Slate Plus

What a Year That Was

The Slate Plus Digest for Nov. 10.

Yeah, it’s been a year.

Michele Piacquadio/Hemera

Want to relive the first year of the Trump administration? Of course not—why would anyone want to do that? So it’s a little mystifying that our crack interactive developer Andrew Kahn built this incredible thing, which lets you replay the year through a database of breaking-news push alerts from the New York Times. It kicks off our election anniversary package, the Year in Push Alerts.

And when you’re done with that …

From Slate

What’s wrong with the Democratic Party? Craven operatives like Donna Brazile, writes Osita Nwanevu in a scathing review of Brazile’s contentious new book.

The Democratic Party’s crushing victory this week was a decisive defeat for “Trumpism without Trump”—which is to say, for white identity politics. It’s also a victory that was driven by women—and one that should encourage more to run for office next year.

So why do Republicans still control the Virginia state Legislature? Gerrymandering.

Here in New York, onetime great progressive hope Bill de Blasio won, and no one paid much attention. Henry Grabar explains why de Blasio’s first term has been so lackluster.

Is reporting on mass shootings starting to feel queasily familiar?

This story, out of Saudi Arabia, hasn’t gotten much attention, because there is only so much attention to go around and famous men keep being exposed as sexual predators, but it’s crazy!

Not From Slate

We have tended not, in this newsletter, to include what a former Slate editor described as “Cletus safaris”—stories in which a metropolitan reporter parachutes into a white working-class community and discovers that people there still love and admire Donald Trump and also are ignorant and racist. It’s a tired genre; it tells us little about either people or politics; to describe a particular sector of the population as “forgotten” or ignored becomes, in the eighth or 12th or 20th colorful ethnography of that sector to appear in a mainstream media outlet, a risible self-contradiction. And there’s a fundamental tautology at the heart of the premise: A president’s base is, by definition, the set of people who still support him even when everyone else has decided he’s a dangerous and incompetent narcissist. But this one by Michael Kruse is very good anyway.

Emily Nussbaum wrote about Louis C.K., and so did Matt Zoller Seitz, and both of their reflections are worth reading. (As is our own Willa Paskin’s.)

“It would be comforting to think that Trump is the problem when it comes to the threat of a nuclear war, and that once he’s removed we can breathe freely again, as we imagined we did under Obama. But what we mistook for safety was more like sleepwalking.”

If we encounter alien life in the next decade—which seems more likely now than it did a few years ago, on account of how weird things keep happening lately—their first contact will probably be with China. Nothing in the Spielberg canon prepared me for this fascinating piece in the Atlantic.

I’m not sure why the Ringer decided now was the time for a piece on the New York Times grunge lexicon hoax of 1992, but I am glad that they did.

Very Short Q-and-A

This week’s personal questions are addressed to Slate managing editor Megan Wiegand.

I understand you ran 100 miles last weekend. What? How?

Slowly, and with months of training. I’ve been following a training schedule since May, but really it’s the culmination of five-plus years of running ultras (anything over marathon distance). I’ve spent lots of time these past few months waking up before dawn to log miles and cutting back on social time because I knew I needed to sleep and wake up to run 20 or 30 miles the next day.

I also had the help of four crew members—friends who voluntarily gave up their weekend to hang out in the Alabama woods and get only an hour or two of sleep in a van and deal with my food tantrums and blisters and sweaty clothes. This race allowed you to have a pacer (someone who runs with you) from mile 41 to the finish, so they kept me company and made sure I stayed ahead of cutoffs. There’s zero chance I would have finished without them. They’re saints.

How do you ask someone to come to Alabama to sleep in a van so you can test the limits of the human body?

I’m unbelievably lucky to have stumbled into a group—my trail family, Team Gaylord—where crewing is something we enjoy doing. I usually end up crewing or pacing for two or three friends a year, and they in turn help me (or others). Even so, I consider it the highest honor to have them want to help me. I’m not anywhere close to getting married, but I imagine it must be similar to the gratitude you feel toward a bridal party.

How did you feel when you had finished running 100 miles and how do you feel a week later?

When I crossed the finish line, people were cheering and hugging me, but all I can remember thinking was chair chair chair chair shoes off chair chair chair chair. I wish I could say I savored the moment, but my sole focus was on sitting down and taking off my nasty shoes and socks. (I also wanted a beer, but no one had any.)

I sprained my right ankle pretty badly at mile 10, so a week later, I’m still hobbling around. The swelling’s gone down, but it’s still angry at me (rightfully so). If it weren’t for the ankle, I think I could go run a few miles! But instead I’m enjoying moving very little and eating everything in sight.

Wait, how do you run 90 miles on a sprained ankle? What the fuck, Meg?

We like to say there’s a very fine line between badass and dumbass. I actually rolled (sprained?) it five times between mile 10 and mile 25. After a while it just went numb!

(There is a horrible picture of Meg’s ankle here, if you like that kind of thing. Trigger warning: horrible ankle.)

Jesus Christ.

It looks better now!

Why would you do this to yourself?

I’m an iiiiidiot.

Thanks, Meg! And thank you for your Slate Plus membership, which makes our journalism possible. See you next week!

Gabriel Roth

Editorial director, Slate Plus