The Present Age Weekly Recap: August 26, 2022
Very fine people, student debt, Salman Rushdie, history lessons, and more.
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.
The Present Age is the 100% subscriber-funded home of Parker Molloy’s writing on media, culture, politics, and more. Sign up to support my work.
From me this week (and last week): Salman Rushdie, fine people, student debt, and a very hoax-y history
Way back on August 15, I wrote a piece about the very bizarre attempts among center-right pundits to try to turn the attempted assassination of Salman Rushdie into some sort of odd referendum on “cancel culture” nonsense.
On the 19th, I published the first in a two-part series about the five-year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., how then-president Trump responded to it, and how his supporters tried to rewrite that history.
And then on Tuesday, I published the second installment, which focused on the rewrite campaign.
Next week, I’m publishing a not-so-secret “secret” part three that will be for paid subscribers only. If you’re a paying subscriber, keep your eyes peeled for that. If you’re not yet a paying subscriber, you can do that here:
And then on Wednesday, I published a few quick thoughts about President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, the underreported aspects of it, and double standards in media when it comes to discussing the “fairness” of public policy.
Naturally, that announcement resulted in a bunch of people on the right recycling the one joke they have:
Was there anything you read this week that you enjoyed and want to recommend to others? Let me know down in the comments.
Posts from others I want to highlight:
Jessica Valenti broke a big story yesterday about an influential anti-abortion activist getting arrested for solicitation of a minor and his organization’s attempts to quietly scrub all references to him from their online presence.
Over at her Lucid Substack, Ruth Ben-Ghiat had a great post about the centrality of self-victimhood within authoritarian movements.
Stories by AI is one of my guilty pleasure newsletter reads. It’s exactly what it sounds like: short fiction, written by AI, illustrated by AI, and narrated by AI. Yes, there’s still a human element to it all. No, the stories aren’t necessarily what I would call “great.” But this is an interesting experiment and (I think) a really creative use of newsletters. I’m interested to see how much things change over time, for this and other similar projects.
Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner have a piece over at Steady on a topic I’ve written about on more than one occasion: the weaponization of words, the creation of all-purpose insults to apply to policy and people alike without ever having firm definitions.
Earlier this week, I was about halfway through a piece about the sudden flood of articles about “quiet quitting.” The gist was that this term, which seems to mean simply doing the job you are paid to do, is being thrown around in the press for the sake of “lazy millennials/lazy gen-Z” articles. But as I was writing it, I saw that Ed Zitron had tackled the topic, completely nailing my exact thoughts. Rather than finish mine, I’m just going to recommend that everyone check out his story.