A thing I've been thinking about is how the US no longer appears capable of what is generally considered "national trauma." Like, post 9/11 or JFK assassination you had this general, collective grief, manifested in things like enormously high presidential approval ratings.
But more than half a million Americans have died of COVID, and there's barely a hint of collective grief.

Which is not surprising when a decent chunk of the country and the leaders that chunk exalts have spent the entire year more or less denying the tragedy's existence.
"For perpetrators, the memory of trauma poses a threat to collective identity that may be addressed by denying history, minimizing culpability for wrongdoing, transforming the memory of the event, closing the door on history, or accepting responsibility."
That's from an Israeli political psychologist/writer, clearly writing about other sorts of national trauma, but I find it instructive. Both for the pandemic AND the Jan 6 attack.
If you supported the politicians demanding the economy reopen and loudly proclaiming that masks are for suckers, and then half a million people die, you're more likely to ignore or deny the issue than to face your culpability in such a slaughter.
A counter-argument could be that covid has been a slow-moving catastrophe, at least compared to a one-time event. But try and imagine the collective response if 9/11 happened tomorrow. Biden sure as shit wouldn't end up with 90% approval within a couple of weeks.
Of course, the country's inability to share in a national trauma is, at least in terms of the national response, probably a good thing! Without 90% approval and so on, do we get the Patriot Act and the forever wars? Maybe not!
Anyway, there is plenty of local, community, family, and individual trauma to go around in the pandemic, even if it isn't reflected in a national conversation, and I hope you're all getting through it okay.

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More from @davelevitan

20 Feb
This study from researchers @Grantham_IC and elsewhere found that solar geoengineering could increase number of El Nino/Nina events, with some changes in magnitude. The selling point is that they ran the model for 1000 years, rather than just ~50. BUT...

...I am not so sure that running a model where the geoengineering portion -- ie, a dimming of the sun's energy in the stratosphere -- is continuous over that whole period is that relevant? The idea in real life would be to use it briefly while emissions are lowered, right?
One of the study authors took the results to mean something pretty definitive about geoengineering, which is almost certainly true but also not really justified by these results.
Read 4 tweets
20 Jan
lol he's just a retiree eating shitty roast beef at a buffet in Florida now
playing the same two golf courses every day for the next six years, hosting the CEO of a mid-sized refrigeration company based in Dayton, texting Eric that no this weekend's no good for a visit maybe next month
berating the help when even the 15th flush won't banish the floater, calling into Judge Jeannine to announce that Kid Rock will play his 4th of July party prompting Kid Rock to tweet "bitch I'm in Cabo," publishing a book called NO COLLUSION ghost-written by Sarah Huckabee
Read 6 tweets
18 Jan
A "successful" what who did what now

By the way, shoutout to Axios for stretching out a single longread into days' worth of clicks and content, really solid work.

Read 5 tweets
18 Jan
It's bad every year but over the last few months the more-or-less-official GOP position has been "Black votes should not count" and they're so depraved that they're still all gleefully throwing MLK quotes into the sky.
It's not the most important line in there, but here's a bit from King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail that GOPers might want to remember:

"Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial 'outside agitator' idea."

Read 4 tweets
18 Jan
Republicans celebrating MLK Day with inspirational tweets who also joined a Supreme Court brief in support of the Texas AG's attempt to nullify millions of Black votes: a thread
Rep. Rick Allen
Rep. Jim Banks
Read 14 tweets
16 Jan
Biden is introducing his science team: pscp.tv/w/1DXGyRlbgPyJM
It's the first time the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has all-female leadership.
[adjusts glasses]

Biden said FDR asked his "science advisor" for guidance in 1944.

But there was no such thing. He asked Vannevar Bush, an unofficial advisor. But there was no such thing as a presidential science advisor for another seven years.

[unadjusts glasses]
Read 7 tweets

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