Slate Plus

Taking a Bold Stand

Lifestyle gurus, Trump whisperers, left-wing conspiracymongers, and more, in the Slate Plus Digest.

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

First off, a position statement: Slate Plus—and (indeed I feel reasonably confident in asserting although I haven’t asked anyone) Slate as a whole—stands foursquare against the practice of assaulting journalists when they ask you policy questions you don’t want to answer while running for office here in the United States. I’m ambivalent about making this statement, not because I entertain any real doubts about the position itself but because the fact that it’s a “position” at all—one side of some kind of “debate” in which everyone lines up along the usual partisan axis—is the problem in and of itself. But I guess this is where we are now, and we have to face reality, in which there are Republican congressional front-runners who feel like they can beat the shit out of working reporters on mic with impunity and say, “No, this is bad.” So that’s what I’m doing here, for all the good it will do, i.e., none. OK, here’s some stuff to read.

From Slate

  • Schools are facing increasing pressure to boost graduation rates, so they’re turning to online courses. This week’s the Big Shortcut series, a collaboration with Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project, asks what that means for kids in danger of flunking out.
  • We’re all living in the world Fox News made. So why is the network so boring these days—and why is it shedding so many viewers?
  • Trump defenders lean on the “only joking” defense. What does that mean for actual jokes? Dahlia Lithwick asked a bunch of comedians; they’re worried.
  • What’s the deal with Louise Mensch, anyway?
  • Isaac Chotiner’s obituary for Roger Moore is really sweet.

Not from Slate

  • Sarah Blackwood’s Parenting by the Books essays are hard to describe, but this one, on kindergarten and loneliness, is especially lovely.
  • The big question around health care reform, as Brian Beutler puts it: Will Republican lies catch up to them before or after they ruin people’s lives?
  • Delicious profile of “lifestyle guru” Amanda Chantal Bacon
  • Equally delicious profile of New York Times Trump whisperer Maggie Haberman.
  • We’re now apparently low on sand, in case you didn’t have enough to worry about.
  • Even now, after everything, there’s something freshly upsetting about the details of Jared Kushner’s slumlord empire.
  • The great tech writer Walt Mossberg goes out with a great bigthink summing-up.

And finally

Don’t miss the first episode of our Conspiracy Thrillers Movie Club, in which Sam Adams and Mark Harris talk over The Manchurian Candidate. Future episodes will take on All the President’s Men, the Bourne trilogy, and Get Out—and they’re only for Slate Plus members.

Thanks for your membership, which makes our work possible.

Gabriel Roth
Editorial director, Slate Plus