Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: they got Roger Stone, Nancy Per-my-last-email-losi triumphs, and Kellyanne's leaky wheel gets the oil.
When I was a kid, I assumed that at some point I would learn how to understand the weather report. This felt like a rite of passage, like getting a letter from Hogwarts (of course, because I am both old and also a #GodWarrior, I was certainly not trying to receive any correspondence from a school for witches. If I’d gotten even a postcard from Tituba, I would have torn my whole life down and gone into the Witness Protection Program with a quickness. You have to be vigilant.)
When you are a child, listening the weather report sounds like you’re dropping in on a college lecture that is about a semester beyond your current knowledge level. The person on screen is using words like low pressure system and Doppler radar as if they are actual English terms in everyday parlance and so, I thought, the only possible explanation was that at some point the Weather Wizard (or Meteorologenie) would appear at my bedside, withstand my startled blast of pepper spray, and explain to me what the hell weather meant and how I was supposed to incorporate this information into my everyday life.
I regret to inform you that I am now fully an adult and well beyond the time when any magical being will come visit me besides maybe the Stork, the Audit Fairy, and of course the Creeping Specter of Death (so many things to look forward to!) And yet I have no further information about what a low pressure system moving in from the north means beyond the fact that it will produce a giant L moving from Canada toward the East Coast like a not-so-subtle message from Justin Trudeau.
I don’t’ watch the TV news anymore so I don’t see the weather and it’s just as well because it stresses me out. I have a very good education and yet at no point did anyone explain any of these terms to me. It’s a real scandal. Are we all just going to walk this world pretending we know what the barometric pressure is? Really?! Fake News. There’s a part of me that believes that back in the day these concepts were taught in school, like maybe social studies or home ec or something. I feel like my parents have a much better grasp of so many foundational concepts like democracy and how to write a check. That said, I know how to change the privacy settings on Facebook and I remember most of the people who have won the MTV Video Vanguard Award, so who’s to say which generation is better prepared to face the world, education-wise? We’ll let Betsy DeVos sort it out.
Did you learn how to understand the weather? Did I just miss this lesson while busy writing a 40-page essay about the trial of Harry Shaw in junior year of high school? A paper, I should add, that was 20 pages longer than it was required to be and was inspired completely by one song in the musical Ragtime? (My pedagogical approach has always been best classified as Extremely Gay. Betsy DeVos will not be funding it.)
Frankly, I’m actually surprised that weather hasn’t gotten dumber yet. Everything else has. I am very surprised that today’s weather report isn’t just a teenage YouTube star yelling “HOT! COLD! WIND!” at the screen and then doing the flossing dance. That I would watch. Here’s the thing, I don’t think I want to understand the weather. Why is the sky happening? I don’t care. Just tell me if I can wear a tank top and let me go about my day, please. Knowing that there’s a 20% chance of rain does not help me to meaningfully adjust my life in any way. 20% translates into “statistically maybe!” I feel like I’d have better luck asking my horoscope “will the earth ceiling make wet?” (Yes, I understand statistics and meteorology and also no, of course, I do not understand statistic or meteorology. That is the whole point of this post.) What I’m saying is the weather is like magic. But not Harry Potter magic. God Magic. Magic from the Lord above that sometimes makes your sinuses hurt and frequently sends a giant L floating across the land in your general direction.
This week, familiar winds blow in surprising new ways. KAC returns to the headlines for her usual nonsense and Trump v. Pelosi volume 1 comes to an end. But first, cartoon villain Roger Stone goes to the clink.
Even though this footage of a bunch of people running around in tactical gear looks like the Twitch stream of someone who is not great at Call of Duty, I have still watched it 20 times. They really sent in Seal Team Six to take down retired Batman nemesis Roger Stone, who, according to court records, is 600 years old and legally "more of a construct than a person at this point." Stunning! [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
This is the second eye-catching kerchief lewk in as many days for the Speaker, who rocked a Gryffindor-esque item the day before. These fashion choices, like her now-iconic coat, are speaking volumes. One wonders what might transpire if she passed the mic to her bold accessories. Think of it as the sartorial equivalent of Luther, Obama's Anger Translator. Meet Scarflett Johansson, Nancy Pelosi's Smackdown Translator. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
To say the Trump administration has a problem with leaks is like saying the Titanic had a problem with, well, leaks. It's an understatement the size of the Heart of the Ocean and it doesn't embrace the over-the-top spectacle or the lifeboats full of former administration members that are seated by class they do not possess. The current White House—a grand icon filled to the brim with grifters from steerage—has been springing leaks at Titanic VHS tape two levels since before the inauguration, spilling the beans on in-fighting and the president's quixotic shambling to the media at every opportunity. Though seemingly every person who leaves the White House immediately pulls of a Scooby Doo villain mask and reveals themselves as a covert source and lover of liberty, the administration official most frequently labelled a leaker is Kellyanne Conway. Or, as the sailors in the crow's nest called out upon seeing her on the horizon, "Iceberg! Dead in the eyes!" [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Let's Hang Out!
If you happen to be at Sundance, I'm in Park City for literally 40 hours, telling a story at The Moth event at SundanceTV Monday night.
Hosting The Moth in Philadelphia on February 4
Also telling a story at Perfect Liars Club in D.C. on February 6
Random Thing From the Internet
Happy one year anniversary to my favorite random meme out of Asia, the "Karma's a Bitch" videos.
Keep the pressure low (whatever that means),