Conspiracy Theories, Panic, the Lust for Conflict, and Other Stories of the Week.
The Present Age weekly recap: February 3, 2023
Welcome to the weekly recap. In this post, I’ll be linking to my work from the week, sharing some stories from others I thought were interesting, and providing a few casual thoughts on [gestures at everything]. If you’d like to receive this weekly email ONLY, please go to your account page and under “Email notifications” uncheck every box except “TPA Weekly Recap.” If you don’t want to receive the weekly recap, leave all boxes except “TPA Weekly Recap” checked.
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From me this week:
👀 Paul Pelosi and the Right's Problem with Conspiracy Theories: After police bodycam footage of the attack on Paul Pelosi was released, some hoped that’d bring an end to the absurd right-wing conspiracy theories that have surrounded it. Lol, no. [TPA, 1/30/23]
🏳️⚧️ When it comes to anti-trans bills, how much panic is too much panic?: Jude Doyle interviewed me for this story about the flood of anti-trans bills being introduced around the country and what the “right” amount of worry is. [Xtra, Jude Ellison S. Doyle, 1/31/23]
📚 Media’s Lust for Conflict is Failing the Public: Roughly once a month, I write a column for Dame Magazine called The Fourth Estate. The latest edition is a piece about the Biden “documents” scandal and how the mainstream press is covering it. [Dame Magazine, PM, 2/2/23]
🗣️ Parker Molloy on the mainstream media’s anti-trans bias:interviewed me for ’s Substack. We chatted about anti-trans bias in mainstream media. [Public Notice, Noah Berlatsky, 2/3/23]
What I enjoyed reading this week:
🏳️🌈 Inside the audacious new scheme to erase LGBTQ people from Michigan schools: At hisSubstack,has really been knocking it out of the park lately with his coverage of the many, many, many anti-LGBTQ efforts underway across the country. His latest report about the anti-LGBTQ Great Schools Initiative is no exception. [Popular Information, Judd Legum, 1/30/23]
🗳️ The Persecution of Ilhan Omar Has Hit a New Low: The decision to kick Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) off the House Foreign Affairs Committee doesn’t make sense. We should be honest about what this is: not a punishment for saying a handful of antisemitic things years ago (she apologized, and every “new” scandal about this ends up being people wildly twisting her words to make her seem bad — for instance, remember when CNBC tweeted that Leon Cooperman had endorsed “fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg” in the 2020 Democratic primary and she tweeted, “I wonder why,” obviously referring to the “fellow billionaire” aspect of the tweet, only to get accused of antisemitism by the right? See also: the lie that she “downplayed” 9/11). The fact that Republicans have no problem with the woman who blamed forest fires on Jewish “space lasers” and the guy who lied about being a Jewish descendant of Holocaust survivors on committees, but not Omar makes it clear: they’re targeting her because she’s Muslim. [, Katherine Krueger, 2/2/23]
🎸 My Internet: Max Collins (Eve6 Guy): Over at, Eve 6 singer Max Collins talks about his internet set up, his writing, and his music. Max is a genuinely interesting dude (who, yes, you probably best remember from the "Heart in a Blender" song in the late 90s. [Embedded, 2/3/23]
Great interview with Noah Berlatsky. I don't think you can point out often enough the egregious and continuing problems with mainstream media's coverage of trans people.
Also, I wish we would just stop referring to writers (like Matt Yglesias) as "contrarian" when they clearly aren't. While I think he's well worth reading (especially when I don't agree with him), the idea that he's some kind of independent thinking contrarian is laughable.
Consider that faced with two big opportunities to be "contrary" -- Iraq and crypto -- he covered himself in glue and adhered every inch of his body to the conventional wisdom. None of his opinions have any real cost, but instead mostly cater to the biases of his audience. You can say the same thing about many of the other "contrarians" as well.