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“The idea of radical centrism is not new. The label was claimed by a variety of theorists and politicians in the late 20th century, including Anthony Giddens, an advisor to then-British prime minister Tony Blair who championed a so-called “Third Way.” In 2010, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert capitalized on public exasperation with polarization by staging a “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.” The well-attended Washington, D.C. event was supposedly aimed at skewering both sides of the political divide. But having covered that rally for a Canadian newspaper, I can attest that, hilarious as the satirical signs on display may have been (“I may not agree with you, but I’m sure you’re not Hitler”), these weren’t true centrists. They were bemused upper-middle class college-educated leftists who loved watching late night news comedy. The demographic I saw at MythCon was poorer, angrier and more ideologically disenfranchised.
Over 20 years of covering conferences of all political flavours, I’ve gotten pretty good at reading a movement based on the people who attend the meet-ups. I’ve seen everything from traditional conservative think-tank gabfests populated by Alex P. Keaton types to Israeli Apartheid Week events organized by white people who wear kufiyahs.
But the attendees at MythCon didn’t look like any of these crowds. In appearance, they seemed more like the apolitical introverts and subculturalists I see at the board-game conferences I attend in my spare time, or the nouveau-hippie seekers and spiritualists I find manning kiosques at new-age medicine and Truther conventions.”
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"Now I’m starting to wonder how I can go at all. And I’m also wondering why more Muslims don’t question the powers that control our most sacred site—and how the Saudis have already twisted it to their own political and financial ends."
"It's going to be a letdown. Not only is it likely that the final report will not reveal that the president has been a KGB agent since the late '80s, as at least one mainstream liberal columnist fantasized."
"The JFNA GA may say they want to talk, but there are some parts of Israel which have the feeling that this American Jewish organization is not really interested in hearing what they have to say."
“What responsibility do you think young, famous women have today to be activists?” I asked Bateman. “Are you tempted to leverage your fame for political reasons?”
"For nearly 40 years, the GOP has relied on cutting taxes as an easy way to win votes, even when their plans—like the most recent package—benefit only the rich. "
"On its face, voting by phone makes sense. Nearly ninety-five per cent of American adults own mobile phones, and rely on them for all sorts of secure transactions."
"Allegations of sexual harassment brought down Bill Gothard, a leading figure of the Christian right. But his fall also revealed the diminished influence of fundamentalism in the Trump era."
"Literature — the top-shelf, award-winning stuff — is positively ectoplasmic these days, crawling with hauntings, haints and wraiths of every stripe and disposition."
"Kids have a habit of imitating their parents’ criminal behavior. It’s no wonder, then, that by one measure, 10 percent of families account for two-thirds of criminals."
"SFAH doesn’t make an argument for local or slow food per se, but that’s what we see. The dishes are simple, with few ingredients, made traditionally and with pleasure."
We think of archeological finds as being clues to the ancient past. In a new book from Ulrike Sommer, archeology's effects on present-day national narratives are excavated.
"That the highest God speaks for six days and then has to rest from fatigue at the seventh is a patent absurdity: ‘It is not fitting for the first God to be tired or to work with his hands or to give orders,’ he writes."