On Tuesday I decided to pull up The Washington Post’s editorial page, mostly because I was procrastinating because I was supposed to be making gingerbread cookies. It’s been a while since I looked at that page and I was quickly reminded why I avoid it.
First there was a weird essay from George Will—yes, even weird for him—where he was upset about a lot of MAGA stuff. That doesn’t seem odd, right? Well he wasn’t complaining about the MAGA stuff; instead he was repeating it as fact:
The Associated Press’s style mavens said “pregnant women” is acceptable phrasing, although “pregnant people” is more inclusive and preferable to “overly clinical” language such as “people with uteruses” or “birthing people.” In Springfield, Mo., the gender-theory training program for teachers encourages them to assume “gender is a universe” that includes “non-binary,” “pansexual” and “polyamorous.” Although a Black member of Duke’s volleyball team claimed she was “racially heckled throughout the entirety of the match” at Brigham Young University, no one else was found to have heard this, and a video of the event recorded no evidence of it. Still, the usual people were as theatrically dismayed by it as they had been by actor Jussie Smollett’s fictitious encounter with American racism. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says racism is “physically built into some of our highways.”
I mean you and I know that George Will knows damn well what Pete Buttigieg is talking about. What planet is he on that he suddenly doesn’t know that?
Then I saw a guest editorial from 2 professors. They don’t think that indicting TFG is the right way to handle his crimes because it would take too long to hold him accountable. This is their preferred solution:
Special counsel Jack Smith and Attorney General Merrick Garland should take a lesson from Ford’s caution, and defer serious consideration of criminal prosecution until the newly elected Congress has a chance to consider the 14th Amendment option mentioned in a single paragraph by the Jan. 6 committee. Legislation already proposed by Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) and Jamie B. Raskin (Md.) would grant special jurisdiction to a three-judge federal court in the District of Columbia to determine, within three months, whether Trump’s involvement in the assault on Capitol Hill amounted to an “insurrection.” The panel’s decision would receive automatic Supreme Court review.
What planet do these 2 live on? They say that everything should wait until the new Congress is seated can so the body can pick up a Democratic bill related to the 14th Amendment (their academic specialty) to keep TFG from serving another term. Yes, the incoming MAGA House is definitely going to start work on that right away. Absolutely. Good talk. Did they sleep through the midterms?
Finally, I saw this: How ‘The Music Man’ might salve some of our country’s anxieties. I was skeptical so I read it.
“The Music Man” is about the healing nature of the arts. Harold teaches discordant neighbors to live in harmony — quite literally — by transforming the town’s bickering school board into a barbershop quartet. Even bad art, our River City residents learn, can be restorative. The interpretive dances led by the mayor’s wife are wondrously awful. At the show’s end, when the boys’ band bleats an out-of-sync “Minuet in G,” parents nonetheless gush over their children’s sour oom-pah-pahs.
And all’s forgiven.
OK, so far I’m with her. I do believe in the healing nature of art. But here’s how it concludes:
It’s this forgiveness, lubricated by love and music, that makes “The Music Man” so seductive. A community has been hoodwinked by an admitted fraud. Townspeople could have emerged humiliated, suspicious, divided. Instead, somehow, they emerge from their collective trauma stronger and more tightly knit than before. Harold’s manipulations have opened them up, rather than closed them off.
They were lied to, yes; but ultimately they realize they wanted to be lied to. Even better, the con man isn’t so much a psychopathic shyster as a misguided cheerleader with an overactive imagination. No wonder everyone can just move on!
If only we could all live in River City.
I’ve written about magical thinking before and here it’s embarrassing and reflects badly on The Washington Post. Rampell has a far-reaching platform and she uses it by telling us she wants to live in a cartoon world, where criminals always give up their life of crime, so no tough decisions ever have to be made. Because crime magically goes away when bad people suddenly become good, no one has to confront the reality of poverty or addiction. Or, for that matter since the Music Man world is predominately white, racism.
I’m not surprised that she has a place she likes to disappear into—we all have favorite books or movies or plays or music that take us out of our element and supply us with peace, creativity, and renewal. But what planet do you have to live on to tell thousands, if not millions, of people that your escape is a world full of middle-class white people?
Maybe there’s life on Mars we can appeal to.