Don’t Just Subscribe to Print Out of Charity – Do It For Your Own Sanity

Mother Jones Thank you screenYesterday I good and finally started to lose it over the constant torrent of news pouring outward from this dumpster fire of an administration. My favorite economist blogger said something to the effect of it being merely a weird day, not a very weird day. He’s a level-headed guy, that one. Others have suggested the news projectile vomiting outward from the Bannon-House is a calculated strategy designed to confuse, disorient, and exhaust the opposition. If that’s true, it’s working.

It’s not just me who is disoriented. I think we all are, us liberals. We haven’t seen anything like this, so it’s unclear how we should react, or what we should focus on, or how to deal with our own mental health in the process. By the end of the day yesterday, as I injected my third glass of wine, I wondered: were we 10 days in to this administration? Or was it 12? Obviously I couldn’t go on like this. We can’t go on like this.

What tribes do I identify with?

One of the best pieces I’ve ever read about what’s responsible for the Internet-outrage cycle comes from this past January, from Scott Alexander in New Statesman. It’s worth reading in absolute full and contains far too many excellent passages for me to excerpt any particular one.

Without getting in to the argument (again, read it for yourself), the story got me thinking about tribalism generally, specifically the tribes I identify with personally. These are the groups I give the benefit of the doubt, or instinctually feel as if I should defend. The groups whose bad behavior I am more likely to excuse.

Mizzou and Tim Tai: Un-fucking-believable

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 1.23.22 PM

For the base primer, read Conor Friedersdorf, “Campus Activists Weaponize ‘Safe Space.” The YouTube video of a student photographer on assignment from ESPN who inadvertently has become the story, is embedded in the piece, or you can watch it here.

Some of that student’s previous photographs for ESPN are here. Activists who shouted at him that he is an “unethical” journalist clearly haven’t seen these photographs… otherwise they would have invited him gladly into their quote-unquote, safe space – which, as Friedersdorf points out, is a public space, entitling Tim Tai, as a matter of law and the First Amendment, to take photographs there.

Watch, watch, watch the video. Here it is again.

Am I doomed to always make my living from writing?

There were those three Summers I was a camp counselor and the one I was a sailing instructor. For a few months each I also worked at a grocery store, a movie theatre, and as the guy who wrote down people’s sandwich orders at the grill in my College cafeteria.

Other than those, however, I have always made my living by writing. The first way was writing business profiles for an industry & market research company at $10/hour. After that I wrote news stories for the daily newspaper for some years. Since leaving the newspaper it’s been more writing: ads, tag lines, marketing plans, case studies, white papers, press releases, media advisories, news alerts (three different phrases for basically the same thing), editorials, blogs posts, more blog posts, tweets… the list goes on.