Inventing the Narrative

When we talk about the process, then, we are talking, increasingly,
not about “the democratic process,”
or the general mechanism affording the citizens of a state a voice in its affairs,
but the reverse: a mechanism seen as so specialized
that access to it is correctly limited to its own professionals,
to those who manage policy and those who report on it,
to those who run the polls and those who quote them,
to those who ask and those who answer the questions on the Sunday shows,
to the media consultants, to the columnists, to the issues advisers,
to those who give the off-the-record breakfasts and to those who attend them;
to that handful of insiders who invent, year in and year out,
the narrative of public life.

Joan Didion, “Insider Baseball” (1988)

In this week’s sift:

  • Escalating Bad Faith, Part I: Recess AppointmentsThe controversy over President Obama’s recent recess appointments sounds boring and technical, but it’s a symptom of a cancer in our democracy that has been growing for decades.
  • The Four Flavors of Republican. How NeoCons, Corporatists, Theocrats, and Libertarians co-operate and conflict.
  • My Boring Primary Season and other short notes. Ah, for the halcyon days of 2007, when presidential candidates by the dozen vied for my attention all summer. Mitt as “locust capitalist”. Why “equality of opportunity” is a risky meme for conservatives. The real lesson of Kim Jong Il. Santorum’s Grampa was “free” to owe his soul to the company store. Montana’s Supreme Court rejects corporate personhood. And more.
  • Last week’s most popular post wasn’t that popular: Under-reported Stories of 2011 got 143 views. The most-clicked link was the Salon Hack List.
  • This week’s challenge: If you don’t already know, find out who the likely congressional candidates are in your district, and whether you have a senatorial election this year.
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