Elizabeth Spiers Profile picture
SPY-ers. The Insurrection (digital, polling for Dems). Ex editor in chief, The New York Observer, NYU j-school prof, 'Bama native, Brooklyn resident. She/her.
So Into Italy My Blood is Rated DOCG🍝🇮🇹🇮🇹🍝 Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
18 Jan
The idea that there are two sides to every argument is not controversial. The problem is treating both sides as equally valid, which no journalist should ever do when that's not the truth. No one needs to "hear out" the flat earthers.
In fact, airing views that we know to be false or dangerous as if they're legitimately the "other side of the argument" commits a major journalistic sin by credentializing them, even if that's not the intention.
Truth can't be sacrificed at the altar of some completely fictional notion of objectivity that's conflated with neutrality. Equally toxic: an idea of intellectual diversity that says all opinions are equal, and airing terrible ones contributes to the rigor of the public discourse
Read 7 tweets
17 Jan
I do not understand the rationale for not giving her a second waiver. It worked beautifully the first time, and Dem leadership can't argue that she underperformed. This makes no sense.
And it's rare that you have a House member that understands the financial services sector well enough to really hold it accountable. The ways in which financial institutions skirt accountability and sometimes law, have gotten way more sophisticated.
Her domain expertise is incredibly valuable, and now they're not using it.
Read 4 tweets
15 Jan
I keep seeing people on here suggest that making fun of the neo-Nazis undermines an understanding of how dangerous they are. I disagree. I think ridiculing them is both good and necessary. A short thread:
First: ridiculing Nazis is a great American tradition: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great…
Satire is a potent cultural weapon and has been utilized in a political context since ancient times. It serves several functions: in a scenario where it's used to skewer people in power, it's a way to speak truth to power.
Read 10 tweets
12 Jan
My senior year in college, we had to write a collaborative paper in an advanced class, kind of as preparation for doing collaborative work in grad school. I gave it some pretentious academic-ish title like Assessing Normative Patterns of Restraint in Iterative Terrorist Activity
A more intelligible title would have been something like Why Don't Terrorists Just Go For Broke Every Time? The thesis was that any terrorist group with concrete political goals was somewhat predictable and would value legitimacy over, say, armageddon.
And it included case studies where terrorist factions became legitimate political entities, and so on. The one exception seemed to be religious apocalyptic terrorists who had some eschatological end goal. Cult-y types.
Read 7 tweets
1 Jan
I'm a nerd re: productivity systems, so here's a thread of some books and things that helped me this year, and might be helpful for some of you making New Year's resolutions:
I like books that use behavioral science and / or neuroscience to guide recommendations. To that end, @bjfogg 's Tiny Habits is really good. Maybe the best productivity book I read all year. amazon.com/dp/B07LC9KDP5/…
The best one I read last year was @jamesclear's Atomic Habits. It's a quick, easy read and it prompted me to start habit tracking, which has been really useful: amazon.com/dp/B01N5AX61W/…
Read 9 tweets
24 Dec 20
I was always nice and polite to Charlie Kushner but because I had the temerity to disagree with Jared, he called me a "fucking bitch" behind my back. Which is in keeping with how controlling he is. And let's just say I'm already wary of people who try to blackmail their siblings.
But I honestly don't get what he gets out of a pardon. He's been out of prison for quite a while and it's not like a pardon makes anyone think he did nothing wrong. Especially not the people whose opinions he cares about.
If anything it seems like there would be a Streisand Effect. It makes the entire country more aware of what he did to need a pardon in the first place. So what's the point? It doesn't launder his reputation.
Read 7 tweets
11 Dec 20
5 year old, the epic negotiator, is minutely grilling me about potential loopholes in Santa's naughty / nice list. Questions he is asking: 1. what ratio of listening to your parents vs not listening to your parents gets you transferred from the nice list to the naughty one?
2. Is not familiar with the term "pro rata" but basically asked if a little bit if naughtiness would reduce the number of presents he gets proportionately.
3. Points out that he was supposed to clean his room before we got a Christmas tree or Santa would notice and he did not clean his room and we got a tree anyway and how strictly are these rules enforced?
Read 12 tweets
22 Nov 20
I got tested in a pop up in Kensington yesterday and a woman came by super pissed that they weren't rapid tests (which from what I understand have a lot of false negatives because you have to be more heavily infected).
Turn around the regular brain tickler test is 24 - 48 hours, and the only reason I can think of that you absolutely couldn't wait that long is if you were getting one before you get on a plane, or something.
The two techs, who were lovely and patient, and dealing with a long line and a line of dumb shit, were in the middle of sticking a swab up my up my son's nose, and they kind of exchanged a look.
Read 5 tweets
21 Nov 20
This is not about free expression. The "opinions" the strong conservatives are afraid to share are not about their economic theories. They're about race. There is racism all along the ideological spectrum but strong liberals are not pushing eugenics.
So of course the strong liberals feel like they can share their opinions--they don't have the right's investment in bigoted theories. This does not mean the left is more anti-free expression; it means they know they're less likely to be held accountable because of social norms.
And we have social norms that generally reject bigotry because we have a more productive and healthy society with them. This is not the left oppressing the right.
Read 4 tweets
20 Nov 20
Someone asked me about whether I'd do substack and I already have a substack! It's just not about me whining about cancel culture. But I haven't updated it in a while. It was a quaran-zine: quaranzinenyc.substack.com/p/quaranzine-i…
I kind of dropped it when the protests started because it was designed to be about the experience of being holed up in inside all the time, and the isolation that goes with it. But then suddenly everything felt very external.
It was a nice coping mechanism, though. Might figure out a way to revive it.
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov 20
Trump's transition team was a disaster and now he's trying to sabotage Biden's. Some excerpts from Michael Lewis's The Fifth Risk about the Trump transition below.
