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The GOP Is a Circus, Not a Caucus

The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2023/01/the-gop-is-a-circus-not-a-caucus/672843/?utm_source=feed

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Kevin McCarthy has begun his job as speaker by servicing the demands of the most extreme—and weirdest—members who supported him, thus handing the People’s House to the Clown Caucus.

But first, here are three new stories from The Atlantic.

Kanye West, Sam Bankman-Fried, and the cult of not reading A Hollywood armorer on the Rust shooting charges The coffee alternative Americans just can’t get behind

The Ringmaster

Now controlled by its most unhinged members, the Republican Party has returned to power in the People’s House. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the ringmaster of this circus, is happily paying off his debts by engaging in petty payback, conjuring up inane committees, threatening to crash the U.S. economy, and protecting a walking monument to fraud named George Santos, who may or may not actually be named “George Santos.”

In the enduring words of Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.

Politics, in Washington or anywhere else, is about deals. No one should have expected McCarthy to make his way to the gavel without signing a few ugly promissory notes along the way. Sometimes, friends are betrayed and enemies are elevated; an important project can end up taking a back seat to a boondoggle. Just ask Representative Vern Buchanan of Florida, who got pushed out of the chairmanship of Ways and Means in favor of Jason Smith of Missouri, a choice preferred by the MAGA caucus. “You fucked me,” he reportedly said to at McCarthy on the floor of the House. “I know it was you, you whipped against me.” Buchanan, a source on the House floor told Tara Palmeri at Puck, was so angry that the speaker’s security people were about to step in. (McCarthy’s office denies that this happened.)

It’s one thing to pay political debts, even the kind that McCarthy accepted despite their steep and humiliating vig. It’s another to hand off control of crucial issues to a claque of clowns who have no idea what they’re doing and are willing to harm the national security of the United States as long as it suits their political purposes.

Let us leave aside the removal of Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee. The republic will not rise or fall based on such things, and if McCarthy wants to engage in snippy stoogery to ingratiate himself with the MAGA caucus and soothe Donald Trump’s hurt feelings, it is within his power to do so. In his letter to Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the speaker claimed his decision was all about “integrity.” This is not just the death of irony; it is a North Korean–style, firing-squad-by-anti-aircraft-gun execution of irony. Worse, McCarthy even has the right to channel, as he did, Joseph McCarthy, and smear Swalwell by alluding to derogatory information that the FBI supposedly has about him. It might not be honorable or professional, but he can do it.

McCarthy’s shuffle of the Intelligence Committee pales in comparison to the creation of two new committees, both of which were part of the Filene’s Basement clearance of the new speaker’s political soul. One of them, on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, is a continuation of the Republican assault on science that predated Trump but reached new heights with the former president’s disjointed gibbering about bleach injections. The committee will include the conspiracy theorist and McCarthy’s new best friend Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Ronny Jackson of Texas, the former White House physician who assured us in 2018 that Trump only weighed 239 pounds and was in astoundingly good health.

The COVID committee is unlikely to move the needle (if you’ll pardon the expression) on public health. No one’s mind will be changed if Jackson and Tucker Carlson bloviate to each other about things neither of them really believes. Most of the damage from such a committee will likely be concentrated among the vaccine refusers, who already seem determined to get sick and die to make a political point.

The “weaponization” committee is worse, and likely to do far more damage to the United States, because it is starting from the premise that the machinery of the United States government—law enforcement, the intelligence community, and federal agencies—has been turned against the average American citizen. Jim Jordan, who stands out even in this GOP for his partisan recklessness, will serve as chair. The committee will include members whom I think of as the “You-Know-Better-Than-This Caucus”: people with top-flight educations and enough experience to know that Jordan is a crank, but who nevertheless will support attacks on American institutions if that’s what it takes to avoid being sent back home to live among their constituents. Two standouts here are Thomas Massie (an MIT graduate who apparently majored in alchemy and astrology), and the ever-reliable Elise Stefanik (Harvard), whose political hemoglobin is now composed of equal parts cynicism and antifreeze.

The committee will include other monuments to probity, such as Chip Roy; Dan Bishop, who has claimed that the 2020 election was rigged; Harriet Hageman, the woman who defeated Liz Cheney in Wyoming; and Kat Cammack of Florida, who alleged that Democrats were drinking on the House floor during the speakership fight. All of them will have access to highly sensitive information from across the U.S. government.

