To be a monster

See update for July 27, 2022, at end of post.

Moving to Pittsburgh, as I did a little over three years ago, has been an eye-opening experience.

Not only have I witnessed a remarkable toxically masculine viciousness and a shamelessly blatant racism I certainly never expected to encounter in the 21st century, but as I have driven around, revisiting the places of my childhood—I lived in Mount Lebanon, a Pittsburgh suburb, and walked to my grandparents’ house in nearby Dormont for a couple years—I have had an intensive look at a vignette of that experience. Read more

Elon Musk’s Achilles’ heel

See updates through December 2, 2022, at end of post.


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[1] fair use.


Unlike Boris Johnson, who is having to resign as British prime minister,[2] Elon Musk has not yet met his comeuppance. In the long and annoying saga of Musk’s agreement to buy Twitter,[3] we’re seeing yet again that Musk, like Johnson,[4] believes he is invincible, in no small part on a profoundly defective personality.[5] Even to the unbelievably rich, this world is a harsher place: Read more

  1. [1]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  2. [2]Max Colchester, “U.K.’s Boris Johnson to Resign After Scandals Grow Too Great to Handle,” Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-s-boris-johnson-quits-after-scandals-grow-too-great-to-handle-11657183819
  3. [3]William D. Cohan, “The Twitter Board’s Panic Room,” Puck News, April 14, 2022, https://puck.news/the-twitter-boards-panic-room/; William D. Cohan, “How Elon Can Get That $40B,” Puck News, April 20, 2022, https://puck.news/how-elon-can-get-that-40b/; William D. Cohan, “Elon’s Gamble: Imagining Tesla Stock Judgment Day,” Puck News, April 27, 2022, https://puck.news/elons-gamble-imagining-the-tesla-stock-judgment-day/; Rob Copeland, Rebecca Elliott, and Cara Lombardo, “Elon Musk Makes $43 Billion Bid for Twitter, Says ‘Civilization’ At Stake,” Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-offers-to-buy-rest-of-twitter-for-54-20-a-share-11649932296; Rebecca Elliott, “Elon Musk Says He Would Reverse Donald Trump’s Twitter Ban,” Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-would-reverse-twitters-donald-trump-ban-11652204279; Dan Gallagher, “Musk Gives Twitter’s Board an Expensive Out,” Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/musk-gives-twitters-board-an-expensive-out-11649954729; Spencer Jakab and Dan Gallagher, “Musk’s Twitter Deal Is No Sure Thing,” Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/musks-twitter-deal-is-no-sure-thing-11652287373; Cara Lombardo and Will Feuer, “Elon Musk Says He Has Commitments for $46.5 Billion in Financing for Twitter Deal,” Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-says-he-has-commitments-for-46-5-billion-in-financing-for-twitter-deal-11650549097; Douglas MacMillan et al., “Elon Musk acquires Twitter for roughly $44 billion,” Washington Post, April 25, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/25/twitter-elon-musk-deal/; Dan Milmo and Mark Sweney, “Twitter takeover: EU and UK warn Elon Musk must comply or face sanctions,” Guardian, April 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/apr/26/twitter-takeover-jack-dorsey-elon-musk
  4. [4]Tim Shipman, “Boris the cat with nine lives has finally been neutered,&rduo; Times, July 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/boris-the-cat-with-nine-lives-has-finally-been-neutered-nq7hnwndv
  5. [5]William D. Cohan, “Elon’s Next Moves,” Puck News, May 18, 2022, https://puck.news/elons-next-moves/

The lesson of Boris Johnson: apologizing, moralizing, and finger-pointing

See update for July 7, 2022, at end of post.


The thing about apologies is that they should be genuine. And to be genuine, they should mean a commitment not to repeat the mistakes that have led to the apologies.

By such criteria, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s apologies have not been genuine, and a whole bunch of Tories are pissed.[1] But all this is not quite as simple as Johnson’s ego. Read more

  1. [1]Heather Stewart, Rowena Mason, and Jessica Elgot, “Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak quit – throwing Boris Johnson’s future into doubt,” Guardian, July 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/05/sajid-javid-and-rishi-sunak-quit-throwing-boris-johnsons-future-into-doubt

Glad all you gun nuts are feeling safer now

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision expanding gun “rights,”[1] we have yet another mass shooting, not really ironically at a Fourth of July celebration celebrating “freedom.” At least six are dead;[2] I guess they’re free now. Read more

  1. [1]Saul Cornell, “Clarence Thomas’ Latest Guns Decision Is Ahistorical and Anti-Originalist,” Slate, June 24, 2022, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/06/clarence-thomas-gun-decision-bruen-anti-originalist.html; Jon Healy, “Supreme Court throws out New York’s concealed weapons law. Here’s what it means for California,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-06-23/supreme-court-concealed-carry-ruling-what-it-means-for-california; Jay Michaelson, “The Future of Gun Control Is in Danger,” New York, June 23, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/06/supreme-court-gun-case-endangers-the-future-of-gun-control.html; David G. Savage, “Supreme Court bolsters gun owners’ right to carry a weapon in public,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-06-23/supreme-court-gun-owners-right-to-carry-a-weapon-in-public; Mark Joseph Stern, “Clarence Thomas’ Maximalist Second Amendment Ruling Is a Nightmare for Gun Control,” Slate, June 23, 2022, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/06/supreme-court-new-york-concealed-carry-law-gun-control-bruen.html; Ariane de Vogue, “Samuel Alito lashes out at liberals in guns case as tensions boil over at SCOTUS,” CNN, June 23, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/23/politics/samuel-alito-stephen-breyer-guns/index.html
  2. [2]Michael Tarm, Kathleen Foody, and Roger Schneider, “6 dead, 30 hurt in shooting at Chicago-area July 4 parade,” Associated Press, July 5, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/chicago-july-4-parade-shooting-92b50feb80c19afe7842b9caf08545cb