Paragraph To Ponder

David Remnick, “The Coronavirus and the Threat Within the White House”.

“In terms of scale, the West Wing is less like the Kremlin or the Élysée Palace than like the cramped executive offices of a medium-sized insurance company. The hallways are tight. The chairs in the Cabinet Room sit close to one another. The Oval Office itself, where Presidents routinely hold working sessions with many aides, is smaller than you might expect. And yet numerous reports in the press have described how, owing to the President’s attitude, employees, reporters, and visitors to the West Wing are disdained or mocked if they wear a mask.”

New Year’s Assorted Links

1. Most memorable sports images of the decade.

2. Unconventional strategies for practicing Spanish.

3. The culture that is Sweden. Lunch lady slammed for food that is ‘too good’.

4. What will you do to stay weird?

5. How TV predicted politics in the 2010s.

“Shows like ‘Veep’ and ‘House of Cards’ offered a new, darker theory: The system can never work if everybody in politics is terrible and venal and self-serving—and the very nature of Washington makes people terrible and venal and self-serving.

‘Veep,’ a kind of inverse of ‘The West Wing’ that premiered in 2012, was a farce about ambitious politician Selina Meyer and her marginally competent, politically hungry staff. . . . And her disdain for the actual public is glaringly obvious. (“I’ve met some people, some real people, and I’ve got to tell you, a lot of them are f—ing idiots,” she says in the first season.) Where the staffers in ‘The West Wing’ were fast and loyal friends, Meyer’s staffers mock and undermine one another other without mercy. The closest thing Meyer has to a friend is the devoted body guy who brings her snacks on demand and whispers useful facts in her ear in public settings. In the series finale, she sets him up to take the fall for a political scandal—and watches FBI agents haul him away, out of the corner of her eye, as she delivers a nomination acceptance speech at the party convention.”

Youngest is still not over Selina’s sacking of “devoted body guy”.

6. California is booming. Why are so many Californians unhappy? There’s more to it than UCLA basketball bottoming out.