Outside Reading — If We Make It Through December edition

In Praise of Phoebe Bridgers, a Thoroughly Good Celebrity by Madeline Ducharme

Writing for Slate, Madeline Ducharme offers an accounting of Phoebe Bridgers’s contributions to the culture in recent months, and it’s a welcome compendium of good things in a bad year. Perhaps making up for the inability to tour in support of her fabulous album Punisher, Bridgers has been popping up with consistently delightful side efforts, including a post-election cover of a nineteen-nineties “classic” and, just a couple weeks later, another lovely cover. Both those borrowed tunes are to benefit extremely worthy nonprofit organizations.

On Not Meeting Nazis Halfway by Rebecca Solnit

With great clarity, Rebecca Solnit exposes the fatal flaw in current calls for people on the left end of the political spectrum to compromise with those currently smarting because their preferred presidential candidate lost the election. The past few years haven’t been marked by delicate policy differences. It’s been a matter of one party actively encouraging hate because it’s to their benefit to do so. Any leaders who have cowardly acquiesced to bigots in recent years — including the king of the bigots still making erroneous claims that undermine democracy — deserve to be decisively, permanently excluded from the public discourse. The article is published by Literary Hub.


Trump Stress-Tested the Election System, and the Cracks Showed by Alexander Burns

And here’s a valuable assessment of the damage being wrought to the fundamental tenets of U.S. democracy, all in the name of preserving the fragile ego of a delusional narcissist. It is a travesty that any amount of effort is being expended right now to counter the absurd assertions of bad citizens who’ve opportunistically decided that elections don’t matter if they don’t like the outcome. In the city where I live, election officials should be taking a well-earned break. Instead, they’re spending a holiday weekend hunkered down in a convention center, needlessly recounting votes as ill-informed zealots shout inane conspiracies at them. In The New York Times, Alexander Burns writes about this moment and the warnings for the future that are likely to go tragically unheeded.


The Native People of This Country Helped to Rescue America From Its Worst Instincts by Charles P. Pierce

A thus far undervalued and underreported aspect of the most recent U.S. election is the way Native American voters came out to make their voices heard. With his typical passion and aplomb, Charles P. Pierce writes about the heroism of those voters and the organizers and advocates who helped them exercise their basic right to help set the course of the nation they have more of a claim on than most of use who cast a ballot. The article is published by Esquire.

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