Friday, July 22, 2016

How To Deal with Donald Trump: 10 Responses from Worst to Best

Now that  Donald Trump has officially accepted the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, many of my left leaning friends, along with a decent number of conservatives, are wondering how best to handle it. I can't say I have all the answers (I, like everybody else, pegged him as a laughable no-hope candidate last year), but I have a few ideas of what to do, and what not to do. Therefore I humbly offer:

How to deal with the Donald: ten responses ranked from worst to best.

10. Blame "too much democracy" or extol the virtues of elite leadership
Say what you like about the walking tangerine in a toupee currently representing the GOP, but don't pretend that the endless parade of elite, wealthy warmongering doofuses who typically represent the political class on the left and the right aren't responsible for this mess to a large degree.

Doofuses in their natural habitat

9. Debate Trump supporters
This seems tempting, but it's a rookie mistake. Arguing over Trump and policy is a category error, like asking your cat to stop vomiting on the couch, or trying to stop a hurricane that is also racist by fact-checking it.

"Nice ad hominem, @WhiteGenocide1945, but Politifact addressed that weeks ago. You've actually proven my point!"

8. Talk about how he's "unpresidential" or how his behavior is "not a good look"
Yeah, it's true, but...just don't say stuff like "not a good look." It makes you look like an asshole.

"Wow, strawman much? Do better, Mr Trump." 

7. Reach across the aisle with sober articles from liberal websites that patiently explain why Trump is bad 
OH MY GOD VOX AND FIVETHIRTYEIGHT HAVE BEEN RIGHT THE WHOLE TIME, said no Trump supporter ever. Post links if you want, just understand it's for your own benefit.

"The polls-plus model shows a 95% probability that I'm only slightly more useful than extended fart noises."

6. Reach across the aisle with sober articles from conservative websites that patiently explain why Trump is bad
OH MY GOD WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY MUST BE ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE, said no Trump supporter ever. I rank this higher than posting liberal articles only because the continued impotence of movement conservative media this election entertains me.

Nobody reads his magazine, but at least nobody listens to him on television either. 

5. Fight Trump supporters in the streets
I don't recommend this, but I'm also not going to condemn people who do it, especially if they're directly threatened by his proposals.

Does this help? I don't know, but I get it, man.
4. Mock him mercilessly
It hasn't worked yet, but it seems to make him mad and the health benefits of laughter are well established, so knock yourself out.

No, John Oliver won't save us, but go ahead, have a chuckle at this goober's expense.
3. Don't vote for Trump
I don't believe in scolding people into voting tactically. Vote for Clinton if you like, or vote third party, or don't vote at all. I'm not your dad; do what you think is right. Just, you know, double-check the ol' ballot on election day and make sure your chad's not hanging, if you know what I mean.

It also helps to not have a candidate's brother counting the votes, fwiw.
2. Ignore politics and hope it goes away
In an era of radical openness and commodified self care, straight up denial is a widely overlooked virtue. But you know what, you've got better things to worry about than a stupid presidential election. Try it out for a while and see how it goes! What's the worst that could happen? Don't answer that.

You got a better idea I'm all ears.
1. Quietly accept the imminent downfall of America
Even if Trump loses, the forces driving his ascent aren't just going away, and it's not like Democrats have a strategy to peel off Republican malcontents. But think about it this way: we had a good run, didn't we? We'll always have the Declaration of Independence and the Most American Thickburger.

Tastes like freedom to me

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On a Hard Day

Today was a hard day.

Mother's Day is hard not because of my mother or my mother-in-law. They are both fun, strong, sweet women and I'm lucky to have them.

No, what makes today hard for me personally is the celebration of the status quo.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

We Are Not Alone: Eliza R. Snow and Women's Shared Trauma

Today's guest post comes to you from Eliza N. She is an editor who lives and works in Salt Lake City. She grew up in the Midwest and misses the cornfields. When she's not working, reading, or watching Netflix, she enjoys running, playing volleyball, and hanging out with her dog.

Ed. Note: Trigger warning for discussion of rape.

I have some things to say.

Last week I attended the Church History Symposium co-hosted by the Church History Department and BYU's Religious Studies Center. I attended Dr. Andrea Radke-Moss's presentation that has been quite the talk over the weekend in the Mormon Studies world because of new information that she presented identifying Eliza R. Snow as a victim of rape in Missouri during the persecution of the Mormons there in 1838. Her write-up at the Juvenile Instructor as well as this one at By Common Consent by my friend Kristine A. give excellent overviews of Dr. Radke-Moss’s presentation and explanations of her sources and reasoning.

