Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead.

My college dorm was the first place I had reliable home internet access, and that was in part because my mom shared all the late 1990s and early 2000s parenting fears about the internet breaking our brains. These worries were an extension of prior concerns about television: Don’t sit so close! You’ll hurt your eyes looking at a screen that long. How many hours today? That stuff rots your mind. You’re getting manipulated by ads. Go outside. Go see your friends. No, you can’t see an R-rated movie — those images will be in your brain forever. No, we’re not watching that on a school night. No, you can’t have… Read More

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The damage Trump would do

On Thursday afternoon, when lawyers for the president of the United States were alleging (wholly without evidence) that Democrats stole the presidential election for Joe Biden with a combination of fraudulent mail-in ballots and voting machines rigged by Venezuela’s deceased left-wing populist autocrat Hugo Chavez, a new YouGov poll of 1,500 registered voters revealed that 88 percent of Republicans think Donald Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election. There is no sign whatsoever that Trump will ever concede the election or cease trying to discredit it. How likely is it that this will “work,” in the sense that he will succeed in preventing Biden from taking the oath… Read More

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America is buckling

If you’ve been following the news lately, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that we’re watching the slow-motion breakdown of American self-government. I don’t mean anything as dramatic and clear-cut as the seizure of authoritarian power by Donald Trump (although he’s evidently trying). I’m talking about something a little subtler, but potentially just as destabilizing and perilous for America’s future. Donald Trump’s antics — doing everything he can to steal the presidential election in the name of preventing his victorious opponent, Joe Biden, from stealing it — are a big part of this. But Trump is just an expression of something far more widespread in American society. While most Republican… Read More

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Denial’s catastrophic cost

This is the editor’s letter in the current issue of The Week magazine. Jodi Doering, an emergency room nurse at a South Dakota hospital, is a daily witness to just how sick our country has become. People severely ill with COVID-19 are flooding her hospital, suffering also from an extreme case of cognitive dissonance: They’d been told the pandemic was a concoction of the fake news media. “They tell you there must be another reason they are sick,” an exhausted Doering recounted on Twitter this week. Even while gasping for breath, she says, the patients insist “they don’t have COVID because it’s not real.” The delusional talk only stops when… Read More

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