Endangered: The apology

Americans are living through a crisis. The signs are hard to miss. We're losing faith in democracy and in each other. We're losing faith in our institutions, public and private. A third of the electorate claims the current President is illegitimate and that his predecessor was right not to concede. A greater number no longer … Continue reading Endangered: The apology

Bad fiction. The other kind.

What's the worst American fiction of the 21st century? Last month, in preparation for the baseball season, I read Brendan Boyd's 1991 novel Blue Ruin, based on the 1919 Black Sox scandal. It was overwrought, annoyingly clever, and depressingly bleak, hardly the thing to get me in the mood. But it did remind me of … Continue reading Bad fiction. The other kind.

Quitting social media

Let's say you're concerned about the country's accelerating drift from reality. By reality, I mean a broad, baseline consensus about what's true or likely to be true, and what's false or likely to be false. Should you quit social media? Spoiler alert: Yes. First, some preliminaries. Social media is not inherently evil. Even with its … Continue reading Quitting social media

Kid Rock, Trump, and telling it like it is

A couple weeks back, Kid Rock sat down with Tucker Carlson and explained what he liked about Donald Trump. (Side note: If you don't feel embarrassed during the frequent camera cuts to Carlson erupting in mock laughter or gaping in mock astonishment, your constitution is stronger than mine.) "[Trump] speaks off the cuff," Kid said. … Continue reading Kid Rock, Trump, and telling it like it is

What is Putin Afraid Of?

I’m plagiarizing Charlie Sykes of The Bulwalk, but I’ll give a more concise answer to the question than Sykes: Putin is afraid of the truth. More precisely, he’s afraid that Russians will discover three facts: that he’s invaded a sovereign country that is not run by neo-Nazis; that after a little more than a week … Continue reading What is Putin Afraid Of?

Russia, Ukraine, and Bullshit

I'd planned to open this blog with George W. Bush, since he was Colbert's inspiration for the notion of truthiness. But yesterday, Russia invaded Ukraine. What always struck me as most dystopian about the Soviet Union was its leaders' ability to erase reality. I remember as a boy viewing reproductions of doctored Soviet photographs next … Continue reading Russia, Ukraine, and Bullshit

Why “Beyond Truthiness”?

Long ago, in the first year of George W. Bush’s second term, Stephen Colbert coined a word that would eventually enter dictionaries. “Truthiness” was the belief that a statement was true because it felt true. Folks prone to truthiness allowed their gut to override the conventional, old-fashioned criteria — factual evidence and logic — for … Continue reading Why “Beyond Truthiness”?