Cassandra fears four more years: Every morning, the New York Times gives us a hard-copy feature, The Conversation, on its reimagined page A3. The feature lists the topics which most interest the newspaper's super-smart readers.
Will Donald J. Trump get re-elected next year? We don't know, but this is the way The Conversation starts in this morning's Times:
The ConversationAs best we can tell, this moving chronicle never appeared in the hard-copy Times. On line, Times readers sniffed it out and made it the day's "most read article."
FOUR OF THE MOST READ, SHARED AND DISCUSSED POSTS FROM ACROSS NYTIMES.COM
1) She Quit Her Job. He Got Night Goggles. They Searched 57 Days for Their Dog.
The extraordinary tale of the King family was Sunday's most read article...
Not that there's anything wrong with it! On the other hand, this is the second article listed today as most read, shared and discussed:
2) Jonathan Van Ness of 'Queer Eye' Comes OutThis profile deals with serious social issues, though it must be said that such issues may even afflict people who aren't the "stars" of pointless Netflix programs.
This article, which details the struggles Jonathan Van Ness has faced on his rise to stardom on Netflix's "Queer Eye," was popular this weekend and shared widely on social media...
The fourth item on the "most read" list is this hard-hitting report: "Antonio Brown Says He Is Done With the N.F.L." As a way to nurture ourselves, let's just leave that right there!
One lost dog and two lost souls and the endless attention to "stardom!" As our society slides toward the sea, an observer of the Times' daily Conversation feature can occasionally feel that we the people are perhaps, in the old phrase, "too lightweight to be self-governing."
On the other hand, a fair-minded person might also consider the woeful leadership Times subscribers routinely get from the Times.
Today's newspaper is clogged with reports and opinion columns which may lead a Cassandra to suspect that Trump might end up getting re-elected next year:
We were struck by this somewhat puzzling front-page report about the alleged unfairness of high school football competition as currently handled in Iowa. Also, by this heavily bowdlerized account of the so-called "Stanford rape case."
Don't even ask! But our unimpressive liberal tribe has made an art form of such novelized narratives, starting with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin—and when we tell our treasured stories, we persistently invent or disappear basic facts, making the story more simple-minded from our tribe'e preferred point of view.
"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings?" That may well be true! But every time we play this way, we're ringing up votes for Donald J. Trump, or so Cassandra suspects.
It was high school football on the Times' front page. The featured report in the International section involves the trend for teachers to get tattoos—in Tegucigalpa!
So it went with the news. Meanwhile, on the op-ed page, Leonhardt and Blow were displaying a form of tribal incomprehension which never ceases to amaze. This afternoon, we'll draw on a recent reported conversation to illustrate how this game really works.
Could Trump get re-elected next year? We'd have to say yes, he could! Persistently, we see the haplessness of our own tribe paving the way to that dread defeat—and nowhere is the tribal cluelessness more persistent than at the New York Times.
Tomorrow, we'll start an award-winning series, The Words, in which we review unhelpful changes in modern tribal language. In this case, we're going to start with a front-page report from the Washington Post!
Cassandra says we're paving the way to defeat when we behave in the ways we do. Her track record is very good though she could, of course, always be wrong.