Day: October 23, 2020

Saturday Soundtrack: Paradise

Music is a language that helps us process loss. Throughout 2020, Americans have had to call on that language time and again as more than 223,000 of our fellow citizens have lost their lives to COVID.  Overall, “25% of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household was laid off or lost their job because of the coronavirus outbreak, with 15% saying this happened to them personally.” On top of this health and economic crisis, we are facing the potential loss of our democracy to minority rule. So many have suffered personal losses during this year, holes in their lives that shake their soul. For those who find nurture in roots, country, folk, and acoustic music, the death of singer/songwriter John Prine to COVID early in the pandemic still creates a void that is difficult to fill. But we try. Thankfully, music provides a way to remember lives and process loss. For this Saturday Soundtrack, I want to focus on the remembrance of a song that, in itself, is about loss: John Prine’s Paradise, …

Misinformation and the threat to democracy

Take any old laptop, add a legally blind store owner, conveniently forget to save security camera tape from the store before it is erased, throw in some Russian disinformation, turn to Rudy Giuliani and Rupert Murdoch — two titans of misinformation — to sell your story and “boom,” just like that you have a faux scandal! If you are not a regular consumer of the right-wing infotainment networks and watched the last presidential debate, you may be confused about all the talk by Trump of a “laptop from hell” that (allegedly) included emails (again!) and compromising photographs of Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and “proved” that the whole Biden family was corrupt. Talk about your projection. Trying to control the flow of information is one of the chief threats to democracy, and in Donald Trump we may not have a master at the art, but it isn’t for lack of trying. Attorney, professor, and author Teri Kanefield writes, “Democracy is based on rule of law, which requires a shared truth (a functioning public sphere). Fascism, to …