PERSONAL

A look at the first week of my new media diet

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It’s been a week of my new media diet. As soon as Joe Biden was sworn in, I decided to refresh my daily intake. Not because I don’t believe we all need to be politically active or outspoken (see all of my previous writing), but because the adults are finally back in the room, and we can all breathe a least a tiny sigh of relief. Those of us on the left felt it en masse on Wednesday, like a physical weight — not so tiny — had been lifted. The challenges ahead are daunting, and they will require all of us to be active citizens, but Jesus I don’t need an update every five minutes. …


POLITICS

What government and media need to change immediately

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Joe Biden hasn’t even been president for a week, but the spin machines at the polar ends of our political spectrum are already hard at work. The president’s call for unity has been sliced and diced every which way imaginable, but what is sorely lacking in the conversation are actual, practical, executable ideas for how to unify this country.

The divide is deep and painful across the states and across family dinner tables. We have only to look at the Capitol Riot and the now year-long politicization of masks to see that what started as a political football game — are you Team Red or Team Blue?— has become a dangerous and life-threatening chasm between the left and right. …


CAPITOL CRISIS

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Photo by Cameron Smith on Unsplash

Here we go. As the impeachment begins this week and the nation battles on television and social media about the value of such a proceeding, it is important for all us to remember that this move is both punitive and, at the same time, meant to prevent further violence — at least violence directly inflamed by the sitting president. Only one thing can save our nation, though, and it must come directly from Donald J. Trump himself: an admission that the election was not, in fact, stolen.

Impeachment or the invocation of the 25th Amendment are simply the responses to the events that occurred last week. As many a member of Congress has said, at this point, we have no choice. The Capitol riot was an assault on the very sanctity of our system. It is a system that is, yes, sacred. Of the 107 billion humans that have ever lived on this planet, we are some of the lucky few who have had the privilege of self-governing. And those who threaten that system make it more fragile and less likely to survive. …


PANDEMIC

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In this dark age of misinformation (and disinformation), there are certain moments that are as predictable as winter snow. They are a function of the singular moment in time in which we’re living. The perfect storm now swirls in America of unchecked social media, a clickbait-driven “traditional” media, a bitterly divided political landscape, and record levels of unemployment. This is the same soil from which our national vaccine effort is about to sprout. And with it will come the now-requisite misinformation. The likeliest lament coming in 2021: “I got Covid from the vaccine.”

In a recent phone interview with Dr. Joseph Rahimian, an infectious disease doctor who has been on the forefront of the Covid pandemic in New York City, the expert shared his thoughts on what he can only describe as “inevitable.” “Given the number of new cases that we’re seeing and the large number of people who are about to be rapidly vaccinated, it is inevitable that someone who has recently acquired Covid and is asymptomatic will receive a vaccine and then get Covid symptoms,” said Rahimian. “This will likely happen multiple times, and some of those people will assume that it was the shot that caused the disease.” …


NEW YORK

When good businesses die

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

For the first time in a long time, I bought a magazine at the check-out counter. It’s been a year of dependency on online tools and a virtual life that I normally resist but that we have all been forced into thanks to the pandemic. Lately, I have been relishing as many brick-and-mortar moments as I can get, anything to balance a life now led on Zoom. The cover story of the latest issue of New York Magazine features illustrations of the storefronts of 38 New York businesses that are now closed, permanently. …


DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES

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Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Dear Medium Friends,

Hello from New York City, all. I hope this post finds you doing well, despite the odd year through which we’re all struggling. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours. Of the many things I am grateful for this year, Medium is one of them. This space remains a true sanctuary for me — and I hope for you — as the world and its pain clang around us.

I’m going to take a few weeks here in this space to depart from my usual pandemic ponderings and political analysis to focus on the personal. It is that time of year, when my home gets a little quieter and a little colder but warmed by reflections of the year that has been. This year is unique, in so many ways, and I want to celebrate the good times, even if they happen during the worst of moments. …


In 2020, there’s no other choice

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Photo: NeONBRAND/Unsplash

Every Zoom meeting has ended the same way this week: “So, what are your Thanksgiving plans?” In years past, a question like this at the end of a business chat might’ve seemed like a polite platitude, a simple way to show a colleague you’re aware they have a life outside of the office. This year, though, the question is weighed down with real urgency: “What are you doing? I seriously need to know.”

We’re all looking for guidance on how to handle this moment. Do we gather? Do we mask? …


Though it seems like a curse, we can choose to see it as a gift

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Credit: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

This is the year we all woke up to how slowly the physical world moves. After 20 years of the internet training our brains that messages, food, packages, and Friday-night dates can be delivered instantaneously, 2020 has been a difficult reminder that we are, after all, human beings. Our bodies can only fight so fast. Our scientists can only work so fast. Our election officials can only count so fast. We are not robots. We cannot overcome the limits of the physical world.

Today, then, is a true test of our patience. The not knowing who will be president is a reminder of how little control we actually have in this life. Yes, we can effect change, but controlling how exactly that change happens, what it looks like, and how quickly it happens is often beyond us. This is a moment for us all to sit with ourselves and our families and be present to the right here and now. The future of America is unclear. The future of the virus is unclear. For so many, the future of our personal economy, our jobs, our businesses is unclear. That lack of clarity can quickly turn to hopelessness. And, left long enough, it can harden into a bitterness that is seemingly impossible to lift oneself out of. …


POLITICS

You’ll feel better November 4th

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Yes, we’re all exhausted. This year has brought us to our knees. We’re doing our best to hold our heads high as layer upon layer of trauma hits us. The chapters of pandemic life have crashed into us like waves, each harder and more painful than the last: the initial shock, the Zoom orientation, the Great Pause, the life pivot, the summer that wasn’t, now the autumn realization that — wow — this isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Add on top of that the protests, the riots, the homeschooling, and now, well, Sean Connery has died. The memes don’t lie: 2020 is scary enough. …


SATIRE

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Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
  1. Kristen Welker, the moderator, will orchestrate the debate with a massive switchboard on her desk, Beats by Dre on her ears, and a red Staples Easy Button she’ll press to mute the candidates. Muting will go wrong, and we’ll hear Trump interrupt his own voice while Biden’s lips move on screen.
  2. In his introductory remarks, Joe will say, “Well, it’s nice of you to join us at the debates, Mr. President.” Trump will say that anyone who wants to debate on Zoom is a “pussy.” #ZoomPussy will trend and will battle Toobin’s #ZoomDick on Twitter.
  3. Trump will claim that Giuliani was only tucking his shirt in, then he will demonstrate how to tuck in a dress shirt, taking down his pants on stage. In the audience, the Woman in the Red Glasses from Miami will swoon. At that point, the guys who invented “Untuckit” will rush on stage to promo their new fall line. …

About

Julio Vincent Gambuto

Where the personal, pandemic and the political meet // juliovincent.com • @juliovincent

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