Jordan and his posse are styling themselves as a new Church Committee, the 1975 investigation into the Cold War misdeeds of American intelligence organizations headed by Idaho Senator Frank Church. This dishonors Church, whose committee uncovered genuinely shocking abuses by agencies that had for too long escaped oversight during the early days of the struggle with the Soviet Union. Church himself was a patriot, unlike some of the charlatans on this new committee, but even Church’s investigation did at least some damage with its revelations, and some of the reforms (especially the move away from relying on human intelligence) undertaken later based in part on its findings were unwise. In any case, his fame was short-lived: He was defeated for reelection in 1980 and died in 1984. (Full disclosure: I spoke at a conference held in Church’s honor many years ago and met with his widow.)

The Church Committee was, in its day, a necessary walk across the hot coals for Americans who had invested too much power and trust in the executive branch. I suspect that the Jordan committee will not look to uncover abuses, but rather to portray any government actions that it does not like as abuses, especially the investigations into Trump. It will be the Church Committee turned on its head, as members of Congress seek to protect a lawless president by destroying the agencies that stand between our democracy and his ambitions.

Kevin McCarthy will be fine with all of it, as long as he gets to wear the top hat and red tails while indulging in the fantasy that he is in control of the clowns and wild animals, and not the other way around.

Related:

Speaker in name only Why Kevin McCarthy can’t lose George Santos

Today’s News

President Joe Biden announced that he would send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, and Germany announced that it would send an initial shipment of 14 Leopard 2 tanks. The arraignment of the suspect in the Half Moon Bay, California, mass shooting was postponed until Feb. 16. School officials were warned on three separate occasions that a 6-year-old who later shot his first-grade teacher in Virginia had a gun or had made threats, according to an attorney for the teacher.

Dispatches

Up for Debate: Public outrage hasn’t improved policing, Conor Friedersdorf argues.

Explore all of our newsletters here.

Evening Read

Getty; The Atlantic

Why the French Want to Stop Working

By Pamela Druckerman

If you want to understand why the French overwhelmingly oppose raising their official retirement age from 62 to 64, you could start by looking at last week’s enormous street protest in Paris.

“Retirement before arthritis” read one handwritten sign. “Leave us time to live before we die” said another. One elderly protester was dressed ironically as “a banker” with a black top hat, bow tie, and cigar—like the Mr. Monopoly mascot of the board game. “It’s the end of the beans!” he exclaimed to the crowd, using a popular expression to mean that pension reform is the last straw.

Read the full article.

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P.S.

The Church Committee revealed outrages (including assassination plots) that today might seem like they were taken from bad spy-movie scripts. But such things were deadly serious business, as the United States moved from World War II into the Cold War determined to do whatever it took to defeat Soviet communism. For decades, Americans romanticized spies and spying as glamorous and exciting, but in reality, espionage was a nasty business. Our British cousins knew this better than we did, which is why British spy fiction was always grittier than its American counterpart. (The James Bond novels are pretty dour, sometimes even sadistic; Hollywood cleaned them up.)

But just because we lost our innocence about spying doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the culture it produced back in the day. In that spirit, let me recommend to you Secret Agent, an offering on a wonderful, listener-supported San Francisco–based internet radio station called SomaFM. There are plenty of great channels on SomaFM—I especially like Left Coast 70s, which is just what it sounds like—but Secret Agent is a lot of fun, a mixture of 1960s lounge and light jazz, soundtracks, and other tidbits, with the occasional line from 007 and other spies spliced in here and there. It’s a nice throwback to the days when espionage was cool, and it’s great music for working or a get-together over martinis, which should be shaken and … well, you know.

— Tom

Isabel Fattal contributed to this newsletter.

The People Who Don’t Read Books

The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/01/kanye-west-sam-bankman-fried-books-reading/672823/?utm_source=feed

During Kanye West’s spectacular plummet last fall, my friends and I would often marvel at the latest outrageous thing he’d said. And we would send around clips of what were, in hindsight, terribly suspect comments he’d previously made. One such example was “I am not a fan of books,” which Ye told an interviewer upon the publication of his own book, Thank You and You’re Welcome. “I am a proud non-reader of books,” he continued. That statement strikes me as one of the more disturbing things he’s ever said, because, unlike the patently reprehensible anti-Semitic tirades that drew the world’s scorn, his anti-book stance is shared by some other highly influential figures. It’s disturbing because it says something about not only Ye’s character but the smugly solipsistic tenor of this cultural moment.

