The Deadspin revolt of 2019.
Last week, the owners of G/O media fka Gizmodo fka Gawker Media told the staff of the sports vertical Deadspin to stop publishing non sports stories on the sports site. The staff reacted by quitting.
The chattering class was outraged at the owners for telling the staff of a sports site to stick to sports. No killing of controversial sports stories just no more political clickbait.
This is insane. If the order was to say only write positive things on these teams who are paying us for the coverage then taking a stand for integrity is righteous. This was not that. To say that someone must pay you for content other than the content you were hired to write is not true. If the staffers wanted to write politics they could have made their own site on their own time.
In August, a former editor claimed in an article the political content got better views than the sports content. What does that matter? Should the ny times stop publishing journalism because op-eds get more traffic? The worse part of being an employee is you are the ship not the captain.
Was the staff wrong to quit Deadspin? I don’t think they were. They didn’t want to be sports writers. This was a story with no heroes no villains. The owners want a sports site, the staff wanted a name brand playground. What was slimy was for the former staff to act like martyrs. In a time where mass layoffs in media will only become more common, they threw away an union job because they wanted their anti trump rants to have the deadspin banner instead of their blogs. They will argue Deadspin died before they did this but it won’t be true.
I hope G/O media gets Deadspin restaffed asap with writers who are grateful for the rare gift of paid work. The media industry has become too small for tantrums and is only getting smaller.
What I learned from President Trump. Strange words to say. Panic inducing to some.
Speak your heart. Does Trump lie? Absolutely. Yet, his lies are earnest lies. Sometimes playful which he always smirks after like Fozzie’s waka waka. Sometimes out of self love like the size of the crowd at his inauguration. It terrifies the elite who long have said whatever they need to say to make you leave them alone. Look how far the Democratic party has marched left in it’s message in the last three years. Despite most Americans not being on board. Then look at the rise of Jordan Peterson in the same period.
The world is cruel. Trump is mean. The Press is mean. Life is mean. One of my favorite Trump lines is “You’ll be sick of winning” it gets thrown back in his face alot but to me it captures post recession America. Much like how Nixon won Vietnam by withdrawing. The Dems fixed the economy without saving the real victims. No one can save you.
Nobody cares. Trump was unelectable. He breaks every rule he sees. He’s only slightly less popular than Obama at this time in Obama’s first term. Many of us have come to live like a party member in 1984 to avoid cancel culture. Trump shows only you can cancel you.
Sometimes I feel my relationship with the Democratic Party is the Supremes’ classic “Where Did Our Love Go”. In a time where the status quo is up for grabs, the Party offers a greatest hits of past ideas that people like until they hear the details. I’m bewildered. Trump’s election was caused by many things but a key aspect I’ve come to accept was he offered new alternatives. Greenland, the space force, funding high tech manufacturing in America for national security reasons are all good ideas. It is the beginning of an actual vision of the future.
There will be a tomorrow and a next day whether we live to see it or not. The current “dark green” moment is unfounded. Climate change is real and no good but we do have tools to fight it without resorting to death cults. We can harness nuclear energy more and despite the idea of danger (thanks to Big Oil propaganda) it isn’t going to destroy the world as we know it like fossil fuels will. When France and Vermont shut down nuclear power plants for renewable alternatives, they increased their reliance on fossil fuels.
Why are we stuck in this nostalgia crusade? Why in a time when individual actors have more capabilities than the largest bureaucracies of history dems only offer more centralization? Didn’t the election of Trump show us the limits of the presidency and the administrative state?
Biden’s self defenestration is mind boggling. I nominally viewed him as a viable candidate based on his shoot from the hip style as VP. Yet his campaign continually shoots itself in the foot over legitimate past choices. Most recently over Trump’s lynching comments in relation to his impeachment inquiry. Based on the scandal, one could assume we are a nation of grammar nazis not one where 70% never picks up a book post schooling.
Its hard to see any of the democratic candidates defeating Trump in 2020. If primary continues to be about regaining the voters who deflected to the Green party in 2016 rather than the ones who deflected to Trump. Clinton amd Obama’s grand coalitions will have been a blimps in history.
