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The futility of being too involved…
I don’t want to blow sunshine here, but if you’re reading this, you probably know more about American politics than 97% of our fellow countrymen. Everyone wants to be humble, but deep down, you know this is true. We’re a growing concern (yay!) that punches above its weight, but we are not extremely well known to the normies.
You might even be addicted to politics, and that’s OK. I’m guilty of that myself.
In reading a Substack newsletter called The Rooster, written by a left-leaning Ohioan named D.J. Byrnes, this really stuck with me all day today:
I always joke with younger centrists that the wheel of time ensures they have two roads before them if they want to continue caring about politics on a local, state or federal level.
Either, like me, they will turn into The Joker after the Democrats continue to do nothing with their power and thus guarantee the Republicans’ return to power in a never-ending cycle that only benefits the wealthy.
Or they will become inured to the pain of losing and go on to become a soulless careerist who only feels alive when they’re attacking people to the left of them for “not living in the real world.”
I don’t come at this from the same perspective as Barnes, but I know how he feels, and I’m not sure he’s 100% right. Many moons ago, a former intern of mine at TWS brought up something by Ben Shapiro. I won’t reprint exactly what I said to this intern, but I conveyed to this intern that I was not a fan. Kudos to this intern, probing questions were asked and I answered in great detail.
Around that time, a colleague of mine at TWS and I had a conversation about him, too. The colleague conceded he was not exactly great, but that conservatism was faced with a binary choice, choose Ben Shapiro or choose Charlie Kirk. I still consider myself conservative, but I didn’t like binary choices in 2016, and in 2020 it was a pretty easy binary choice.
This go around, people on the center to middle left are pulling their hair out about Biden and the BBB legislation.
I never used to understand people who stayed home on election day. I do now. Because if you want to keep your hair (and I like my hair!) you can look at your choices and think of them as binary, or you can just not pick either path. What my colleague understood and I did not at the time was the binary choice was to remain in good standing, which I obviously am not these days, with conservatives.
Sometimes when you are too involved or even know too much, it’s easy to start thinking everything is futile.
Leading The Bulwark…
CHRISTIAN SCHNEIDER: “To try to do something which is inherently impossible is always a corrupting enterprise.”
🎧 On the Pods… 🎧
The Wall Street Journal is trolling, Tucker Carlson has gone full Alex Jones, and Michael Flynn is comparing Dr. Fauci to Dr. Mengele. Tom Nichols joins Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.
Aaron Perzanowski on a new lawsuit aiming to better define digital ownership.
For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐
CHARLIE SYKES: The GOP ignores warnings of violence.
JVL: Say his name!
A little panic is good for the soul.
From The Bulwark Aggregator…
In Today’s Bulwark...
ZANDY HARTIG: How ‘Suspiria,’ ‘The Brood,’ and ‘Let’s Scare Jessica to Death’ helped define a decade of horror.
JIM SWIFT: Did the vaccine kill you? The government will pay your family.
MONA CHAREN: Democrats need to tack to the middle on cultural issues.
SONNY BUNCH: (Answer: Yes.)
On the jukebox… Oasis and The Verve join forces. Ashcroft’s Acoustic Hymns album drops tomorrow.
The Department of Salad. One of my favorite newsletters is from Emily Nunn and it’s about salads. If you like salads, this is the newsletter for you. I don’t know why I love it so much, because so many of the recipes include things I would 100% not eat. (Imagine a stereotypical midwesterner who likes the salads at Outback, minus cucumbers and tomatoes.)
Nunn is a fantastic writer, and here’s an excerpt from today’s digest:
When I was a kid (who would eat practically anything but liver), French dressing was everywhere—a sugary, deep-salmon-colored liquid that came in a bottle. I grew up in the era of Salad Bars, which, unsurprisingly, I couldn’t get enough of, especially the one at Pizza hut. But I never touched the French dressing, glowing radioactively over there in its square metal refrigerated container meant to keep it “fresh” even though, my lord, it probably has the shelf life of yellowcake uranium.
As a food writer, I’m obligated to point out that there’s nothing French about French dressing, which most food historians trace back to early 20th-century America, something dreamed up after we began bottling mayonnaise in 1915, according to Jean Anderson, in her 1997 American Century Cook Book: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century.
While I am also anti-mayo, I can recognize and agree that in so doing, we now have ranch dressing, for which we should all be thankful.
Inspired by Nunn, I whipped up a salad for lunch with a recipe from Tony Chachere’s Cajun Country Cookbook.
It’s fantastic. One of my college professors is Tony’s daughter in law and gifted us a bunch of Tony’s stuff after we graduated at a shrimp boil at their house. Save it. It’ll be a new favorite salad dressing.
Football is life! This goal… I had to watch the replay twice.
While we’re still on the topic of soccer…
“No, my boss will not confirm a quote that demonstrates he might be play acting…”
Is this bad?
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.