We have never before had access to so many perspectives, ideas, and information. Much of it is fleetingly interesting but ultimately inconsequential—not to be confused with expertise, let alone wisdom. This much is widely understood and discussed. The ease with which we can know things and communicate them to one another, as well as launder success in one realm into pseudo-authority in countless others, has combined with a traditional American tendency toward anti-intellectualism and celebrity worship. Toss in a decades-long decline in the humanities, and we get our superficial culture in which even the elite will openly disparage as pointless our main repositories for the very best that has been thought.

[Yair Rosenberg: Kanye West destroys himself]

If one person managed to outdo Ye in that season of high-end self-sabotage marking the end of 2022, it was the erstwhile techno-wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried. In an ill-conceived profile from September, published on the Sequoia Capital website, the 30-year-old SBF rails against literature of any kind, lecturing a journalist on why he would “never” read a book. “I’m very skeptical of books,” he expands. “I don’t want to say no book is ever worth reading, but I actually do believe something pretty close to that. I think, if you wrote a book, you fucked up, and it should have been a six-paragraph blog post.”

It’s a galling sentiment, every bit as ignorant and arrogant as Ye’s but even more worrisome because SBF is not an entertainer whose debut album was called The College Dropout. He is a supposedly serious young man who was celebrated in the corridors of power not only as a financial savant but also—through his highly publicized philanthropy and conspicuous association with the “effective altruism” movement—as a moral genius. The title of that profile: “Sam Bankman-Fried Has a Savior Complex—And Maybe You Should Too.”

There’s an expression in journalism: “Three is a trend.” Unfortunately, I have a third example of a prominent book skeptic. In a feature reconstructing the undoing of Sean McElwee, the 30-year-old founder of Data for Progress, New York Magazine noted, as McElwee “would put it, books are dumb—they only tell you what people want you to know.” I confess, I don’t really understand what that means, let alone why McElwee thinks it’s profound. Shortly after meeting SBF—who spent some $40 million on Democratic causes in 2020 and pledged to give a mind-boggling $1 billion before 2024—McElwee, also an effective-altruism evangelist, would become one of his trusted advisers, “telling him how best to direct a river of cash,” David Freedlander writes. “It was ‘cool as hell,’ McElwee told associates, to be advising one of the richest people in the world before he turned 30.”

“Cool” is one way to describe these confident young men’s fiscal and political interventions; abysmally ill-informed, maliciously incompetent, and morally bankrupt also come to mind. McElwee’s reputation would be ruined after the midterms, principally for producing error-ridden polling data and even allegedly pressuring at least one employee to break campaign-finance law and participate in a straw-donor scheme (a federal crime that SBF has also been charged with). All of this happened just as SBF’s crypto scam was crashing, obliterating tens of billions of dollars of other peoples’ wealth in the process.

[Read: Sam Bankman-Fried got what he wanted]

It is one thing in practice not to read books, or not to read them as much as one might wish. But it is something else entirely to despise the act in principle. Identifying as someone who categorically rejects books suggests a much larger deficiency of character. As Ye once riffed (prophetically) during a live performance, “I get my quotes from movies because I don’t read, or from, like, go figure, real life or something. Like, live real life; talk to real people; get information; ask people questions; and it was something about, ‘You either die a superhero or you live to become the villain.’” As clever as that sounds, receiving all of your information from the SBF ideal of six-paragraph blog posts, or from the movies and random conversations that Ye prefers, is as foolish as identifying as someone who chooses to eat only fast food.

Many books should not have been published, and writing one is an excruciating process full of failure. But when a book succeeds, even partially, it represents a level of concentration and refinement—a mastery of subject and style strengthened through patience and clarified in revision—that cannot be equaled. Writing a book is an extraordinarily disproportionate act: What can be consumed in a matter of hours takes years to bring to fruition. That is its virtue. And the rare patience a book still demands of a reader—those precious slow hours of deep focus—is also a virtue. One might reasonably ask just where, after all, these men have been in such a rush to get to? One might reasonably joke that the answer is either jail or obscurity.

Late in Anna Karenina, in a period of self-imposed social exile in Italy, Anna and her lover, Vronsky, are treated to a tirade on the destructive superficiality of the “free-thinking” young men—proto-disrupters, if you will—who populate the era and have been steeped in “ideas of negation.”

