Wednesday, May 5, 2021


Here's an interesting quote from a historian and activist named Heather Cox Richardson. (I don't have a link; she's on substack somewhere.)

In any normal era, the big story right now would be the country’s dramatic economic recovery from the recession sparked by the coronavirus. In the first three months of 2021, the economy grew by 1.6% as economic stimulus measures kicked in and people started to buy things again. Amazon posted profits of $8.1 billion for the first three months of the year; the same months last year brought the company $2.5 billion. Supply chains are still frayed, pushing prices upward, but those problems are expected to ease as the chains heal.

And here is another from Jennifer Weiner (a person I've never heard of before).

Last year was not normal. There was stress snacking and procrasti-baking. There was no shedding for the wedding... in a year when most weddings were postponed or drastically downsized; no pre-high-school-reunion crash diet or worrying if Grandma would body-shame you at Thanksgiving.... But research from a company that makes internet-connected scales... found that people actually lost weight in 2020, or were more likely than in other years to hit their weight-loss goals, if they had them.... In any case, the weight-loss industry isn’t going to let a lack of data dull its zeal to convince Americans that yes, we got fat, and that now we need to get up off our couches and get back into shape.... I have one word for you: resist.

Cox Richardson was virulently anti Trump. Weiner probably was too but her thing is more the coming end of the lockdown. Both are writing about the return to "normality". Neither is enthusiastic about it and that's kinda weird. You fight really hard against something and now it's over or about to be over and you're not happy. This is the point where someone with a reasonable amount of self-awareness might begin to question themselves.

In any normal era I suspect that Cox Richardson would be suspicious of the term normal, carrying as it does the root "norm". "Normal" in this context means the way Cox Richardson thinks things should be.  That said, I'll cut hers some slack because I feel for her;  her side "won" but it didn't work out the way she was hoping. I suspect it's going to get worse for her. A lot worse.

I have to say I'm a little shocked at how poorly Cox Richardson's arguments are. She writes in long strings of non sequiturs. Weiner is no better. The evidence of weight loss, for example, is dodgy at best. Some people who had goals and worked towards them met them. In addition, these scales were connected to the internet. There was a sense of someone else holding them accountable. That is hardly a representative sample. Weiner resists "normal" but her perspective is the same as Cox Richardson: the world is failing to meet her expectations. 

I don't think that is psychologically healthy. I know being overweight is neither psychologically nor physically healthy.