News We’re Not Reading

By now the whole “memo” thing has probably got you whipped into a froth of distrust, confusion, and, if we’re honest, exasperated apathy. That’s ok, I’m in the same boat. The partisan rhetoric around the Nunes Memo is so slanted, so furious, that it’s pretty hard to know how much of what’s being said is true, if any of it. It can be even harder to reconcile how you probably feel about the memo with how you probably feel about Ed Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, etc. while trying to maintain an iota of ideological consistency.

And heck call me a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t help but think that this melange of confusion and outrage is exactly where They want us to be: at each others’ throats for reasons we can’t quite articulate while they laugh their way to the bank to put our civil rights in a safe. It almost feels like nothing is really real anymore, and from this fish tank of absolute relativism it’s easy to forget that some things really are true.

At atmospheric pressure, freshwater will freeze at 0 degrees Celsius. An object, free falling in a vacuum, will accelerate toward the earth at a rate of 9.8 meters per second squared. The relationship between a circle’s circumference and its radius is defied by pi.

Doesn’t that feel better? Great.

But it doesn’t take away from the fact that while the media circus surrounding the current administration is like a car wreck you can’t look away from, in real life things are still happening. With all of this hubbub about memos and the stock market and Tom Brady there are some big stories that we’re not seeing enough about.

Like, Cape Town is about to run out of water. This is one of those things that’s hard to wrap our heads around. It feels a bit like a street corner doomsday proclamation that in a few weeks a city the size of Los Angeles will shut down its municipal water supply. When more than a million residents there turn the faucet, nothing will come out. This is because the city is out of water. I don’t think that I can put this in more stark, terrifying terms. So on the bright side, here’s a picture of the fountains at the Bellagio:

We’ve still got water so what’s the big deal?

In Myanmar the army is murdering and raping a Muslim minority into obsolescence. The majority Buddhist government is killing tens of thousands of people, and disguising the mass graves with fire and acid so that no memorial of the Rohingya people exists. It’s almost like a community’s religion is independent from its propensity for violence, but hey that’s crazy talk. The travel ban must stand! Keep Muslim refugees out!

And speaking of genocide, today Poland’s president said that he would sign legislation that makes it illegal to question Polish complicity in the Holocaust. Even studying the government’s role in establishing Nazi death camps may be illegal now. This is another move by a right wing, white nationalist government to whitewash and forget the atrocities of the past century.

We are confronted with real, true problems and need to get above the noise.

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