It was reported yesterday that Fox News host Sean Hannity is taking an unexpected vacation amidst mounting backlash from his advertisers for his embrace of the bizarre and moronic conspiracy theory surrounding the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. For those unfamiliar with the case, Rich was murdered in an apparent botched robbery last July; the internet, of course, wasn’t satisfied with the official explanation for his death. And since Seth Rich was a DNC staffer, conspiracy theorists — with their Rain Man-esque compulsion to make everything, no matter how small, fit into a larger and more sinister picture — decided his death was no mere coincidence.
I recently came across an article by Katy Waldman on Slate titled “Against Retweeting Trump’s Old Tweets.” In it, Waldman makes a case that the popular practice of retweeting Donald Trump’s old tweets whenever his current actions contradict his previously-stated positions is, in fact, a Bad Thing To Do. The title alone was enough to spark my annoyance: someone deemed it worthwhile to sit down and compose a 1,200-word finger-wag about the perils of holding the President accountable for his past comments, as though this practice — which consists of finding an old Trump tweet and tapping twice on your phone in the hope that an internet stranger will find it humorous enough to like it, retweet it, or (dare to dream) follow you — will doom our society and therefore must be contained.
First-person essays have been around as long as the craft of writing itself, and they’ve enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years. It’s easy to see why: from an editorial standpoint, first-person narratives offer a potentially unique take on a particular topic, and the outlet that runs them is able to offer a perspective that none of their competitors have. From a more cynical business-side view, since these essays are typically the work of freelancers or unpaid contributors, the outlet risks very little in terms of money or exposure while potentially reaping the benefits if the piece goes viral.
I woke up this morning to a text from my fiancée. It was a link to an article titled “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being,” written by John Vercher for Cognoscenti. I felt a pang of recognition; you see, I’d written an essay by the same title over a year ago. I’d shopped it around to various outlets, but didn’t receive any responses. I wasn’t surprised by the lack of interest; it is (necessarily) long, and I doubt there’s much of a market for first-person essays about biracial people who identify as black but present as white.
Leading up to the election last November, I was all-in on Hillary Clinton. This was due in equal measure to her impressive résumé as a career public servant, her capabilities as a politician, and her vision for America’s future. It also helped that, unlike a lot of people my age, I never fully bought into the notion that Bernie Sanders was a better candidate, even though Bernie’s views are far more closely aligned with my own than Hillary’s were. Many of Bernie’s proposals sounded wonderful, but they also demonstrated either a) an overabundance of wishful thinking, or b) a lack of pragmatism, neither of which are typically qualities I look for in a President. Sure, free college for everyone sounds wonderful, but with a Republican-majority Congress – one that doesn’t even see fit to allocate any money to keep people, y’know, alive – it’s a pipe dream. And while Hillary’s proposals were derided for not thinking big enough, in all likelihood, she had much higher odds of passing some of her more moderate legislation than Bernie would have if he were elected.
But it didn’t matter. She lost anyway.