Since Thursday, there’s been plenty of pushback in the comment sections of pretty much every article and post that’s discussed the bombshell regarding the validity and credibility of Dr. Radke-Moss’s source, the validity of her conclusions, and whether or not this information should have been revealed. Dr. Radke-Moss handily rebuts this criticism in her JI post, but here are my thoughts about her presentation and some of the pushback I have seen.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Evaluating the Republican Presidential Candidates Once Again (aka Cruzin' to the Trumpocalypse)

A while back I introduced an exhaustive yet succinct graphical representation of the Republican presidential field. Well, a lot has happened since that requires an update, including the implosion of Scott Walker, the rise and fall of Ben Carson, the surprising ineptitude of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie still hanging around for some reason, Marco Rubio doing who the hell knows what, and the emerging battle between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump [shudder] I need a shower here's the chart:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

You Have Two Big Strong Hands That (Surprise!) You Have Control Over

A friend of the blog since before she was born, today's contributor Madelyn is Brooke’s baby sister. Madelyn is in her second year of college and spends most of her time working and singing in her institute choir.

My great-great-grandmother, Bertha A. Kleinman, wrote the adorable children's song "I Have Two Little Hands." I grew up being fond of the sweet tune and clever words. This morning, my father, the great-grandson of Bertha A. Kleinman, sent this photo to me and my sister.

It is a shot of a slide shown in a seminary class. He expressed disgust with this desecration of the song, and I'm going to express my own feelings here. In case you can't read the image, the twisted version of our family's favorite primary song reads:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Rejected Millennial Star Posts

Regular readers may be surprised to learn this, but Expert Textperts is not the only blog that occasionally touches on Mormon topics. In fact, in spite of blogging losing the "cool" factor it used to have, there are still dozens, nay, tens of dozens of blogs about Mormon stuff.

One such blog is called Millennial Star, best known in certain circles for its..shall we say... selective...commenting policy. It's also an online home of proudly rigid orthodox and conservative Mormon thought (FINALLY), although for some reason that doesn't extend to reviving discredited RLDS apologetics...but I digress. The more perspectives the merrier, says I!

This guy's view is a valid as anyone's.

What you might not know is that M*, as it's colloquially known, actually rejected me as a permablogger, for personal reasons (specifically, that they technically don't know who I am and I think I misspelled my email on the application). Still, I had a lot of great topics to pitch them, so as a service I now offer them to the world.

You're welcome.

Monday, January 11, 2016

We're Starting a Movie Blog! (Plus a Few Thoughts on the Future of Expert Textperts)

Many readers are probably aware that the two most frequent and arguably best looking contributors to this blog, me and Brooke, are actually married. To each other! And, like many human people, we like to watch movies. This year we set a goal of increasing our familiarity with film history by watching more classic movies, using Roger Ebert's Great Movies list as a reference. Thus, we thought it would be fun to combine all these elements into a new project, Brooke and Casey at the Movies.

We've written about film a few times here, notably back in 2013 when we recapped the Oscar best picture slate, but we wanted to do something more narrowly-focused and conversational than Expert Textperts has generally been. Rather than traditional reviews or essays, we'll be posting lightly-edited chat recaps about once or twice a week as we work through Ebert's list (or any other movie we choose), hopefully with insight and sensible amounts of humor. Here's a sneak preview:

Monday, January 4, 2016

Calling White Militias "Terrorists" Will Only Hurt Marginalized Groups

On January 2, a group of up to 150 western ranchers and militiamen, led by a member of the Bundy clan (the uncomfortably Mormon family that initiated 2014's standoff with government troops in Nevada), occupied a government building in Oregon to protest what they view as the loss of "the people's constitutional rights," which at its core boils down to a dispute over a western brand of libertarian ideology and federal land management policy. Nobody has been hurt yet, but the heavily armed ranchers seem to be settling in for the long haul, and I don't think any responsible person can guess how things will play out.

The social media response, however, has unfolded in predictable and often dispiriting ways. Obviously, right-wing cheerleading of the militias is often ignorant and distasteful, but I want to talk about responses from the left, since that's where I and most of my social circle come from. In particular, I want to address a damaging trend that I believe can only backfire and hurt the people it means to support. I'm talking about people condemning the militias as "terrorists" and contrasting the restrained government response to violent mistreatment faced by black and Muslim Americans. You probably know exactly what I'm talking about:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Toys are from Mars, Women are from Venus

The internet is buzzing about the newest Star Wars movie. Don't worry, I promise I won't reveal anything plot-wise in this post, so all I'll say is that I liked it and it fits solidly into the greater universe while introducing fascinating new characters.

One of these new characters is Rey. You've undoubtedly already seen her in the trailer and floating around a lot of the promotional materials, including this poster:

She even carries a big stick. Don't get on her bad side...

Rey is obviously the center of the film. The poster places her as the focal point, so you don't have to see the movie to know she is a big deal.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Some Thoughts On Shame

It's been a tumultuous couple of weeks in the world (especially if you live in Paris, Beirut, Japan, Mexico, or Baghdad, or if you are LDS) and after a couple of weeks of watching my Facebook News Feed, I have a some advice: