The article went on to discuss Bill Bishop, who wrote about the cultural ascendence of individuals replacing institutions or location as the core of a community in America. “It used to be that people were born as part of a community, and had to find their place as individuals. Now people are born as individuals, and have to find their community.”
And here we are, individuals who recognize our interdependence and found an active community online, with others who share our “attitudes, interests, and goals.” The 10 Community writers whose stories we rescued this week are all individuals who come from different educational backgrounds, professional experiences, and geographical regions, but they speak to our common goals as the Daily Kos Community.
Rescued Stories from 7PM EST Friday Nov. 20 through 7PM EST Friday Nov. 27, 2020
Community Spotlight’s Rescue Rangers read every story published by Community writers. When we discover awesome work that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: “Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years.” You also can find a link in Meteor Blades’ “Night Owls” series, which publishes daily between 10-11PM EST.
COVID-19’s Cinematic Problem by Eric Hensal observes that we’ve been conditioned by television and film to believe that pandemics are inherently dramatic and, because most of the tragedy of COVID-19 is hidden, it’s too easy to pretend it’s not real. “The problem is how to make the hidden suffering and cost clearly visible to those less inclined to understand, so they will take the steps needed to prevent COVID-19’s spread.” Eric offers possible solutions to make the loss more visible and tangible: homemade yard signs listing family members infected, or empty chairs on front porches. We can’t make the pandemic cinematically compelling, but in real life, we can bring the losses out of the shadows. Eric, a progressive political and policy strategist in Maryland, joined DK in 2010 and has written 40 stories.
JFK remembered: “… the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought” by vjr7121 is a reflection on the words of JFK on the 57th anniversary of his death. It opens a window into a more innocent time. “The death of JFK, for many of us Baby Boomers, was an enduring bookmark noting a time before which we were imbued with an infectious idealism, and after which we were infected with an even more enduring cynicism.” The author reminds us that the words of our leaders matter. “We are haunted by a time when the mettle of our leaders converged with the promise of our founding ideals. Those days have sadly passed with our present leadership, whose dispositions converge solely with their own self-interests.” Vjr7127, who joined in 2017 and has written 157 stories, describes themself as “a retired educator, sometime writer, (and) full-time liberal.”
AT&T Ad Sells Sexist Math Stereotypes by samdiener builds a story based on a recent AT&T ad in The New York Times, belittling women’s math skills and their need for math in daily life. “Despite girls matching boys in mathematical performance on average, and even over-performing boys in grades in math through the high school years, sexist stereotypes of women in math have a negative cumulative impact as teens get older.” Sam includes a discussion of stereotypical “math-phobic Barbie” dolls, and addresses the premise that women are intrinsically unsuited for math by describing the “culture-jamming protests against the promotion of gender stereotypes.” The author joined in 2004 and has written 69 stories. Their profile bio says “cis male teaching social justice, math, & science for students with learning disabilities and gifts at a MS in Boston, MA. I’m an anti-racist, pro-feminist, pacifist social justice educator/activist working for a nonviolent society.”
Want a Happy Thanksgiving? Spread the feast! by melharte centers on the writer’s individual actions and thoughts moving from sadness that this Thanksgiving will be unlike any we expected—to finding joy in our new practices. “We had no control over this pandemic, but I had plenty of control over how I was going to be happy this Thanksgiving, and I did not disappoint me.” Melharte joined in 2019 and has published 14 stories. One bit of bio was revealed in a previous story: “I started folk dancing over 40 years ago. Over that time, I’ve explored all kinds, from ancient hula to country line—even a little Zumba, but mostly international folk and Israeli folk dancing. Pre-COVID-19, I danced at least three times a week with different groups.”
New Book Explores Current History Of ‘The Disinformation Age’ We Inhabit by ClimateDenierRoundup brings a review on a new book about Charles Koch’s life’s work: The Disinformation Age. “Nancy MacLean builds on the findings in her book Democracy in Chains, using the push for privatization of Social Security as a case study in how the Kochs and other Libertarians built an entire pseudo-intellectual infrastructure to oppose regulations—and how that ideology was so successfully deployed during the Trump era.” The reviewer covers the book’s discussion on “how disinformation has blossomed online, why it’s so hard to regulate, and what past examples of propaganda have to teach us.” ClimateDenierRoundup joined in 2014 and has written 1,509 stories.
Wisconsin Legislative District Analyses: Green Bay Suburbs by gboros is a wonky analysis of two Assembly and one Senate state legislature districts in the potentially flippable state of Wisconsin. “At the presidential level, both of these (Assembly) districts swung about six points to the right between 2012 and 2016 … In 2020, both of these districts swung back towards the Dems … essentially matching (or almost matching) Obama’s 2012 margins, which is fairly impressive, given Biden only narrowly won Wisconsin statewide (by less than a percentage point), unlike Obama.” Gboros joined DK in 2019 and has written 18 stories analyzing the political makeup of various state legislatures.
7 things you’ll probably forget to give thanks for by Tom Tor reminds readers of some basic accommodations in our daily lives—from indoor plumbing to automobiles—that we take for granted, and encourages us to pause for a moment and imagine how much harder life would be without them. ”Money. In the early days of commerce, you just bartered cows for grain, but what if your babysitter, say, didn’t need either? The first coins were minted around 600 B.C. in Lydia (now Turkey). These represented an elegant and extremely convenient common denominator of value. Though like today’s electronic transactions, that value was symbolic rather than inherent. Think about it: How many macramé plant hangers would equal a root canal at the dentist? “ Tom Tor joined in 2016 and has published six stories. Nearly half (20) of all (54) their comments since joining were replies to people who added their own thanks to this rescued story.
The Simple Science of Climate Change by Mike Coblenz describes “pervasive myths about climate change that are frequently exploited by skeptics to deny its existence,” such as the assertion that the science underlying climate change is complex.” They debunk this myth by showing that basic physics can explain climate change in a way that even the most science-phobic person can understand. “The experiment we conducted in high school involved adding salt to water to change its freezing point. Anyone who has ever put salt on an icy sidewalk understands this simple physical phenomenon. This is the same physical phenomenon behind climate change. An impurity—carbon dioxide—changes the ability of air to retain heat. It’s so simple even a 16-year-old can understand it.” Mike, who joined in 2014 and has published 58 stories, is an attorney in Lexington, Kentucky.
Like Toddlers Discovering Boundaries, Republicans Test Democracy for Weaknesses by johnboatner dives into specifics of various Trump lawsuits attempting to throw out votes and nullify vote certifications in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. “Compared to the Wisconsin case, the Pennsylvania one is pretty straight forward—at least logically. In other words, the Wisconsin case requires the suspension of reason to make any sense at all.” After describing the basis of the lawsuits compared to on-the-ground realities, the writer offers analysis and opinion. ”Do Republicans honestly believe that Democrats will suddenly become insouciant after democracy has been ripped away? Are they so ignorant of history that they cannot imagine what happens next?” John, who served in the Navy, has written 12 stories since joining in 2017.
Admiral Trump’s solo from Trump the Musical, with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan by Greg from Vermont, who joined in 2015 and has written 63 stories, provides a change of pace with a light hearted parody of the “Modern Major General” song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. ”Religious Fakirs know the score. They watch me sin and cry for “More!” They really never cared at all, even when I bribed a whore.”
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.
An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 1 PM ET (10AM PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 6:30PM ET (3:30PM PT).