Yesterday was a momentous day for the United States, and I’ve been reading all the news and analysis I can about it. Here are a few articles that stand out.
Heather Cox Richardson: “Letters From an American: January 20, 2021”
Richardson is an amazing and perceptive writer. Her daily emails aren’t really articles — they’re more like timely, thoughtfully written recaps. Her piece about yesterday’s inauguration was one of her best so far, using Amanda Gorman’s poem to frame Biden’s inaugural speech and first actions in office.
In these terrible years, our politicians often failed us… but the American people did not. Our national guardrails often failed us… but the American people did not. Many of our neighbors often failed us, but the American people did not.
The Washington Post Editorial Board: “Yes, This Time Could Be Different. Biden Really Could Unite the Country.”
Who would blame editorial boards for being a little cautious at a time like this? Democracy reached its straining point under Trump, and no one can predict how long or hard it will take to repair the damage. But the Post’s writers find reasons for optimism — and, reading the piece, I found myself agreeing with them. It is a time for hopefulness.
There are many reasons to hope Mr. Biden’s message, delivered with evident passion and no little eloquence, could have real effect. One reason is that, unlike Mr. Trump, he did not contaminate it with rancor about “carnage” and “stolen” jobs, or pit a “righteous” public against an exploitative “establishment.” He instead urged “humility” and asked “those who did not support us” to “hear me out.”
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate: “Words Mean Something Again”
I have a passion for language and appreciate anyone that can master the difficult balance between meaning, tone, precision, and artistry. This article looks at how Biden and Gorman accomplished that balancing act yesterday — and celebrates the return of honest language to our national discourse
There has been so much lying over these past four years. So much violence done to language, which is then cast as jokes or irony or merely what “other people” are saying. So much of our work of the past four years has been to find the bits of truth in the ash heap. That’s why it matters that Biden’s words today came from a tongue that used to fail him. He knows their power. They aren’t easy trinkets for him.
Maura Judkis, Washington Post: “Inside the Stretch Limo Where ‘Tiger King’ Star Joe Exotic’s Team Waited for a Pardon That Never Came”
This one is so bizarre that I don’t need to write my own commentary. Here’s just a taste.
So confident was Team Tiger of Exotic’s imminent release that it also hired a hairdresser, who was waiting in Debose’s limo to coif Exotic’s signature platinum-blonde mullet.