First Looks category archive
Ashley Parker takes a long look at the implications of Republicans’ willingness to fall for the made-up story that President Biden was going to take away their hamburgers. A snippet (emphasis added):
But the not-quite-red-meat attack also offers a case study in how a falsehood can rapidly metastasize among Republicans — pushed not only by the party’s fringe but also by more mainstream voices, like former South Carolina governor and potential 2024 hopeful Nikki Haley. The argument dovetails with a common claim on the right that Democrats are out to ban meat-eating, whether for reasons of health or climate.
And the episode underscores how the shadow of Donald Trump’s presidency — rife with misinformation and mistruths and lies — still lingers, providing Republicans with a mendacious road map for demonizing a political rival. The nation experienced 30,573 false or misleading claims over Trump’s four years in office, according to The Washington Post Fact Checker — culminating in the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen, which ultimately help provoke the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Methinks “still lingers” is a phrase too weak to describe the poisonous legacy of government by con.
Thom Hartmann calls out the con.
Follow the link for the evidence.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Thomas Henricks explores why some persons are susceptible to conspiracy theories. Here’s a bit of one factor he discusses; follow the link for the full article.
Participation in virtual worlds is another form of this self-chosen commitment. In that light, New York Times technology writer Kevin Roose compares involvement in online conspiracy theories to play in massive multiplayer online games. Conspiracy sites invite people to co-create and sustain a shared, alternative reality. Featured there are recurring characters ? heroes, villains, and fools ? for the viewer to savor. Storylines ebb and flow. There are challenges to decode messages and solve mysteries. Participants seek to be “in the know” and to pass on, via social media, their insights to others. Strangers get to know and trust one another, albeit through the safety of distanced communication. Players sense that they are part of something much bigger, and more daring, than the circumstances of their ordinary lives.
Caroline Graham’s Inspector Barnaby novels.
As my two or three regular readers know, I’m a mystery buff and have been since I first read A Study in Scarlet while recovering from having two impacted wisdom teeth extracted when I was a teenager.
I delight in the television show Midsomer Murders and watch it whenever I can; I’ve seen most of the episodes several times.
Graham’s novels led to the Midsomer Murders television series, which has now entered its third decade. The first episodes were adapted from the first six novels in the series. As John Nettles points out in his introduction to a recent edition of Death of a Hollow Man, in order to adapt the stories to television, it was necessary to abridge them (think, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books). The original novels are much richer than the Midsomer Murders versions, which are rich and complex in themselves. The novels have even more characters and even more complex plots.
Reading the originals while trying to relate them to the shows I’ve watched with so much enjoyment has been a delight. And it’s also a learning experience: Caroline Graham’s terminology and references have me turning to my favorite search engine (not, by the way, Google or–retch–Bing) to look up cultural references and English slang.
Read them in order. You won’t regret it.
Frankly (I do everything frankly), I would be quite happy if Delta moved its hub somewhere else. I have long said that, if you die and go to hell on Delta, you would have to change in Atlanta.
Wolfram Eberhard’s A History of China.
Understanding China’s past gives some context to China’s present.
The Librivox audiobook recording of The Red Thumb Mark, by R. Austin Freeman.
R. Austin Freeman’s Dr. John Thorndyke was fiction’s first forensic detective.
The Seattle Time’s Danny Westneat writes that, for him at least, the honeymoon with working from home is over. A snippet:
The reality of remote work seems, to me, kind of like when people got smart home devices like Alexa in order to access the internet, but it turned out it was the device that was accessing them. Who is it really benefiting?
Remember, if you are reading it on a computer screen, it might not be what it says it is.
At the Hartford Courant, James Rosen discusses the Republican Party’s path from being a political party to being, well, a nihilist gang. Here’s a bit:
The stubborn belief that Trump remade the party is based on a misunderstanding of a fundamental dynamic that has shaped Washington politics for more than a quarter-century since I arrived to cover the national capital in September 1994.
And so, back in Washington, over the coming months I covered the Republicans’ increasingly radical attempts to cripple the federal government. Intoxicated by his newfound power as House speaker, Gingrich’s ambitions extended far beyond the modest reforms in the “Contract with America,” his savvy campaign-marketing ploy. His acolytes, many of them political outsiders with ignorance of government (something that would become a hallmark of Trumpism), followed his dictates with fanatical fervor (another trait of the ex-president’s current congressional enablers).
He makes persuasive arguments, but I think he’s made one fundamental error.
The transformation began almost three decades earlier with Richard Nixon’s odious “southern strategy,” which paved the way for Gingrich.