May 24, 2019

Campaigning Ourselves to Death

““WELL I THINK he’s got a lot of hand movement, I’ve never seen so much hand movement,” the president of the United States said last month. “I said, is he crazy or is that just the way he acts? So I’ve never seen hand movement—I watched him a little while this morning doing I assume it was some kind of a news conference and I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it. Study it. I’m sure you’ll agree.”

Did we agree? We consented, as Donald Trump surely imagined, to write about it. “A video of Beto O’Rourke’s wild hand gestures went viral. Does distinctive body language help or hurt a candidate?” asked the Washington Post. “Could Beto O’Rourke’s Hand Gestures Cost Him His Presidential Bid?” pondered Inside Edition. “Trevor Noah Points Out That Trump Isn’t Necessarily Wrong About Beto O’Rourke’s Hand Gestures,” Uproxx noted, delivering on the inevitable entertainment angle.

The news cycle spun and washed us out, as it always did, and we were left to nod at the various ephemeral takes on Trump’s trolling of Beto O’Rourke, among the latest entrants in the eternal presidential sweepstakes that will not go off air until November 2020, a mere twenty months from now. And when it does go off air, it will only be gone for so long—2024 will loom, as will the 2022 midterms, and the characters who so brightly populate our political universes now will either continue on for a new season or be swapped out for different—and, we hope, as entertaining—fare.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."

"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."

"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."

"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."

"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."

"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."

"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."

"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."

"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."

"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."

"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"

"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."