American Democracy Enters Its Late Habsburgian Dementia Phase – And That’s Okay!

edge of seventeen

It’s Shake and Bake, and I helped!

We’ve been out of touch for a while — but not as out-of-touch as the the New York Times. (Ayyyyy-ooooo.)  It’s that time of year when people in the world of academia remember what the word “anticlimactic” really means.  All this building tension over the course of the semester, and then when it reaches its seeming crescendo in early December — splat.  Nothing.  It’s just over.  Then we have to fire up the great whirly-gig again and take our chances on the Wall of Death one more time.

Sayf turned in the big RTP manuscript; J Wow started a new job; our epic East of East book is still out for review, and we’re sitting on pins and needles here at ToM headquarters in suburban Dubuque, Iowa.  The Democrats took over the House, and we have (hopefully) two years of total paralysis and dysfunction to look forward to.  Friend-of-the-blog Michael Avenatti continues his deranged, Brett-Easton-Ellis-style coke-fueled death trip to the White House.  In other words, all is once again in equilibrium.

In the meantime, a lot of great things have been written lately.  Many of them, amazingly, not by us!

Actual friend-of-the-blog and real-world superhero Kathleen Bachynski on why The NFL Is the Fox in the Henhouse of Football-Injury Research (LA Times)

The Woman Who Cared for Hundreds of Abandoned Gay Men Dying of AIDS (Out)

Ever wonder why so many pop songs are actually creepy and disturbing in their lyrical content? There’s an app for that:  Reevaluating the ‘Romantic’ Hit Songs of Pop Music’s Patriarchy (KQED)

As always, busy fighting the last war: The Digital Maginot Line (Ribbon Farm)

All-time baller Arlie Hochschild on how a theoretical concept can get out of control:  What ‘Emotional Labor’ Actually Means (The Atlantic)

You might hate TED Talks, but this young activist’s story is profound: Esra’a: Would You Speak Up … Even If It’s Dangerous? (TED)

Much debated essay by Andrea Long Chu: My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy (NYT)

Noah Berlatsky on the existential logic of the lottery: Mega Millions or Nothing (Splice Today)

The Mystery Font That Took Over New York (NYT)

The 20 Most Memorable Coen Brothers Characters (Vulture)

Psilocybin Could Be Legal for Therapy by 2021 (Rolling Stone)