The Angle

The Angle: Meaningful Democracy Edition

Slate’s daily newsletter on who really counts in America, the state of comedy, the Middle East, and opera.

Who counts? Too often, voting rights and voter suppression are all but ignored until Election Day. That’s a huge mistake, says Dahlia Lithwick, who sees these unglamorous issues as more important than any one candidate or policy. “If you still believe that democracy matters—as I want to—then we must be focused on the right to vote, right now, and on into the indefinite future,” she writes. That’s why we’re launching an ambitious new initiative over the next year, exploring the central question of our democracy: Who counts? And we need your support.

Comedy Week: The Gist is kicking off a week of talking about comedy, and Mike Pesca’s introductory essay on the state of comedy in 2019 (it’s a vast improvement over the state of comedy in preceding years) pulls no punches about how better comedy isn’t all good: “we have gotten much funnier as a people: funnier professionally, funnier personally, and funnier societally. This phenomenon isn’t a purely salutary development.”

Warm war: So, um, things aren’t looking great again in the Middle East, where a Saudi oil facility suffered a massive drone attack over the weekend. Iran is soldiering the blame, but as usual, it’s impossible to prove who really did it. As is now typical, talk of retaliation is growing in Washington, but will anything come of it? Joshua Keating explains the latest incident in an ongoing cycle.

“The classical music industry is super queer”: Over the weekend, openly queer mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton performed wearing a dress inspired by the bisexual pride flag at Britain’s biggest classical festival. Slate’s own June Thomas spoke with Barton about her success, her advocacy, her body positivity, and more. “I’m sitting in a meeting with the BBC last October, and I have purple hair and a side shave and a nose ring, and I’m wondering, are they going to want me to grow my hair out? How conservative do I need to be for this?” Barton recalls.

For fun: Don’t try to get a 19th-century literary reference past advice columnist Nicole Cliffe.

My advice: Don’t let your kids skate on thin ice,