Outside Reading — Unzipped edition

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Donald Trump’s USPS Attacks Threaten to Disrupt 2020 Election by Lily Herman

Of all the colossal absurdities in a political era defined by them, perhaps none is quite so absurd than the fact that concerted effort is now required to keep the marauders in the White House — and, really, the entirety of the GOP — from strategically dismantling the U.S. Postal Service. The agency is one of the most inarguably beneficial public goods provided the government, particularly for the rural communities and military veterans who are eagerly exploited by the grotesque opportunists on the rightward portion of the nation’s political spectrum. So it must of course be eradicated. This long-standing goal of the Republicans has been given an infusion of jet fuel because the abjectly amoral figure at the top of the party is committed to making it as difficult as possible for citizens to vote. Her words laced with the proper animosity, Lily Herman provides an exceptional breakdown of the particulars for Teen Vogue.

 

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Jerry Falwell Jr. and the Evangelical Redemption Story by Elizabeth Spiers

Writing for The New York Review of Books, Elizabeth Spiers uses the prompt of the most recent scandal involving well-compensated hypocrite Jerry Falwell Jr. to explore the more pervasive rot of evangelical Christianity as practiced in the U.S. Spiers knows whereof she types, having grown up in the sort of environment that enacts controls on people — especially women — by touting strict adherence to supposed biblical principles while blithely allowing powerful white men to flout them as long as they feign regret at some point. It’s a helluva scam.

 

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Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert

I’m skeptical that I’ll set foot in a movie theater before the end of the year, but I still need to do a little prep for one of the big year-end releases, just in case. Frank Herbert’s thick hunk of science fiction, which spawned five more novel written by him and then about a jillion co-written by his kid, is somehow dense and deft at the same time. Dune has some of the headlong energy of the pulp adventure world that provided his start as a professional writer and a whole lot of the castle-intrigue posturing that started to slope science fiction towards its sword-and-shield cousin, fantasy. Then, around ten years later, took the basic lessons of Herbert’s hybrid and ran with them, shifting the culture forever.

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