Outside Reading — Postmarked Democracy edition

Voter Fraud Is a Right-Wing Fiction by John Nichols

It can’t be put much plainer — or more accurately — than it is in the headline to this article by John Nichols, published by The Nation. The cheap hand-wringing of Republican officials and professional right-wing bloviators has been especially prominent during this year’s election cycle, the party’s instinct to cling to power taking clear precedence over honoring one of the bedrock principles of the nation. The relentless fabrication of falsehoods about the security of voting through the mail is especially vile during a global pandemic where every traditional polling places runs a serious risk of turning in a hub of spreading a disease that has already amassed a death toll well above two hundred thousand people in this country.

The line to vote early in Harris County, Texas, one of the areas where the Texas governor tried to undermine the election with his ludicrous mandate of one dropbox per county. (via)

Inside Trump Campaign’s Strategy to Make Voting a Tooth-and-Nail Fight by Danny Hakim and Stephanie Saul

Today’s print edition of The New York Times includes fresh reporting on the insidious efforts to suppress the vote by the campaign in support of the incumbent president, a lifelong criminal who reached the office in question through dubious circumstances and in direct conflict to the will of the people (who case nearly three million more votes for his main opponent). They are clearly and shamelessly gearing up not to win votes, but to prevent and discard the votes they don’t like. And the entire party is locking arms in support of this effort, with strategic impediments that lead to scenes like the one captured by reporter Priscilla Thompson and shared in this tweet.

The political figures who gleefully, maliciously orchestrate such discouragements to voting deserve to be cast out of office and driven out of public discourse altogether. They’ve proven themselves unworthy of the role of public servant.

Read Betty Gilpin’s Eulogy for GLOW, “the Best Job I’ll Ever Have” by Betty Gilpin

Production stoppages caused by the pandemic are starting to taking a mighty toll, leading to, among other things, the cancellation of previously announced projects and the retraction of series renewals. There was already of hint of reluctance when Netflix originally made the order for a fourth and final season of GLOW, the show about female professional wrestlers that started strong before losing its way a bit in its third season. Betty Gilpin, who played Debbie Eagen, a.k.a. Liberty Belle, writes a farewell in her inimitably dazzling fashion. There is no one else whose main line of income requires a SAG card who can turn a penned phrase quite like here. As proof, I’ll share the parenthetical aside that helps to open the piece: “If you are one of the many drowning in real-life horrors at this time and the musings of a sulking marionette would be the thing that tilts your van wheel into a pond, please stop reading here, and I wish you all the strength you need to get through this fecal hurricane of a time.” Vanity Fair is the publication that wisely offered Gilpin the space to present her thoughts.

Normal People (2018) by Sally Rooney

The second novel from Irish author Sally Rooney has many of the same strengths as her debut, notably artfully straightforward storytelling, probing insights into the interior lives of the characters, and crisp, telling dialogue. In tracing the on-and-off romantic relationship between Marianne and Connell, starting when they’re teenagers and edging forward, Rooney captures a certain time of life with poignant clarity, when every decision looms large and mistaken choices feel like they deliver wounds that will never quite heal, even as resilience of being — and personal connection — gets proven again and again.

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