Journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Follow me on Twitter at @mtracey.
Taken at face value, who could argue against “Christmas cheer?” Everyone looks forward to the Holiday Season, so the lore goes. Christmas is a national reprieve from the mundanity of everyday life, a time to set aside our troubles, kick back, and revel in festivity. When “cheer” is experienced genuinely, it can have great salutary effect. But when cheer is effectively enforced — by cultural and/or familial custom — it can do just the opposite. I don’t feel particularly compelled to adopt a cheerful demeanor simply because tomorrow happens to be the 25th day of December, and the expectation that I must sours my mood further. Ritualistic expressions of saccharine cheer are almost always pretty depressing, in fact, on Christmas or any other day. Read more
Last week, I wrote about the wrongheadedness of describing Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the Newtown massacre, as “Evil.” The word “Evil” very often connotes not merely moral judgment, but divine judgment, so as much as secular people might want to appropriate the word for nonreligious ends, most Americans will inevitably associate it with hazy notions of sin, the immaterial soul, eternal punishment, etc. On Friday, NRA president Wayne LaPierre went on a rambling tirade, some of which I quoted in a post. Here are another few telling lines: Read more
Senseless “controversies” break out constantly in Washington D.C. Political media habitually magnify the most inane, insider-y machinations and petty divisions, which most of the time can be safely ignored. But the ongoing controversy involving former Republican senator Chuck Hagel is worth paying attention to, if only because it has provided such useful insight into the nature of modern D.C. governing norms. Read more
The National Rifle Association has finally broken its silence and issued a formal comment on the Newtown massacre. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” declared president Wayne LaPierre this morning, urging Congress to “act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.” Read more