Politics is the art of the possible. It requires imagination. There is one Democrat whose possesses that quality: Andrew Yang. Many decry his lack of government experience but no one on the democrat stage possesses any achievements in government outside Biden who distances himself from much of what he accomplished. Unless we now consider showing up to collect a paycheck, a legislative achievement. Yang actually lives in 2019 America. The Freedom Dividend (UBI) is hos flagship proposal. It is the only policy being proposed that will meaningfully benefit most Americans. But Medicare for all you will say. By all recent budget breakdowns, the cost of medicare for all will require a federal budget increase of 75%. You will pay the same for your care now and more covering the cost of others in taxes. Same with most of Warren or Sanders soak the rich for gov programs ideas. Unlike the oil that funds the nordic dream, the rich aren’t a natural resource. They are quite the opposite. It’s hard to see companies and their leaders remaining in America at a cost to their bottom line. Much as Russian and Chinese elite now buy American and European real estate that can’t be seized by their home countries. The American elite would explore wealth alternatives.
That isn’t to say wealth inequality isn’t an issue but it is. I don’t think taxes will save us alone. Because it isn’t just some have so much and others have so little but your wealth decides most factors in our lives. Once the boss and you went to church together and your spouses and kids were friends. We were integrated beyond the workday. In our fragmented society today, we lost that community. I doubt that we can go back. I doubt that I would want to go back. The America we live in today where people are more free to be themselves socially than ever isn’t a bad place. Sometimes, I feel we are superficial in our tolerance as shown by our building of echo chambers. We have to reach and let ourselves be reached out to across group barriers. There might not be much or anything in common at all to begin with but simply spending time together is a commonality. We can’t just pay the government to do this work for us.
JFK didn’t say he alone or even the government alone could solve the challenges the country faced. “What you can do for your country”. That’s a message missing from the debate stage. It’s certainly not a question Trump has ever asked himself. Maybe it’s time we sold the elite a future.
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”
– T.S. Elliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Founding Fathers had a refounding with the ratification of the Constitution after the Articles of Confederation. The Radical Centrists may not be creating the greatest governing document ever written but sliced bread can only be invented once. While I am Catholic and believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We like all Americans love a second act.
The Radical Centrists was founded on the day of Trump’s election. Its purpose was to get our heterodox hot takes on the to the minute national conversation. A transmission into space, the saga of time carved into the rock of our collective tomb. Just as Rome once stood there was The United States America and it was beautiful.
Then the world didn’t end. We are a species capable of infinite outrage except us we burnt out some resignations and indictments ago. But isn’t that digital life? All the knowledge, all the beauty, and all the well: things. Yet we can’t forget there is always more: to scroll, tap, and reply. The conversations on sugar, porn, tv, video games, and drugs are all the same. When we remade ourselves in our own image the society we formed granted us unfettered access to get off in all the ways we wanted and we have. Sometimes it feels like we are building our own Truman Show.
We aim to make this a more productive space. We wish to focus wider. There was once more to our lives than politics and we believe that is the way forward. There will be discussions of cinema and literature. Meditations on the raindrop on our office window pane. Debates on office break room leftover ethics. We still support Mueller’s investigation without a doubt. Even if the conclusion was no collusion. Our expansion is an advance not a retreat.
At Easter Mass this year, the homily was on resurrections. It has stayed with me recently as I look back at where I was at the election and where I am today. In my opening salvo, I stated there was no such thing as a guilty pleasure. It was a statement I stand by though I said it hypocritically. The posts that followed were a guilty pleasure. In that my goal was to be right. The age of rebellion has past and an age of building must begin. In the new Radical Centrists, we aim to build. Each day will be a new brick.
Tax cuts for the already wealthy do not bring more or better jobs. Just handouts for the well off for being well off.
The bottom 80% move the Earth to generate the riches. We don’t deserve less for the more taxes we pay each year. We don’t deserve stagnant wages for higher productivity since 90.
A 20 percent corporate tax cut isn’t draining the swamp but an expansion of it.
Trump said it would be paid by Mexico and be like the Great Wall of China.
Trump said it would be funded by America and Mexico would get us back and it was a chain link fence.
Trump’s going to shut down America for a fence paid for by Mexico.
We elected Lear.
The state of modern drug testing in the workplace has barely improved since Reagan started the trend. I cannot understand why. Failed tests take a toll on the economy . At a least one plant, half of a failures are due to positive marijuana results. I’m pro-marijuana but safe work places especially when working with literal tons of metal are more important. The problem is current testing can’t tell if you are high now or were a month ago (just for thc, other chemicals fade faster). This means workers even in states where it is legal. Workers can’t enjoy the fruits of their labor without fear of being flagged. We can implant a microchip to operate as a credit card but we can’t tell when one last smoked is ridiculous.
