Presumably like most people who read this article, I finished it and then immediately went off to read Snows of Kilimanjaro, trying to understand it as McCain did. Like @MarkSalter55, I remembered it as a story of heartbreaking regret.
Upon re-reading it, I discovered that it is indeed a story of heartbreaking regret. There's no other way to read it.

If you read it in middle-age, during a pandemic, from the bedroom where you've sat for months--
--months that increasingly seem like years, stale, flat, weary and unprofitable, slowly reviewing, in your mind, the ambitions of your youth, your memories of Paris and Istanbul when you were younger--
you'll be at a loss to see how anyone, McCain included, could read it any other way.

It's not a story of aspiration. It's a story of failed aspiration.

Not that I'd have any insight into how that feels, mind you.

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More from @ClaireBerlinski

14 Oct
I'm just going to call attention to this again, because it's really bizarre. In May, I sent out a series of newsletters, deploring our hysterical culture, titled "The Years of Living Hysterically."…
Gingrich subscribes to my newsletter. In May, I was pleasantly surprised—if puzzled—to see a recent surge in subscribers. Then I saw why. Newt Gingrich had recommended my newsletter on Fox News.
I was dismayed, however, when I read the column, as I explained:…. I was discussing hysteria in the context of the Me Too movement. He felt the notion of the "hysterical culture" explained what--at the time--he thought a hysterical overreaction to Covid-19.
Read 15 tweets
10 Oct
Here are some questions I have about a post-Trump world.
1. I would describe the Trump presidency as a national trauma. The trauma has involved *humiliating loss,* one of the most potent and destructive of human emotions--
--and an emotion, many have observed, that often gives rise to deep clinical depression.

Among those who didn't support him, Trump has attacked our narcissistic pride. Our pride in being Americans; in believing Americans were immune to low-rent, third-world demagoguery;
our pride in believing ourselves, deep down, to be *serious* and *responsible* people; our pride in our system of governance--which wasn't supposed to create results like a Trump Presidency.
Read 11 tweets
9 Oct
More from the indictment, which is horrifying. They came to the attention of the Feds because one of them became uneasy about the plan to kill cops.
They met at a "Second Amendment rally." They planned to "storm the Capitol building" and take hostages.
June 25: They call Whitmer a "this tyrant bitch" because gyms are closed. Recall Trump's Tweets:
Read 13 tweets
9 Oct
Trump has always sounded like this. Remember the crazy conspiracy theories about Obama and calling Hillary "the Devil?" Those weren't signs of desperation, that's his personality. (That's why it's called a personality disorder.)
Yes, it's getting worse--but that's age and stress, and possibly illness. It's not some kind of marked change, not at all. If this didn't bother voters last time around, it probably won't bother them this time around.
What *will* bother them, though, is having lived through four years of a personality-disordered president--and seeing for themselves that this hasn't in the least made America great again--but rather diseased, poor, chaotic, and nearly as nuts as he is.
Read 5 tweets
8 Oct…

This is critical. I was once a skeptic about the value of soft power, but I am a skeptic no more. Only if we get our own house in order will we prevail.
Our current inability to govern ourselves, our violence, inability to control disease--Covid19, but also all manner of epidemic disease from addiction to suicide to obesity--and our inability to cooperate to achieve great, or even reasonably good things,
has darkened the prestige of our political model, internationally. If our system fails, visibly, to promote human well-being and flourishing, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics will sound better and better--and not just in China. It is a true contest of ideas.
Read 4 tweets
7 Oct
So this is where, @TommyAmenta, I see support for my hypothesis that this isn't political anymore; it's not precisely a religion, but it has more in common with a religion than a political movement as we usually conceive of it. The fundamental thesis of the Trump Presidency--
"I will keep you safe from bad, dangerous, impure foreign things"--has been about as comprehensively repudiated as it could be. Yet it doesn't matter. That "support for the President" number stays stable--42 percent--no matter what happens, no matter what's revealed,
no matter how much personal suffering people are experiencing because the President is bad at his job, no matter how clear it is that nothing he says is true and nothing he does has made America better in any way.
Read 9 tweets

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