Assorted Links from Recent Weeks

About George Santos’s fictional resume, Tucker Carlson’s year of being wrong, Avatar 2’s “ecological Indian” cliche, the hypocrisy of right-wing “free thinkers,” Thomas Frank on the lack of imagination of Democrats, DeSantis and vaccines, book banning, and two religious graphics.


Slate, 22 Dec 2022: A List of All the Things George Santos Has Lied About, subtitled “No, he is not Jewish, he did not lose several employees in a mass shooting, and he was not a landlord.”

One of many articles about this guy. He’s apparently made up his entire resume. Republicans, remarkably, or perhaps not, don’t seem to care, as long as he can be counted on to vote Republican.


Washington Post, Greg Sargent, 23 Dec 2022: Opinion | Tucker Carlson’s rage at Zelensky caps a year of getting things wrong


Slate, Ryler Austin Harper, 20 Dec 2022: Avatar 2 Is a Sappy Valentine to the Myth of the “Ecological Indian”, subtitled “The sequel tries to sidestep white saviorism—and stumbles right into another familiar pitfall.”

It is a long, saccharine love letter to the myth of the “ecological Indian.”

Popularized by the anthropologist Shepard Krech in the late ’90s, the ecological Indian is a term scholars and activists use to describe the idealization of Indigenous life in Western media. Usually, images of the ecological Indian portray historical Native Americans—historical because Natives are almost always consigned to history—as having had a singular, nearly mystical connection to the natural world. According to this cherished cultural myth, Native Americans were the “original environmentalists,” people who mostly sat around ripping the peace pipe and fraternizing with wolves and sundry woodland creatures until the colonizers got here and screwed everything up. A subclassification of the “noble savage” stereotype, this widespread myth reduces the complex and heterogeneous array of Native cultures on the North American continent to one flattened, crunchy green core.

Got it. The article goes on.


AlterNet, Alex Henderson, 19 Dec 2022: Why right-wing anti-woke ‘free thinkers’ are total hypocrites: journalist

Summary in first para:

In right-wing media, it isn’t hard to find pundits who relentlessly rail against “woke culture,” “cancel culture” and “the thought police” — only to turn around and exclude the viewpoints of Rep. Liz Cheney, attorney George Conway and anyone else on the right who is critical of Trumpism and the MAGA movement. Countless right-wing pundits view themselves as enemies of groupthink, but Fox News, Fox Business and Newsmax TV are hardly full of hosts who go out of their way to hear what non-MAGA conservatives, let alone liberals and progressives, have to say.


NY Times, Thomas Frank, 29 Dec 2022: The Deadly Lack of Imagination in the Democratic Party

Frank is the author of the book What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, which I have not read. So what does he mean here about lack of imagination?

He talks about the “dynamism” on the right, the results of that, and how “The Republican Party must be defeated overwhelmingly and for years to come.”

For all their love of creativity and innovation, however, there is a deadly lack of imagination in the way modern Democrats play the game.


Sizable majorities of Americans desperately want traditional liberal measures like universal health care and economic fairness. But actually, existing liberalism, with its air of upper-crust contempt and its top-down moralism, rubs this deeply democratic nation exactly the wrong way.

These things are obvious when viewed from a certain distance, but liberals, intoxicated by their own righteousness, can never figure it out. They keep expecting the right to die off, as if poisoned by its diet of wickedness, and yet the Republicans persist, dreaming up new culture wars against the “liberal elite,” radicalizing themselves continually along the way, refusing to succumb.

Ending with:

An extremist Republican Party may indeed be one of the country’s biggest political problems, as the president has suggested. But liberalism from the top down, which has prevented Democrats from capturing the imagination of what ought to be a Democratic era, is certainly another. And that, at least, we can do something about.


Washington Post editorial, 18 Dec 2022: Opinion | Vaccines saved lives. DeSantis threatens that progress.

Salon, Heather Digby Parton, 9 Dec 2022: Ron DeSantis’ gruesome campaign plan: I’m the genius who defeated COVID — and let thousands die, subtitled “Ron DeSantis hopes to beat Trump by running as the manly man who rejects vaccines and welcomes mass death”


Washington Post, E.J. Dionne Jr., 18 Dec 2022: Opinion | Book banning is bad policy. Let’s make it bad politics.


Two religious lagniappes.

Via Jerry Coyne:

Also via Jerry Coyne, quoting one Norwegian comedian Dag Søras.

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