The drawback of left-right “grand coalitions”

Grand coalitions play into the hands of populists, he suggests, because they signal to voters that political contests are redundant.

… “civilised conflict” helps keep politics, and parties, alive.

The Economist: Social democracy is floundering everywhere in Europe, except Portugal

Be a pal. Care.

I don’t need sympathy or special consideration because, ultimately, who cares? You hate me, and I hate me, too. We are on the same team. I guess what I’m saying is that maybe we could all just mind our own fucking business for once, and that when you can actually see a person’s scars, maybe be a pal and don’t pick at them.

Samantha Irby, in ‘We are never meeting in real life’

Sympathy, Schadenfreude, and Mockery

Affleck’s was the kind of middle-aged-white-male sadness that the Internet loves to mock—a mocking that depends, simultaneously, on a complete rejection of this sadness, as well as a hedging identification with it. These depressed-Affleck images can arouse both amusement and a sense of poignancy, a touch of Schadenfreude as well as something like sympathy.

The New Yorker: The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck

Brotherhood of the sportsy people…

There is this vague sense of brotherhood, among people who have played competitive sport, and that’s hard to permeate for non sports-persons.

Lessons from Shoe Dog


There’s a shared experience of getting up at an ungodly hour to train in all kinds of weather, for a chance at reaching the commanding heights of a sport you love. Or hate. Probably both.

In China, the party is a vengeful god

Most people interviewed by Reuters declined to be named even when expressing relatively benign views on China’s leaders out of fear they would face repercussions.

“If the Communist Party tells us the sky is black, then the sky is black,” said one retiree strolling through Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, declining to give his name.

Reuters: China’s unspoken compact put to test by Xi power play