Outside Reading — A Regular Tuesday Here edition

Eyewitness Who Snapped First Picture Of Would-Be Bomber Gives Her Account by Kate Riga

This week, another delusional reactionary drove to the nation’s capital excited about harming others because he hasn’t gotten his way. This will keep happening because one political party has abandoned all pretense of governing in favor of riling up easily manipulated bigots to cling to power, mostly to use that power to expand the net worths of their obscenely wealthy benefactors. This will keep happening because lobbyists for the weapons industry have put decades of concerted effort into convincing the populace that asserting their selfhood through the threat of deadly force is a social good and even a patriotic duty. This will keep happening because the justice system is dependent on a police and political apparatus wholly conditioned to acquiesce to the grievances of middle-aged, white men, regardless of the factual justification of those grievances. At least there is hope that grotesque, broken culture will be reassembled and rebuilt better by Sydney Bobb and others in her generation who recognize the absurdity of foolishly accepted this sort of mayhem as the necessary byproduct of freedom.

This piece, written by Kate Riga and published by Talking Points Memo, allows Bobb to explain the circumstances behind the picture she posted on social media upon encountering the crank in his truck, evidently casting currency to the pavement in a calculated attempt to lure more bystanders into his intended blast zone. Bobb, a UW-Madison student, is a tart-tongued delight in the interview. Further proving her casual heroism, Bobb offered the perfect response when the propagandists at Fox News came sniffing around, seeking free use of her image.

Before Jeopardy! Can Choose Its Next Host, It Needs to Decide Who Its Audience Is by Myles McNutt

I’m not sure we’ve had a major media company botch a public decision quite as spectacularly as Sony has with the succession plan for venerable syndicated game show Jeopardy! The problem starts with the stunning shortsightedness of evidently having no succession plan for Alex Trebek, an eighty-year-old man with cancer. It extends to the mind-boggling elevation of a behind-the-scenes figure with meager on-camera experience and a documented history as a sex pest requiring his employer shell out millions to shut down lawsuits. Writing for Slate, Myles McNutt convincingly argues that the whole debacle is an extension of Sony’s general confusion about the current media landscape and how to keep properties persevering as a the audience for broadcast television ages.

The Fifth Season (2015) by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season won N.K. Jemisin her first Hugo Award, and was soon part of a momentous feat when she became the first author to claim the Best Novel prize three years in a row and for all three books in a trilogy. On the basis of the first installment in the Broken Earth series, the historic accolades are entirely justified. The novel is reminiscent of Frank Herbert’s Dune in its artful combination of science fiction and fantasy, as well as a clear-eyed certainty in its world-building and the energized clarity of its prose. Jemisin adds a jolt on allegorical political commentary, notably in the treatment of orogenes, individuals who can control seismic energy. In particular, there is one sequence, involving an orogene put to unwillingly work in an isolated outpost, that is so sharply, powerfully rendered that I had to set the book aside for a bit to recover from the impact of reading it. The Fifth Season is absolute powerhouse.

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