Incompetent coupsters, dastardly Prince Charles and more links for Monday, 12/7/2020

Trump and his supporters are staging an armed coup to steal the election – they’re laughably incompetent, but don’t kid yourself it’s not happening. Also on NextDraft: Millions of hungry Americans are turning to food banks for the first time. The pandemic "nightmare scenario" is here, as hospitals and health care are overwhelmed. And "Rudy is gonna leapfrog about 100,000 hospitalized patients to get the antibody cocktail to cure his Covid-19." December 7th | NextDraft — The Day’s Most Fascinating News


‘The Crown’ casts Prince Charles as a villain. Here’s why it’s wrong.

Ben Judah at The Washington Post:

I’m not a natural monarchist. In fact, I’m rather the opposite. At times I’ve thought of myself as a republican. But that doesn’t keep me from thinking that, should he ever get the chance, Prince Charles will in fact be a very good king.

That might sound like a strange thing to say after millions around the world have just binge-watched Peter Morgan’s “The Crown.” Moody, callous, a bit silly — the lovesick and philandering prince brilliantly portrayed by Josh O’Connor is easy to dislike.

We’ve been enjoying this season of "The Crown" – though I don’t know if "enjoying" is the right word, because it’s very dark, at least so far as we’ve been watching.

We’ve watched three episodes, and so far, it’s basically a horror story. A charming, pretty girl lands a fairy-tale marriage to a prince, where she will live a life of extreme luxury. Instead, she finds her fiance is a sullen, distant, man-child who loves another woman, and her new family are monsters. Later, we will see her psychological destruction at the hands of her new family, until her marriage finally destroys her in a fiery car wreck. The end.

And Charles is definitely the villain of this piece. He is without sympathy. I just want to punch him in the face every time he appears on-screen.

But I’m a little disgusted to hear that fans are pouring hate-mail at the real Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla. Because the guys onscreen are fictional characters. And, yeah, the real Prince Charles apparently had an unhappy marriage, and maybe behaved cruelly. But that’s true of a lot of people.

In the Washington Post, Ben Judah makes the case that the TV series "The Crown" does the real Prince Charles a disservice, that he will make a good king, exercising authority beyond the purely ornamental:

There’s a temptation in liberal Britain to laugh off the monarchy and dismiss it as if it hardly exists. But I’ve always thought that Tom Nairn, the prophetic Scottish Marxist thinker, was correct to warn the Left to take Buckingham Palace more seriously. The monarchy, wrote Nairn, is like an “enchanted glass” that invites Brits to see ourselves in it.

In this, the moods and personality of the sovereign matter. The monarch runs the Church of England, meets weekly with the prime minister and sets the tone for the British upper classes — all of it exercising a powerful gravitational pull over British life.

Unlike Queen Elizabeth II, who is " a child of empire" who focuses on Britain’s former colonial possessions, Charles is a European.

Just two weeks ago in Berlin, in a speech in the German parliament, the heir to the throne pointedly referenced the poet John Donne, who wrote that “no man is an island.” In case anyone missed the allusion to Brexit, he added: “One might equally submit that no country is really an island either.”

There’s more.


The Rise of the Guillotine – Ian Welsh has a stark reminder that oppression – like what we’re seeing in the US right now – historically ends in blood. The French Reign of Terror, the Russian Revolution. He does not name the US Civil War, but it is certainly a perfect example.

Maybe the terror ends in something good. Or maybe instead you get Maoist China or the USSR, which are just as bad – or worse – than what came before.

And even if the terror ends up in something good, the butcher’s bill is too high.

I think we can still pull the US out of the nosedive. This may be my heart overruling my head. At least two retired generals with distinguished careers are urging Trump to declare martial law and overturn the election. That is certainly not encouraging.


‘Makes you ask why the hell we even bother.’ Infectious disease experts face disillusionment as COVID-19 pandemic worsens [Hanna Kreuger/The Boston Globe] – Infectious disease experts are facing public apathy, hate messages, and literal death threats. They’re disgusted.

"I’m just astounded by the dysfunction, the willingness to just stay the course as hundreds of thousands of people die, and the unwillingness to innovate in literally any way,” says [Michael] Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who has been advocating for widespread at-home rapid antigen testing since March with little success. “I’ve realized that when we need to rise up as a country, we have truly no moral capacity to do it. It’s just the most mind-bending, complete Twilight Zone experience that makes you ask why the hell we even bother.”


How 700 Epidemiologists Are Living Now, and What They Think Is Next [Margot Sanger-Katz, Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Bui/NYT]

I’ve been wondering about this myself: I’m hearing that the general population can expect to be able to walk into any pharmacy in the US and get vaccinated by April. For me, personally, what next? Can I get the shot in the morning and then go safely out to dinner that night in a windowless restaurant in a crowd of unmasked people?

Magic 8 Ball says: Answer hazy, try again later. Might not be able to have that dinner for months or a year or more.

I’ll just keep reading the Times and the Atlantic and listening to Dr. Fauci and NPR, and see how it goes.


If You Recognize Any Of These 35 Pictures, I’m Sorry, You’re Officially Old [Buzzfeed] – I recognized all but one. WTF is #6?