“In former days the free-thinker was a man who had been brought up in ideas of religion, law, and morality, and only through conflict and struggle came to free-thought,” Vronsky’s friend Golenishchev observes. “But now there has sprung up a new type of born free-thinkers who grow up without even having heard of principles of morality or of religion, of the existence of authorities.” The problem then, as Tolstoy presents it, was that such an ambitious young man would try, “as he’s no fool, to educate himself,” and so would turn to “the magazines” instead of “to the classics and theologians and tragedians and historians and philosophers, and, you know, all the intellectual work that came in his way.”

[Karen Swallow Prior: How reading makes us more human]

A Twitter follower directed me back to this passage after I complained on that social network about the outlandish contempt our own era’s brashest and most lavishly rewarded young men—they always seem to be men—aim at conventional forms of learning. And though, unlike in Tolstoy’s time, these men may also declare that you “fucked up” if you bother to read even magazines, they share with previous freethinkers a prideful refusal to believe that the past has something to offer them. Like the freethinkers that provoke Golenishchev’s scorn, these tech-obsessed autodidacts (even Ye fell victim to the cult of “engineering” our way through every human quandary) now embed themselves in a worldview in which “the old creeds do not even furnish matter for discussion,” as Golenishchev puts it.

Although the three disgraced men I’ve been describing here are extremes, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that we have grown wildly estranged from genuine wisdom or the humility with which erudition tempers facile notions of invincibility. I don’t think it is a coincidence that two of these self-satisfied nonreaders are adherents of effective altruism, either—when taken to the extreme an absurdly calculating intellectual onanism that can’t survive contact with a single good novel.

When I was in my 20s and writing my first book—I know, I really fucked up there—I came across a quote I can no longer find the source of that said, essentially, “You could fill a book with all I know, but with all I don’t know, you could fill a library.” It’s a helpful visualization, perhaps the most basic and pragmatic justification for deep reading. And though correlation is not causation, I submit that we’d save ourselves an enormous amount of trouble in the future if we’d agree to a simple litmus test: Immediately disregard anyone in the business of selling a vision who proudly proclaims they hate reading.

Kanye West could be denied entry to Australia over anti-Semitic remarks

CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/25/world/kanye-west-australia-visa-intl-hnk/index.html

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, may not be suitable for an Australian visa because of his history of anti-Semitic remarks, a government minister said on Wednesday, as pressure mounted to deny entry to the award-winning US rapper.

Welcome, Tentatively, to the Resistance

The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/12/republicans-never-trumpers-ye-fuentes-dinner/672477/?utm_source=feed

Welcome, tentatively, to the resistance.

It took half a dozen years, but large parts of the Republican establishment—elected Republicans, wealthy donors, the Murdoch media empire (Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and the New York Post), and right-wing websites,radio-talk-show hosts, columnists, and commentators—have finally turned on Donald Trump. Some are more direct and public in their criticisms of the former president than others, but without question something fundamental has changed.

The GOP establishment is angry at Trump, who announced his bid for reelection on November 15, for recently hosting a prominent white supremacist and Holocaust denier (Nick Fuentes) and an anti-Semite (Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West) for dinner. For embracing QAnon. For advocating for the termination of the Constitution. For trashing the Supreme Court, on which three of his nominees sit. For promising to look “very, very favorably” at pardoning January 6 insurrectionists if he’s reelected. And for being embroiled in multiple criminal investigations.

But mostly, they are angry at Trump for costing them seats in the House and control of the Senate. This midterm election was the third straight election cycle in which Republicans, under Trump’s leadership and in his shadow, suffered setbacks. They stood by as he handpicked terrible candidates and obsessively promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election—and they suffered the consequences.

Scott Reed, a veteran Republican strategist and a former top adviser to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told The New York Times that the past several weeks have been “devastating for Trump’s future viability.”

“Abandonment has begun,” Reed said.

Whether the damage Trump has sustained is enough to keep him from winning the 2024 nomination is impossible to know at this point. Although the erosion in his support is significant, a large part of the base has shown sustained loyalty to Trump.

So how should those of us who, for years, have repeatedly warned Republicans about Trump view those who have finally done an about-face, in some cases mimicking the very criticisms that Never Trumpers have been making since the start of the Trump era?

