Everything Is Terrible And We Could Use Some Nice Things
Waking up to news of a second mass shooting within 24 hours, we have to admit it almost seemed inappropriate to be bringing you kittens and puppies and lite news things. There's so much horror -- is it irresponsible to look away? But we had this thing partly written already, and maybe it would help to have some reminders that not everything in the world is awful. Rest assured; our intent isn't to distract, but to offer a chance to recharge before we all get back into our daily focus on what this damned country needs to work on. Let's take a moment to breathe.
Which Presidential Candidates Would You Allow To Dogsit?
By the end of Wednesday's debate, we were ready to ditch the CNN-arranged slugfest, and along came this Twitter thread by Lauren Hough, who is very much worth following. Her political analysis via doggos is very accurate, too.
Go read the whole thing; it's beautiful and no, we won't steal the entire thread. Also, she's right about Warren, we suspect.
Look At This Sunlit Hummingbird! Just Look At It!
These are some gorgeous photos by Christian Spencer; go see the full set!
How To End Your Civil War Diary
Military history PhD candidate Eric Michael Burke found the perfect ending for a Civil War diary; the diarist is Private Calvin Ainsworth, of the 25th Iowa Volunteer Infantry.
I have been gone three years. I meet my wife and Oh, such a greeting. I left our baby boy in the cradle, six weeks old. I find him walking the fence. I said to my wife, "That boy will surely fall off the fence", and my wife said, "That boy will never fall off the fence", and he never did.
Add Ashokan Farewell as needed.
A Couple Things To Read
1. Game Theory. The Atlantic explainers how the game "Candy Land" was invented by a San Diego schoolteacher, Eleanor Abbott, to give little kids stuck in a polio ward something to keep them occupied. Not a lot is known about Abbott, but she knew exactly what kids were going through -- first hand:
There is reason to believe that Abbott was ideally suited to consider polio from a child's perspective. As a schoolteacher, she would have been acquainted with children's thoughts and needs. And in 1948, when she was in her late 30s, she herself contracted the disease. Abbott recuperated in the polio ward of a San Diego hospital, spending her convalescence primarily among children.
Imagine what it must have been like to share an entire hospital ward with children struggling against polio, day after day, as an adult. Kids are poorly equipped to cope with boredom and separation from their loved ones under normal circumstances. But it would be even more unbearable for a child confined to a bed or an iron lung. That was the context in which Abbott made her recovery.
The very earliest editions of the game feature a little boy wearing a leg brace. And there's a good argument to be made that Candy Land may have been more than just a way to pass the time. Its bright colors were a distraction from the institutional white of a hospital ward, and the whole game "functions as a mobility fantasy."
It simulates a leisurely stroll instead of the studied rigor of therapeutic exercise. And unlike the challenges of physical therapy, movement in Candy Land is so effortless, it's literally all one can do.
2. Warming Trends. Columbia Journalism Review reports audiences are finally paying a lot more attention to stories on climate. That could mean a change in the amount of coverage the topic gets in popular media. And damn, is that change needed!
Last fall, when the United Nations released a landmark climate report concluding that disastrous impacts of warming were nearer than previously thought and that rapid, worldwide changes were necessary, many leading outlets didn't cover the news at all. This spring, major networks devoted significantly more airtime to the royal baby than they did to climate change; ABC's World News Tonight, in particular, gave the baby more coverage in a week than it did climate change over the entirety of 2018.
An analysis of online reader behavior suggests public demand for more, and better, climate reporting may be increasing. CJR asked Chartbeat data scientist Su Hang to analyze "roughly 1,300 media websites worldwide (mostly in North America and Europe)" from January 2017 through June of this year.
Looking at the first quarter of each year, she found that the number of "engaged minutes" site visitors spent with climate stories in the first quarter of 2019—in other words, the minutes people spent reading—had almost doubled from the time spent in previous years. "The amount of time and attention readers are paying to climate change is strong and growing stronger," Hang says.
Reader data from the Los Angeles Times similarly shows climate reporting "has outperformed average stories in other news sections," and The Guardian says its fundraising for climate coverage has brought in some of the strongest donations of any beat -- and there again, "contributions resulting from environmental coverage were up 50 percent compared with the year before." In-depth climate stories are also getting far more views at the New York Times; what's more, subscriptions to its "Climate Fwd:" newsletter are way up. A CBS News VP says climate isn't just one of those eat your vegetables things that people need to be persuaded to read, but is becoming a genuine market: "This is going to affect almost every aspect of human life [...] I really consider it the beat of the future."
Yes, like taking action to reduce greenhouse gases, this should have happened decades ago. But as readers demand more and better coverage, we may start getting to a sort of informational tipping point that will lead to real political and economic change, late though it may be. That's the sort of positive feedback loop we need.
Random Twitter Wonderfulness
This disheveled baby parrot is our spirit animal.
The full pic is epic, and appears to have been bouncing around the interwebs since at least 2017.
Note to influential political pundit Our Girlfriend: when your daughter says she's tired of sending you new baby pics (Welcome again, Octavia, and God Damn It You've Got to Be Kind!), text THAT pic back.
Editorial comment over.
Hug someone you love. Pet a dog or cat or bearded dragon. Take a news hiatus if you need to. Watch that Steven Universe self-forgiveness song if it helps. And we'll get back to the politics soon enough. Yr Wonkette Loves You.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.