WTF: August 28, 2020

Have we found the bottom yet?

It’s hard not to be a nihilist right now. California is on fire. Colorado is on fire. Louisiana is underwater. Meteorologists were visibly choking up looking at a category four hurricane bearing down on them once again, they were using terms I’ve never heard Al Roker say before, like “unsurvivable” storm surge. The country is saturated with guns and a large portion of those who own them are apocalypse fantacists just waiting for an opportunity to justify a homicide and cannot be convinced that the best way to protect their families would be to not have guns in the house in the first place. And we have lost more Americans to this pandemic than any other country in the world. Add to this a President who doesn’t appear to have ever truly been good at anything — SAT taking, uncling, brothering, makeupping, fathering, businessing, truthing, husbanding, negotiating, extorting, bribing, governing, reading, hairstyling, smiling to name a few — it’s hard not to be scared for our future. Add to this that the people in charge of American higher education have largely decided to implement the worst possible plan for bringing back college in the time of a pandemic. Yes, by all means, young people who have been living in sensory deprivation for months now should definitely come to campus because they for sure won’t do all those things that we all know they will do. Then once the room and board check is cashed, they can blame the students, shame them and send them home once again, sending vectors all around the country. This is the best we can come up with? When did we stop striving to do the right thing?

Rolling Stone: Climate Apocalypse Now

Despite what Mike Pence says, there are no miracles in America, or anywhere else. We humans are on our own. If we fuck this up, it’s on us.

And, of course, we are fucking it up. We are heating up the planet so fast that large parts of it will be uninhabitable by the end of the century. We are amping up storms like Hurricane Laura — it is the strongest storm to hit the Louisiana coast since 1856 — and turning the Gulf Coast into a shooting gallery — which city is going to get hit next? New Orleans? Houston? Tampa? Miami? They are all living on borrowed time. And it’s not just the hurricanes: As Greenland melts and Antarctica falls into the Southern Ocean, they will be swamped by rising seas, as will virtually every other low-lying city in the world. The rich will huddle behind sea walls; the poor will flee or drown.

The Nation: Donald Trump Has Declared Himself Impotent

The man who promised us at the 2016 convention that “I alone can fix it”—though there wasn’t much to fix, but a lot to break—stood before us as a pitiful, hapless tyrant. Trump takes no “responsibility at all” for Covid-19, or for any of the country’s many crises—meaning he’s confessing he lacks any power to fix them. The most powerful man in the world, in other words, has declared himself essentially impotent. He has not fixed anything. But he has broken so much.

Trump is also the man who promised us, at his poorly attended inauguration in 2017, that he would end “American carnage.” Instead, he has presided over four years of it. But he and his party spent four nights trying to pin the blame on Democrats, even though the GOP controls the White House, the Senate, the courts and most state legislatures.

The speech last night has been largely met by silence. More ink has been spilled on the the jarring optics of the White House with giant electronic yard signs all over it it. Trump delivered a long, boring speech, largely the same as the one he delivered in 2016 to a mostly maskless, sweaty, crowd seated shoulder to shoulder on the South Lawn. You could almost see Rudy Giuliani infect the woman sitting next to him (not sure who it was, maybe his cousin?) There will be an outbreak from this event. The only question is how bad will it be?

The New Yorker: The Malign Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Convention

The truth is that Trump’s heart wasn’t really in the ridiculously uncredible makeover anyway. Fear is his preferred political drug, and nasty personal attacks are his default setting. This is what he is pushing, now and forever. Minutes into his speech, he framed the election as a fight to “save the American Dream” and “the American way of life” from Democrats who would give “free reign to violent anarchists, agitators, and criminals who threaten our citizens.” Trump attacked Biden by name forty-one times in his prepared remarks, some kind of record in a Convention speech. Biden is a “destroyer of American greatness” itself, Trump said, and he supports “the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major-party nominee.” He is a pawn of China and the radical left, “a Trojan horse for socialism,” a representative of a “failed political class,” and a loser on the wrong side of history. He and his party will “demolish the suburbs.” They will “confiscate your guns.” Biden, in short, will end America as you know it.

The problem, of course, is that America as we know it is currently in the midst of a mess not of Biden’s making but of Trump’s. Suffice it to say that, by the time Trump’s speech was over and the red, white, and blue fireworks spelling out “2020” had been set off over the National Mall, late Thursday night, more than three thousand seven hundred Americans had died of the coronavirus since the start of the Convention—more than perished on 9/11—and a hundred and eighty thousand Americans total had succumbed to the disease, a disease that Trump repeatedly denied was even a threat. His botched handling of the pandemic was the very reason that his Convention was taking place on the White House lawn in the first place.

Chronicle of Higher Education: The Student Blaming Has Begun

Julia L. Marcus, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, believes they should. “What’s happening on college campuses is a microcosm of what’s happening in this country, which is a deflection of responsibility from the top down to the individual,” she said in an interview.

“It’s unconscionable for these administrators to be shaming and blaming and punishing their students for what we all knew would happen. For any of us who take a minute to put ourselves back in our 18-year-old selves, asking students to essentially lock themselves in their rooms for a semester isn’t going to be an effective public-health approach.”

While they may not appear related, taken together this is a story of abdication of leadership, refusal to take responsibility and denial of inconvenient truths — maybe THE story of late stage American capitalism taken to the extreme where money is more important than lives and truth is what you can make people believe.

Well that’s really fucking depressing. But it’s Friday, so feel free to drink and watch Schitt’s Creek while fantasizing about Canadian citizenship until you feel better.

The Sideshow

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is she rebooting

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hope this helps, @tedcruz

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When Mike Judge made “Idiocracy”, he saw this coming. But most of us didn’t see it coming so soon.

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If Joe Biden had committed a fraction of these verbal misfires — butchering emphases, half-baked asides, comical pronunciations — we’d be swimming in buzz about his senility.(And it would be silly. Let’s not make teleprompter reading an event in the presidential olympics.)

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I moved into UNC as a freshman in early August. Two weeks later, everyone moved out, and everyone was sick.

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