Thursday, August 24, 2017

Short Posts, 8/24/17: Trump as the New Bannon, The Death of Empathy And Other Topics

1.  The firing of Stephen K. Bannon is too little, too late, if the intention was to limit the power and influence of white (male) supremacists inside the Trump administration.  It's like waiting until a cancer has metastasized before removing only the very first tumor found.  But white supremacists need not worry, given that Trump still appears to spout all their basic values.

At this point you might think about the rate at which a certain kind of fascist thinking is becoming normalized at the highest levels of the US government.  So.

2.  A science envoy to the State Department, Daniel Kammen, has resigned, as a protest to Trump's clear penchant for racism and sexism and his clear disgust with the core values of a democracy.  The first letters in the paragraphs of Kammen's resignation letter spell "impeach."

Impeachment is unlikely, as long as the Republicans are firmly determined to let Trump cavort on their shoulders, though the hidden message is fun to find.

I'm not sure if resignation is a good strategy in the fight against the Turd Reich, though I get its appeal.  But if all rational people leave the administration, won't things get even worse?

3.  The New York Times coverage of the death of Kim Wall, a Swedish journalist whose mutilated body was found in Denmark, has been criticized by some readers of that paper:

One point that arose was that some commentators in the Scandinavian press and on social media thought this grisly crime eerily evoked a plot from a well-known Danish TV crime series, “The Bridge.” The show is about the span that connects Copenhagen and Malmo, Sweden, the locations in question. (Ms. Wall grew up near Malmo.) In our coverage, we pointed out that comparisons to the series were being made.
Some of our readers called this comparison insulting to Ms. Wall.
Alice Driver, a journalist, wrote on Twitter: “Really poor choice by @nytimes to use the murder of a female journalist to ruminate on Scandinavian thrillers.”
I have read about the case in several European newspapers.  Because I didn't then plan to write on it, I didn't analyze why I felt uncomfortable with the tone of several articles.

A whiff of death porn in the coverage?  A slight tilt toward turning a horrible story where a real person has died into an intellectual puzzle, as if it came from some fictional crime series?  A result of the gradual waning of empathy I seem to spot online whenever people discuss some recent horror, such as a terrorist attack,  where the victims become political chess pawns to be manipulated but not really acknowledged as formerly breathing, living, feeling individuals?

My thoughts are still pretty fuzzy on this.  But sometimes I really dislike my fellow humans' online behavior.

4.  I ate the first cucumber from the two plants in my garden and it was delicious.  To find it under a broad leaf was exciting!  It looked like a real cucumber!  It tasted like one, too.