A Gen-X Lol For You

Q: What were Fox News viewers called in the ’80s?

A: Reagan Democrats

Arundhati Roy on What Fiction Can Do About Fascism

It’s a long read, and has a great deal to do with Indian politics and the rising tide of Hindu Nationalist fascism there. But fascism is on the rise everywhere, and Arundhati Roy speaks to what fiction is uniquely positioned to do in this age of fake news and fake history:

“After 20 years of writing fiction and nonfiction that tracks the rise of Hindu nationalism, after years of reading about the rise and fall of European fascism, I have begun to wonder why fascism—although it is by no means the same everywhere—is so recognizable across histories and cultures. It’s not just the fascists that are recognizable—the strong man, the ideological army, the squalid dreams of Aryan superiority, the dehumanization and ghettoization of the ‘internal enemy,’ the massive and utterly ruthless propaganda machine, the false-flag attacks and assassinations, the fawning businessmen and film stars, the attacks on universities, the fear of intellectuals, the specter of detention camps and the hate-fueled zombie population that chants the eastern equivalent of ‘Heil! Heil! Heil!’

It’s also the rest of us—the exhausted, quarreling opposition, the vain, nitpicking Left, the equivocating liberals who spent years building the road that has led to the situation we find ourselves in, and are now behaving like shocked, righteous rabbits who never imagined that rabbits were an important ingredient of the rabbit stew that was always on the menu. And, of course, the wolves who ignored the decent folks’ counsel of moderation and sloped off into the wilderness to howl unceasingly, futilely—and, if they were female, then ‘shrilly’ and ‘hysterically’—at the terrifying, misshapen moon. All of us are recognizable.

So, at the end of it all, is fascism a kind of feeling, in the way anger, fear or love are feelings, that manifests itself in recognizable ways across cultures? Does a country fall into fascism the way a person falls in love? Or, more accurately, in hate? Has India fallen in hate? Because truly, the most palpable feeling in the air is the barbaric hatred the current regime and its supporters show toward a section of the population. Equally palpable now is the love that has risen to oppose this. You can see it in people’s eyes, hear it in protestors’ song and speech. It’s a battle of those who know how to think against those who know how to hate. A battle of lovers against haters. It’s an unequal battle, because the love is on the street and vulnerable. The hate is on the street, too, but it is armed to the teeth, and protected by all the machinery of the state.”

Highly recommended you read the whole thing.

https://lithub.com/the-graveyard-talks-back-arundhati-roy-on-fiction-in-the-time-of-fake-news/

How the Devil’s Bargains at the Constitutional Convention Fked Us So Thoroughly

This is depressingly plausible:

“Solid majorities of the nation, in other words, could vote for a Democratic White House, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate, and yet Republicans could gain control of all three.

The system is rigged. It was rigged from the outset, quite intentionally, to favor small states. Under current political coalitions, that’s become an enormous advantage for Republicans. The country’s framers obviously could not have known that they were creating a system that would give Donald Trump’s party an unfair advantage over Hillary Clinton’s party more than two centuries later. But they did create a system that favors small states over large states.”

I think there are more options than Ian Millhiser. But he’s got a good take on why we’re so fucked.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/1/30/20997046/constitution-electoral-college-senate-popular-vote-trump

Charlie Pierce With Some Truth For Your Ass

I endorse this times a thousand, a million, a googolplex:

“Anybody who wants my vote in November had better commit to cleaning out the whole Augean stables of this administration*. If that means putting people in jail, so be it. If that means clawing back billions of dollars of ill-gotten, shady profits, bring out the earth-movers. If that means exposing to public scrutiny and anger every single crooked nickel that has passed through this administration, well, then, if Jared and Ivanka end up sleeping under cardboard in Lafayette Park, that wouldn’t make me sad at all.

I don’t want conciliation if this president* loses in the fall. I don’t want to look forward and not backwards, and I sure as hell don’t want to turn any pages. I want democratic government restored to its full and righteous power until the last slime that has seeped into our institutions has been burned away with god’s own blessed fire. This isn’t vengeance. It’s justice, full, transparent and complete. And it is our common right to see it done.”

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a30910230/trump-blm-mining-industry-keystone-xl-pipeline/

Olivia Nuzzi Strikes Again

If you don’t know her work, you ought to:

“The Iowa caucus was supposed to be important. First in the nation, they love to remind us — the first place votes are cast; the contest that might predict the president. But tonight that’s all over, or so it seems right now. If you haven’t heard: We don’t yet know the results of the caucuses, due to some kind of fuckup involving a new app the Iowa Democratic Party decided to use, perhaps, or due to some other human error. Nothing is clear. Earlier, when the delay in reporting was becoming apparent and the first murmurs about What Went Wrong were trickling out, the Iowa Democratic Party held a call with representatives from each campaign to discuss the attempts at what it called ‘quality control.’ It ended with the party hanging up on everyone. Later in the evening, the party held a call with reporters that lasted for less than two minutes. It hung up on the reporters too. ‘They’re hanging up on everyone,’ someone here remarked.

[…]

Some campaign staffers and network embeds — the reporters who report on the candidates’ every word and step — have been living here for months. People upend their lives to serve and observe our democratic process, and early on, most of the attention is directed here, by virtue of the supposed importance. Iowa might pick the president, because statistically that’s been true for roughly half the nominating contests in modern history. But with no results, or with results that we can’t trust, it was all for nothing.

It’s Tuesday morning, and we have no answers. ‘Today is already today. Today is tomorrow. The future is now,’ one reporter said.”

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/the-iowa-caucuses-were-supposed-to-be-important.html