Christie had to explain to Trump that he was legally required to have a transition team / plan. Trump's reaction when Christie et al put one together:
Then they fired the transition team:
Read 9 tweets
16 Nov 20
Told my mom earlier that we won't be coming to AL for Christmas because of covid. (Thanksgiving was already out of the question.) No one's happy about it, but risk is getting higher, not lower. Traveling during busy season (and it will be busy, even with covid) is risky.
Seeing family members without quarantining before is risky. Being indoors for extended period of time without social distancing and mask wearing is risky. We know all of this. So here's the way I'm trying to think about it:
Vaccine schedules look good. WAY better than I would have imagined a few months ago. I figured we'd be doing zoom school until 2022, but I'm admittedly pessimistic about everything.
Read 6 tweets
15 Nov 20
We get it. You've picked the side of the fascists because you think they're your political future. The video you're referencing shows conservatives trying to beat up a protestor and you're intentionally promoting the isolated clip where the protestor tries to fight back.
You know it's manipulated media because even if you were gullible enough to fall for it, given the sources, you surround yourself with a small army of PR and media professionals who will tell you otherwise. So you are propagating a lie because it's politically convenient.
And "If this went the other way" is the truly laughable part. In Charlottesville a protester was killed, intentionally, by a conservative. Her name was Heather Heyer. Your father called the people who did it "very fine people".
Read 6 tweets
14 Nov 20
I'm not saying I recommend eating an edible and listening to Matthew Mcconaughey's memoir on Audible but I don't... not.
Kudos to his ghostwriter btw. It's not bad.
Should also mention that McConaughey reads his own memoir in the audio version--sometimes dramatically.
Read 4 tweets
12 Nov 20
I talked to NPR for a few mins earlier about the progressive critiques of how we're running campaigns, and not sure I really got across (with any nuance) what I wanted to say, but here it is: wbur.org/hereandnow/202…
Maybe I should write something longer, but some expanded points that have less to do with progressive v moderates on policy than the fact that strategy for Dems is dictated heavily in federal races by moderates with an established paradigm about how to message:
Dem messaging tends to be very top down, and when messaging for a bluer district leans more progressive, there's backlash. You're seeing this now with complaints that Rs are weaponizing antipathy towards socialism and police reform.
Read 17 tweets
11 Nov 20
IMO his base would have thought that anyway. They've bought into a narrative that anything Trump has done or might have done pales in comparison to the evil they can imagine (without evidence) Democrats doing.
This is a recurring conversation I have with Trumpist members of my family. Shitposting disinformation for example is fine because "Dems do worse". When I ask them for evidence they insist that it's something everyone just knows.
So I ask them who specifically these evil Democrats are and they spit out some Gateway Pundit caricature of Pelosi or Schumer or AOC. I am the only Democrat they know well. "Oh but not you" they say.
Read 4 tweets
8 Nov 20
We already empathize with Trump supporters on policy. We want them all to have healthcare, to make a living wage, to have a fair and equal justice system. We don't have to empathize with them because they voted against those things and lost.
Everyone I know who was upset about Trump winning was upset because we knew he'd hurt a lot of people. The Trump supporters I know who are upset are mostly upset because he can't hurt the right people anymore. It's not the same impulse.
So while there's no need to behave like they did, maybe give them some time to experience the normalcy of a Biden presidency and think about what they did when they voted for Trump. They don't get to sweep it under the rug yet.
Read 5 tweets
5 Nov 20
I'm not sure the problem is that we don't understand it. It's that there are certain things that are not reconcilable. Bipartisan work involves tradeoffs and compromise not necessarily consensus.
Which is not to say that there *aren't* people who don't understand the motives of Trump voters, but that's certainly not the case for, say, those of us who have Trumpist families in red states. I also think people don't understand the difficulty of actual political persuasion
Or how, when it happens, it tends to happen slowly and incrementally.
Read 5 tweets
5 Nov 20
I don't want to sound like a broken record on this, but if you think the left is overreaching on social issues but you insist that you're not racist, maybe don't use the word "woke" derisively. You can talk about overreach without doing that.
It's a word that comes out of the Black activist community and when you use it as a slur, you're telegraphing disrespect for people who are fighting for their civil rights. Maybe you only *mean* to insult overprivileged white hipsters. It doesn't matter. It's still disrespectful
And a lot of people I've seen do this are professional writers. You have the language at your disposal. Use it.
Read 4 tweets
5 Nov 20
This is a sentiment centrists keep making with no empirical evidence to support it. And the thing is, progressives went all in on Biden once he was the candidate. They worked on the campaign, activists got their orgs to do GOTV, people showed up.
The idea that progressives (or the "woke" as racist conservatives who are Republicans like to call them) are limiting reach for Democrats is just wrong. Empirically and strategically. Not only are they not preventing Dems from winning, you cannot win without them.
Look at where our crucial victories are right now. Do you think Detroit is a bastion of crypto-conservatives? Atlanta? Full of Rs who's be Ds if we jettisoned LGBTQ rights? Reproductive rights? No. That's stupid.
Read 6 tweets
4 Sep 20
Two of my siblings, my dad, and three of my grandfathers served in the military. (I was adopted, so have more grandpas than most people.) My sister Bobbi just retired from service a couple of weeks ago.
All of them joined for different reasons, but all of them joined in part because they thought of it as public service, something that the president can't wrap his head around because the concept of sacrifice for others is completely alien to him.
(Also kind of thinking particularly of my grandfather Apolinar, the good looking guy on the left here, a decorated veteran and 1st gen Mexican-American who served in the 82nd Airborne. Stephen Miller would have probably tried to deport him.)
Read 5 tweets