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The Daily Take for Tuesday

The Daily Take for 7/19/22 – on despair porn and Cassandras.

3 min read

There’s an author I read on Medium named Umair Haque. If you ever need to lower your joy level by a notch or two, just read his latest. Well-written, well-sourced, and almost always dystopian.

He has 197,000 followers.

Let’s face it, “despair porn” sells. There is something perversely satisfying about reading how bad everything is and nodding in agreement, all while thinking to yourself “why can’t everyone else see this?” It’s similar to the QAnon phenomenon, where adherents feel part of the “in the know” crowd.

But here’s a question: What if Umair is right?

Cassandra was “a Trojan priestess dedicated to the god Apollo and fated by him to utter true prophecies but never to be believed,” according to Wikipedia. We have our own Cassandras today, as well.

Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa of Gaslit Nation fame were calling the Trump presidency “an international crime syndicate masquerading as a government” – in 2015, before he was elected. They were derided as way-out-there conspiracy theorists – until they were proven right.

And of course, we have Al Gore, warning us about the climate crisis back when it would have been possible to prevent most of it, if we had acted. He, too, was made fun of. I doubt many people are laughing at his work today.

So, I find myself regularly stuck between calling something “despair porn” and telling myself “it can’t get that bad,” and then the next moment wondering “but what if it does?”

And, of course, as a very-small-time publisher, I feel the need to sound an alarm — to be a Cassandra, if you will — in the hopes that some people, at least, will listen.

Somehow, there must be a way to issue a warning, and issue it realistically and forcefully, without falling into the “despair porn” trap. And that is the dilemma I find myself in pretty much all the time – how to do that.

If you have ideas or other feedback, send them on.


All for today. Thanks, as always, for reading – and for supporting the work.


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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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All results from Tuesday’s primary

Here’s a list of all the results from Kentucky’s 2024 primary election that were reported on the Board of Elections site. These include federal, state legislative, and some judges and county attorneys.

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