There’s a famous aphorism often attributed to Miles Davis which says that the notes you don’t play in jazz are more important than the ones you do. Much the same can be said of political memoirs and, indeed, most books written by politicians or professional apparatchiks, particularly if published during an election year: being a genre largely concerned with PR and brand-building, they tend to be heavy on pablum and featherlight when it comes to substance; glorified press releases masquerading as earnest reflections or honest tales of personal triumph in the face of adversity. To any but the most credulous reviewer, they therefore present something of a dilemma. How exactly, after all, are you supposed to write about what isn’t there?
Apocryphal though they may be, this is where the words ascribed to America’s great jazz innovator really come in handy. In my experience as a regular (and almost always reluctant) appraiser of books and speeches by liberal and centrist politicians, identifying the blank space — the things left unsaid, the issues unaddressed, the possibilities elided, the questions unanswered, the past events ignored, the facts omitted, etc. — can often get you quite a long way.
David Plouffe’s A Citizen’s Guide to Beating Donald Trump, for example, spends just over 250 pages telling readers to canvass, phone bank, and write approving social media posts about a generic and entirely hypothetical Democratic nominee. Tasked with reviewing it, I was initially stumped about what, if anything, to say — an ostensible handbook for fighting the Right with scant reference to ideology, program, or social vision not exactly offering up a lot of raw material with which to work. My writer’s block persisted until I realized that Plouffe’s omissions were precisely the point, his vision of liberalism being one that either treats most real political questions as settled or considers them none of the average person’s business (the permissible kind of rank-and-file activism in the modern Democratic Party being about deference to party elites and not much else).
It shouldn’t shock us, but here we are again, folks. We can think Democrats can’t be this dense, but they always find ways to amaze, don’t they? If you could guess what the top three issues Democratic voters are most concerned with what would you pick? Climate change? The economy? Taxes? Nope. It’s Trump supporters, white supremacy, and systemic racism. I’m not kidding. We’re facing job losses and a stagnant economy that will remain stuck in the mud if this minimum wage hike passes in the COVID relief bill. And Democrats’ top concerns are issues that won’t help a single person in America. It’s selfish. It’s detached. It shows that these people really don’t have a care in the world. It must be nice. Only the financially secure and the privileged can say they’re really, really worried about people with differing political views.
A Democrat lawmaker in Illinois has announced he wants to ban the sale of Grand Theft Auto (GTA), along with other video games that feature violence, after his state witnessed an increase in the amount of carjackings.
Democrat state Rep. Marcus Evans introduced the bill, HB 3531, which aims to amend an Illinois law preventing violent video games from being sold to children to an all-out ban on the sale “of all violent video games” to anyone.
During a press conference on Monday, Evans mentioned Grand Theft Auto by name and put into his own words what he believes to be an example of a violent video game. According to Evans, “a video game that allows a user or player to control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal” is an example of a violent video game.
“The bill would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities that we’re suffering from in our communities,” Evans said.
“Grand Theft Auto and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking,” Evans continued. “Carjacking is not normal, and carjacking must stop.”
Evans also insisted that games like GTA promote behavior similar to that which has been seen prominently in Chicago.