The Politics of Loneliness
Plus, Republicans Set to Punish Ilhan Omar’s Antisemitism, Reward Marjorie Taylor Greene’s
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SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY: The Politics of Loneliness.
Today’s Americans should be the least lonely in our nation’s history: More of us than ever before live in densely populated parts of the country, and technology offers us more ways than ever before to connect to friends, family, and communities with similar interests. But evidence from psychology and sociology show rising levels of aloneness (having fewer social contacts) in recent decades, and high levels of loneliness (feelings of isolation) as well, with disturbing spikes in the last few years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How can we feel lonelier in a world where connection to other human beings now requires only a click of a button? How can we feel isolated when linkage to the outside world is delivered via nonstop handheld stimulus? Connection is everywhere, and yet loneliness persists—and in certain subsets of the population grows worse, leading some observers to call the problem an “epidemic.” They are right to do so: It is an epidemic. The true cost of American loneliness is both hidden and insidious, and it’s time policymakers started taking this problem seriously.
JOE PERTICONE: Republicans Set to Punish Ilhan Omar’s Antisemitism, Reward Marjorie Taylor Greene’s.
Kevin McCarthy has made it clear that if chosen to be the next speaker of the House, he will do two things: take away from Ilhan Omar her committee assignment on the important Foreign Affairs Committee as punishment for her past antisemitic remarks while reinstating Marjorie Taylor Greene’s and Paul Gosar’s committee assignments despite their own consistent antisemitism.
That these pledges directly contradict one another is of no concern to many House Republicans. It does not matter that McCarthy himself has condemned Greene’s and Gosar’s conspiracy theories, antisemitic comments, and their associations with white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
Marjorie Taylor Greene tried on Jesus and CrossFit before she got to MAGA. Now, the party leadership needs her more than she needs them because the base thinks she’s Elvis. The Atlantic’s Elaina Plott Calabro joins guest host JVL for a deep look at the how and why of MTG.
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MONA CHAREN: Do Americans Even Know How to Agree?
Paging through the latest survey research from More in Common, I came upon a phrase that deserves to be carved in stone: “conflict entrepreneurs.” Maybe Time magazine should make them the people of the decade? You know them. They are the arsonists who incessantly inflame every disagreement in order to boost their own “brands.” Their motives are often commercial (clicks) or psychic (a sense of self-importance), but their effect is devastating on our civic health. They rile us up and deceive us about the danger of “the other side.”
KIMBERLY WEHLE: Kari Lake’s Trumpian Lawsuit.
Kari Lake, the loser of the Arizona gubernatorial race, has filed suit in Arizona state court against Katie Hobbs, the governor-elect and current secretary of state, along with a slew of election officials, challenging the election outcome à la the Big Lie 2020. Like Donald Trump before her, Lake is attempting to use the courts to create political sound bites to feed the base—despite an apparent absence of supportive facts or law. So far, she isn’t getting much MAGA traction from a ploy that’s bespoke to Trump. Her legal case looks like a loser, too.
I did the Lensa AI I thing… And it was creepy and cool. Here’s a taste. Unlike JVL, I did not end up with six fingers in any of the photos, but there were a lot of them as me as an astronaut or a war fighter from a Call of Duty poster. You don’t get to specify genres or themes. It’s all random. Others made me look like an emo musician, kings, and one even looked like a courtroom sketch. Others were futuristic and some, abstract. 100 images for $5 in 19 minutes? Not bad. Given how much magazines, like the one that employed me, paid actual artists for caricatures, this sort of technology is going to be very disruptive for those talented artists. And not in a good way.
Here are two:
The January 6 report is coming soon…. Now you dear old man (Chairman Thompson)… Whisper what you'll bring to me… Tell me if you can! The main question here is not whether there will be criminal referrals, that’s almost certain, but to what scope and degree the committee will choose. And, in a bit of programming, I’ll be on a family vacation, so there might not be a typical Overtime regimen next week, depending on internet availability.
Speaking of J6… The Committee’s staff is lawyering up, Rolling Stone reports, anticipating what sorts of retribution the slim GOP majority is poised to enact. Adam Rawnsley and Asawin Suebsaeng report:
Anticipating GOP attacks, some current and former staff have asked their supervisors if they should preemptively retain lawyers, or at least look into potential attorneys. Earlier this year, various committee staffers were advised to purchase professional liability insurance in anticipation of a coming GOP counter-investigation, according to two sources familiar with the committee’s work. Both sources say they bought it. When asked by Rolling Stone why they decided to purchase the insurance earlier this year, one of them simply said: “Because I’m not a moron.”
As a former staffer myself, it’s sort of unbelievable that it’s coming to this. Can’t say that I miss it!
Elon’s slash and burn strategy… He may be launching rockets and satellites and building cars, but paying rent for Twitter offices and severance packages? That’s a maybe.
TPM has more texts… And they’re just as scary, embarrassing, and stupid as the last batch. And these are our elected officials.
Duckpin bowling loses its home… At Defector a sad obituary for the home of a dying sport in the DC / MD area. And if you’re from the Old Line State, it’s also the name of a political blog you should follow.
The FTX lawsuit… You can read it here. I only wish there were photos of the arrest in the Bahamas.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.