex Pareene writes in “Democrats Have Created an “Electability’ Monster.” Hilary Clinton voters, he writes, “are flocking to the various white men in the race, avoiding candidates they actually might like, because they see their own affinity for those candidates as a political liability.” Pareene: Continue reading