Marijuana is safer than Alcohol and better for dealing with long term chronic pain than opiates. We can talk in circles all we want about mental addiction but you can be mentally addicted to any reinforced action and physical addiction that comes from alcohol, opiates, and other drugs has a far greater toll. I’m sure all physically addicted (to which there is no cure just the continuous work of recovery) would trade for a mental addiction (closer to a bad habit and can end). Studies have disproven the gateway theory. To deny the healthiest high on the grounds of tradition is bad policy.
To those who preach sobriety, I would argue without the human desire to get high, we would not have society and civilization as we know it. The history of beer is the history of us. That being said there is virtue in moderation and a balance between states is needed. Theres no reason or need to be high in most jobs. There can be great danger. Your supervisor might be a son of a bitch but he’s the son of a bitch whose job it is to get you back to your wife and kids. He needs better tools.
Perhaps it is a generational gap but we need 21st century solutions today because the century is going to pass us by.
Trump and his family are self described business folks. While their legacy in business is debatable, that they come from the corporate world not political becomes more obvious everyday. We don’t know yet if Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia last year but the Trump family isn’t making it easy for innocence to be considered.
This week Donald Trump Jr. became the center of the Russian storm. After days of having his ever changing story disproven by leaks, he released the emails in question. They did not vindicate him. When asked if he would like information on Clinton gathered by Russia to aid his father, he says he would love it. He brought Kushner and Manafort to the meeting, the Russian lawyer ended up not having anything on Clinton. Leaving us in a situation where we know that the Trump campaign would have colluded but not if they did.
Ignore the discussion of impeachment for a moment. What other implications are there? One is a revelation behind the curtain. Political operators have long been portrayed as ruthless anything goes types in movies but the real political world always had norms and bounds. I’m not saying they are knights of the round table. Yet even the Gore campaign called the FBI when someone leaked Bush’s campaign bible to them. This event shows the business world core of the Trump universe one where damning emails end in a fine and mea culpas but in politics things end differently just ask Abramoff.
The anti-left media keeps yelling Ukraine like its Benghazi (as a waste of time). A low level former staffer is not the same as a high campaign advisor and candidate’s child. Manafort did in fact lobby for pro Russia candidates in Ukraine and was unable to hide it. Whether the decision to remove support for Ukraine in its war against Russian invasion from the GOP platform came from Manafort is unknown. In the end, evidence from a foreign public investigation is not close to the same as a foreign nation stealing documents from a political opponent to aid a candidate. As Watergate taught us having your own countrymen steal documents is damning without foreign involvement.
The emails aren’t a smoking gun for criminal proceedings but they without a doubt bolster Mueller’s investigation. One can only wonder what subpeonas will uncover.
This New American Life
I write this in a booth waiting for my current delivery order to be prepared in an empty restaurant that ten years ago would have been crowded. The music is a soft bossa nova and the kitchen while busy is careful to avoid clangs. The decor is standard a medium brown stain colors the wood and the carpet is green and clean. A mother and her retired son are the only other customers. She is dancing while waiting for the spring rolls to arrive. The owner hands me a thai tea on the house while I wait. I can’t help but worry for the fate of America. I can’t help but wonder where do we go from here.
The internet has redefined what and why we eat. It’s less about what we like and having haunts we return to but posting from the current trends to be considered a cool kid. Even those who do not post on social media still Google and Yelp their choices based on the impression that the best rated by those apps have more value experience wise for their dollars. The hive mind that is social media causes attention inequality and narrows culture especially food culture.
Speaking of the Hive Mind. What do we talk about when we say we shouldn’t give someone a platform. As in the current uproar over Megyn Kelly interviewing Alex Jones, a man who has been paid to spew filth since my childhood. He long ago built his alternative media platform and give a place for wayward views. He helped Trump win without a doubt and his org Infowars will have white house press credentials. He doesn’t need an interview on NBC but NBC and those who oppose his views do need these kinds of interviews. Darkness cannot be allowed to fester. Pre-internet denying mainstream outlets was a good way to slow repulsive thought but now mainstream media is one if the last shared spaces in American life and is more effective as a means of exposing.
The tendency of the internet to drive conformity from food and fashion trends to preventing public discourse is disconcerting to say the least. Humanity’s story is one driven by innovation through diversity not just the kind on a college application check box. How much have we lost? What will it take next?