Claire Potter Profile picture
Historian @TheNewSchool. Co-executive editor @PublicSeminar. @nytimes writer. Pre-order "Political Junkies" (Basic Books, 2020) here:
25 Mar 19
What seems most obvious to me about the reception of the #MuellerReport is that media, and citizens, on the left and the right have not yet learned that taking extreme positions on something that, as yet, we know very little about. THREAD
For example, go ahead and crap on #WilliamBarr if you like, but we do not know that he has not characterized the report correctly BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT YET SEEN IT.
My friends on the left take the absence of a condemnation of Trump in the letter as evidence of more corruption. And surely, even though we have been repeatedly warned that removing the President has perils, somehow waiting to defeat him in an election seems intolerable.
Read 16 tweets
20 Feb 19
Thanks to the #GovernmentShutdown it took a while to get the comments for my (once again failed) application to the @NEHgov for my book. Some thoughts: (thread)
I am very grateful to the people who volunteer to do this job. It's a great kindness to participate in giving away money to OTHER PEOPLE to do their work, thus sacrificing their own time. I am sincere about that. Even to those of you who found my project unworthy.
That said, People who evaluate my scholarship seem to fall into two categories: those who really seem to love it, and think I am innovative and interesting, and those who think I should go sell real estate for a living. This phenomenon has affected me my whole career.
Read 17 tweets
11 Feb 19
Saw the Mr. Rogers documentary last night, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" and found myself deeply touched, often to the point of tears, by Fred Rogers' deep and profound commitment to the well-being of children. THREAD
He was a pastor, for those of you who don't know, and chose children as his ministry. Television as the "location," or virtual space, for that ministry. His critique of the medium also acknowledged its power and permanence, and he was outraged by the cynicism of commercial shows.
Commercial TV, he argued, viewed children not just as future consumers, but as citizens who would inhabit a profoundly violent and cruel society, and thus TV was violent and cruel -- full of punches, humiliation, degradation, and disgust.
Read 11 tweets
7 Feb 19
In episode 2 of Marie Kondo, we have a Japanese woman helping a Japanese-American family declutter their home (note: this married couple are more than borderline hoarders.) They have one whole room devoted to the wife's vast collection of Christmas decorations.
In the bedroom, there is a tottering tower of cardboard boxes, which contains the husband's vast collection of baseball cards. Also this couple has an Extremely Worried Son. And I won't even tell you about the garage.
Marie Kondo's genius is that there is NO STIGMA. None. She just smiles, smiles graciously at the wife's few words of bad Japanese, which -- when she tries to use them -- is deeply endearing. As is her collection of fifty Nutcracker Prince Xmas decorations (btw: its April.)
Read 10 tweets
26 Jan 19
More education on internet safety, from the person many people recently tagged as an apologist for white supremacy. THREAD
the current FB meme going around that asks you to, without stating your birthplace, say something that would identify it, is a potential way that you are contributing to your own security breaches.
Why? You ask. It's a game, right? NO.
Read 5 tweets
2 Jan 19
Listen up, job candidates at #aha19 and #mla19: I have been thinking about a tweet in which someone said some version of: "I don't know anyone who has ever had a good experience at an @AHAhistorians interview." I have interviewed, and been interviewed, and here is what I know.
I always get charged up for interviews. I am hugely competitive, and so I always see them as an opportunity, not a hurdle. And one crucial thought is: you will fail at most interviews, but you have a *chance* to succeed at every one.
I am not sure a conference job interview is ever a comfortable space, because each interview is a challenge. By definition, a challenge *is* uncomfortable, because you are doing something you cannot prepare well enough for. This is often harder for a good student, like you.
Read 19 tweets
30 Dec 18
Everybody getting ready for #AHA19? This is your @AHAhistorians program chair speaking, with some hints for how to have the best meeting ever. Some of you are old hands – for others this is your first meeting! Let’s get started.
First, we are going to Chicago, people: it’s going to be cold, but not legendary Chicago cold: mid 30s to low 40s, and I am seeing no precipitation until Tuesday. This is good news: no need for boots or extra layers. Put boots in your car in case there is snow when you return.
I am seeing some fashion anxiety on line. Anyone who knows me also knows I cannot help you with that. BUT: #1 rule, whether you are interviewing or not, is be as comfortable in your skin as you possibly can be. Because this is about yr. mind, not yr. appearance.
Read 30 tweets
29 Nov 18
I have been trying to think about what activated my defence of @theorygurl's essay in the @nytimes. As in most social media convos, it was as much about me as it was about her, and it also has to do with principles that have crystallized for me since I became an editor. THREAD
Whether I think she is right or wrong, fair or unfair, @theorygurl is a breath of fresh air, particularly in a queer left academic world that does many things right, but has become stultifyingly conformist, defensive, & unable to acknowledge the privilege that it has accrued.
I do not entirely spurn gatekeeping, but I detest the forms of gatekeeping that shut down speech in the name of a set of community rules, rules that define what we can and cannot discuss openly, or in mixed company, that no one has agreed to.
Read 17 tweets
15 Nov 18
Just catching up with the "controversial" @chronicle article featuring Jill Lepore, and aside from a couple random responses, I would like to say the following. THREAD
First, I consider Jill to be a friend, so if you want to engage her fairly, fine. But you go through me first.
Second, Jill isn't on Twitter, and trashing her here is unbecoming. Twitter trashing -- says . someone who has been the object of it -- is unbecoming in general. But do y'all crap on your colleagues when they are not in the room? Because that is basically what you are doing.
Read 10 tweets
10 Nov 18
This is the kind of story where people always assume that Trump's violent rhetoric has actually caused it: I don't think so.…
Women bloggers like me were seeing this kind of behaviour as far back as the Bush administration.
I think Trump gives them targets -- but I also think we should reverse the historical equation.
Read 6 tweets
9 Nov 18
More lessons from the hospital. In the last chapter we discussed the inability of a self-described, "award winning"and "world famous" hospital to deliver the standard of care that you might expect for $250-300K, despite having a caring staff. Now, let's go to politics. THREAD
We are two families to a room. Our family is a CNN/MSNBC bunch of liberal-leftists. My wife and her sister have fathers, different ones, who were Communists. But I digress.
Read 19 tweets
9 Nov 18
Am waiting for a friend in a NYC hospital whose marketing materials bill it as "world famous" and "award winning," and it teaches volumes about the state of health care in the United States today. THREAD
I am sure they are doing great research, and have superb docs; the nursing staff is terrific and kind. And yet....
Read 11 tweets
19 Oct 18
Last night, I listened to the final installment of @Slate's "Slow Burn," about the Starr investigation. Episode 8 is about the rape accusation made against @BillClinton by Juanita Broaddrick, a nursing home owner who worked on his 1978 campaign. That's her on the right:
Like most of the podcast, it was beautifully done: the way @LeonNeyfakh handles women's stories is a model for good historical work. The interview w/ #LindaTripp, for example contains a great twist where confesses he has secretly recorded her as she recorded #MonicaLewinsky.
@LeonNeyfakh's treatment of #MonicaLewinsky also reveals her as simultaneously emotionally young and vulnerable; as a woman with tremendous agency; and as a tough cookie who deserved better than to have been made a figure of fun on the political left and the right.
Read 12 tweets