Yikes — almost two months since my last post.
Woden has been exceptionally busy this year, which is great news! I’d like to say that’s my only reason for posting: that I’ve been so insanely busy I can’t bother to read or share links or music. That’d certainly be partially true, but I’ve still had a few choice articles that have been saved here and there.
The truth is that I’ve simply not had the motivation.
Trump’s presidency has certainly affected the public discourse in a number of ways. But, perhaps most interesting, has been a total departure on all sides from critical thought. Even reasonable Trump decisions seem to be greeted as catastrophe on the left, and ridiculous tweets are explained away constantly by the right. My perception is that the quality of writing has declined precipitously in the past two months: there just is not that much content not devoted to taking an unwavering side in the debate. Even non-political reporting seems framed in these terms.
We’ll see if this week is a rebirth of active linking each week, or just a brief appearance of what might now be sporadic updates.
I’m not the only one with this observation
Columbia Journalism Review has done an analysis of news sources during the election, and it appears the slant is only increasing. This aligns with the general concept of “purple America” disappearing, but the result has been wholly depressing for those who are more interested in critical debate than blind allegiance to a party agenda.
A clarifying moment in American history
My intent with this is not to give Trump a pass, by any measure. Eliot Cohen (normally of The American Interest) observed a trend one week into the presidency of our institutions being undermined — a trend that has continued since. I
What Bannon wants
This shouldn’t be particularly surprising, given who Steve Bannon is. I think this profile of him in The New York Times is not meant to be flattering, but I actually found it to be a balanced perspective that gave me more respect for him as a person. While I don’t agree with his viewpoints, I think he’s been made to be more evil incarnate than he reasonably could be. And, in many respects, he’s just the most radical outcome of small government.
The administration’s eight power centers
And for all of his influence, he only represents a portion of the administration. I think the reports of infighting and dysfunction in the administration are fairly overhyped. Like any new organization, there are different groups of people pulling for particular worldviews; like them or hate them, it’s hard to see that guys like Mattis, Munchin, Tillerson or Pence align with the Bannon view of the world. Trump’s a clown, but the book is very much out on the administration itself.
How baby boomers destroyed it all
It seems a little disingenuous to lay Trump at the feet of the baby boomer generation, but articles like this certainly make a case they haven’t covered themselves in glory. The boomers really do seem to be the worst America possibly could do, and it’s interesting to see the malaise of the past 20 years through the lens of their generational deficiency. I’ll note my strong opposition to the author exempting Obama from all association with this, though.