[David Frum: What the Never Trumpers want now]

We ought to welcome their turnabout. This is, after all, what many of us have been urging them to do. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone should have the chance to correct those mistakes, including onetime Trump enthusiasts. Just as important, purging Trump from America’s political landscape can only happen if the Republican Party first purges him from its ranks. If people who once supported Trump are, at last, willing to cast him aside, that is all to the good.

But we shouldn’t see a moral awakening where there is none. The reason many longtime Trump supporters are deserting him is because they believe he is a loser, and an impediment to their quest for power. They are tossing Trump overboard because he’s no longer useful to them. Their considerations are practical rather than principled, and precisely because the shift is for unprincipled reasons, we should assume that if they calculate that Trump can win again—and certainly if he’s the Republican nominee in 2024—they will once again rally around him.

Nor are the belated resisters honestly reckoning with their (recent) pro-Trump past. They are, instead, engaging in a series of rationalizations to explain why they enabled and championed this loathsome figure for so long.

Some have simply chosen to forget their role in Trump’s rise. Some are eager to portray themselves as having been far more critical of Trump than they actually were. Some prefer to turn the tables and go on the offensive, chiding longtime critics of Trump for not forgiving and forgetting. And still others are peddling a narrative in which Trump is only now “spinning out of control.” Since the midterms, we’re told, “something has snapped.” Trump has “apparently lost touch with reality.” These people feign shock at what the man in Mar-a-Lago has become. Who could possibly have seen this coming?

All of this maneuvering is born out of a natural desire to escape moral accountability, protect their reputation, and not admit their mistakes, and an even more intense desire to refuse to admit that Never Trumpers, whom they view with contempt, might have been right all along. Their psychological defense mechanisms—rationalizations intended to prevent feelings of guilt, shame, or discomfort about actions that on some level they know were wrong or unwise—are preventing them from coming to grips with their catastrophic misjudgments.

Context is important here. We’re not talking about a mistaken assessment of the effects that tariffs might have on prices for consumers; we’re talking about a party that nominated and at every turn defended a uniquely malicious figure in American politics. And he didn’t come disguised as anything other than what he was. Trump was a wolf in wolf’s clothing.

Trump’s dinner with Fuentes and Ye was not a break with the past. Rather, it exists on a long continuum of wrongdoing: making hush-money payments to porn stars, committing tax fraud, and falsifying records; pathological lying, cruelty, and political brutality; siding with the intelligence agencies of America’s enemies rather than America’s, complimenting savage dictators, and blackmailing our allies in order to dig up dirt on political opponents; demagoguery, borderless corruption, and calls for political violence; obstructing justice, abusing the pardon power, and wanting the IRS to investigate political foes; racist taunts and appeals to Americans’ ugliest instincts; lighting the flame that ignited a mob that stormed the Capitol, ignoring pleas for help during the insurrection, encouraging those who wanted to hang his vice president, and trying to overthrow the election.

[Read: The GOP can’t hide from extremism]

At no point did Trump deceive Republicans into supporting him; he simply broke them. Formerly fierce critics such as Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham became lapdogs. Republicans didn’t change Trump; he changed them. Fundamental convictions, or at least what had been sold as fundamental convictions, were inverted. Character in leaders used to matter, we were told—until depravity became acceptable and even fashionable.

As Trump descends further into madness, “it’s in the interests of Republicans to bury this record of iniquity—to move on as if it were all some kind of surreal dream,” in the words of Andrew Sullivan. But it wasn’t a dream: The trauma of the Trump years and the role of those who made them possible can’t be papered over, forgotten, or pushed down what George Orwell called “memory holes.” Individuals who allowed a man with fascist instincts into the Oval Office and, once he was there, provided him cover owe their fellow citizens—and themselves—an honest accounting.

Doing this would begin to repair one of the most damaging aspects of the Trump years, which was his (and his supporters’) gaslighting of America; their nonstop, dawn-to-dusk assault on facts and truth, their attempt to distort reality to fit their narrative. The Republican establishment that stood with Trump may now want to break with him, but in the process, they are still relying on some bad habits, including inviting the rest of us into their hall of mirrors.

Trump supporters have deformed history and reality quite enough. Even as we welcome them to the resistance, we ought to expect from them an acknowledgment of the role they played in the rise and rule of Donald Trump.

At some point all of us, even the GOP, will move on from Trump. That process is hopefully well under way. Healing our nation will require different things from different sides, including some measure of civic grace and some measure of civic honesty. Other nations, more divided than ours, have found the balance between truth and reconciliation. So can America. But it will take time, intentionality, and love of country.

We’re All Capable of Going ‘Goblin Mode’

The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2022/12/goblin-mode-oxford-2022-word-of-the-year/672430/?utm_source=feed

The people have spoken about what the people have spoken: The 2022 Oxford Word of the Year, chosen for the first time ever by public vote, went to goblin mode by a 93 percent majority. Oxford defines goblin mode as “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” It’s a gloriously evocative phrase—and it tells a concise story about how many of us are doing these days.

The first record of goblin mode occurred in 2009, when someone tweeted: “m was in full hyperactive goblin mode last night. it was as if she ate a bag of sugar-coated candy, then washed it down with a few red bulls.” Not much is known about m or the specifics of her behavior on that fateful night, but the description is vivid: Her primal side had been unleashed. Although the post received a lukewarm 22 likes, going goblin mode described a condition that, more than a decade later, has become all too familiar.

People have gone other modes before: We started to go beast mode, for example, in 2007, with savage mode and sicko mode following later. The metaphor originates in video games, where navigating a hidden challenge might activate another “mode”: a special style of gameplay where you might move 10 times faster or appear as a zombie. To “go X mode” is to summon the spirit of X for a stretch—going Caleb mode, for example, might mean overanalyzing internet slang.

Goblin mode returned with a vengeance in February 2022, in a tweet expressing mock disbelief at a Photoshopped headline: “Julia Fox opened up about her ‘difficult’ relationship with Kanye West,” it read. “‘He didn’t like when I went goblin mode.’” Fox, the actor/model who had just ended a high-profile fling with the artist now known as Ye, never actually used the phrase—but something about it resonated with the discourse of the moment. Fox’s eccentric style might seem goblinesque compared with the pristine InstaBeauty of the Kardashian empire from which Ye had been so recently banished. Goblin mode represented a full aesthetic rebound from immaculate self-presentation—perfect for a time when people were returning chaotically to public life from the madding bowels of pandemic isolation. “The term then rose in popularity over the months following,” Oxford University Press said, “as Covid lockdown restrictions eased in many countries and people ventured out of their homes more regularly.”

[Read: The year without germs changed kids]

Western mythology is littered with all sorts of goblins: shape-shifting animals; demonic, fairylike creatures; rude and hairy humanoids. What typically separates them from other supernatural forces is not their physical appearance but their passion for shelter. Goblins tend to lurk in cozy spaces. Most early accounts place goblins in caves; eventually, during the ascent of urban European life in the 15th and 16th centuries, stories described them as dwelling in houses.

Goblins represent the impish un-self-consciousness of our private lives. They’re ugly little monsters who love making mischief around the home. They have more fun than trolls because, instead of waiting under a bridge to hurt someone, they’re just chilling at the crib, looking nasty and getting up to no good. Maybe they haven’t showered in a few days, but they’re not evil. They just want to stay in and play. Sound like anyone you know?

In the early days of the pandemic, many of us unlocked a new mode in the video game of life: demonically uninhibited domesticity. Through countless quarantines, we all became “m”: pent-up balls of energy bouncing off the same four walls, maniacally scrounging up fun in confinement. Unable to party elsewhere, we transformed our home by necessity into a stage for chaos and revelry. I myself would not be writing complete sentences today had my housemates and I not developed a weekly ritual of getting blisteringly wine-drunk and screaming obscenities at the movie Cats.

[Read: Just embrace the madness of Cats]

The ability to go goblin mode was a necessary evolution, forged in trauma. But it now remains with us as a superpower. As we emerge from our caves after that long hibernation, our goblin-selves lurk somewhere deep inside us, beckoning us back home to vibe out. I don’t see going goblin mode as “self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” at all. It’s refreshingly authentic and deeply cathartic. In goblin mode, we can become our true wild selves, unkempt and offstage, triumphantly invisible to the public eye.

I might define goblin mode as “unbridled domestic liberation” or “a complete shedding of the mask of public life” or, my personal favorite, “staying home and getting weird.” Whatever you call it, I’m grateful for my newfound ability to go goblin mode. Now get out of my house so I can act unhinged.

Kanye West stripped of honorary degree by prestigious university

CNN

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/kanye-west-honorary-degree-rescinded-intl-scli/index.html

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has revoked an honorary doctorate awarded to Kanye West, as the fallout from the rapper's offensive remarks about Black and Jewish people continues.