Discover more from Gideon's Substack
A brief dispatch from points somewhat farther north than usual
I have to thank Freddie deBoer for recommending this Substack, and now I also have to apologize to the people who signed up because of his recommendation, since posting has been quite light in the days since, and will likely remain so. Between my stepfather passing, a long piece that required a lot of time and attention, a film I’m trying to get off the ground, and previously-scheduled personal stuff, I’ve been pulled in a lot of other directions. Now I’m in the Adirondacks with my mother, and honestly, that’s where I’d rather be than here.
So this’ll be a quick wrap of my week’s writing, and hopefully the next wrap will be more robust.
My column at The Week this week was about the bipartisan infrastructure deal and why it’s a good thing—in and of itself and because it’s bipartisan, in spite of the fact that in general I don’t care much about whether legislation is bipartisan or not.
Much of the column talks about the value of knowing where the parties agree and where the differ, as opposed to the familiar kind of kabuki aimed at obscuring that understanding. But then partway through I talk about how sometimes it really is a good thing that both parties agree on something, because what’s needed is a new consensus that we can then sharpen differences around the edges. And climate is one of those things:
From a domestic political perspective, the most important dynamic that needs to change is shifting the GOP from a position of outright denial to one where they're fighting for their fair share of climate pork. Acknowledging that climate change is actually happening by spending a lot of money to mitigate its impact sets a small but important precedent in that regard, and makes it just a little more possible to imagine a world where Republicans and Democrats are fighting about how to fight climate change — over the role of nuclear power in hastening decarbonization, or paying corporations to do carbon extraction, or geoengineering — instead of whether the phenomenon is even real.
This isn’t really the “nut graf” because it’s almost an aside, but it’s what I think is actually most important.
I only had one post here this week, and it was about Vice President Kamala Harris. That should give you some idea of just how little attention I was able to give this endeavor.
As I mentioned, I’m trying to get a film off the ground. This is one I wrote and plan to direct, which is particularly exciting and anxiety-provoking. When I describe it to people I usually start by saying, “it’s kind of a Mike Nichols film.” Having just finished the new biography by Mark Harris, I’m more cognizant of the degree to which that’s an inadequate description, the degree to which a real artist—which Nichols was—can’t ever be reduced merely to a style or brand, because even for them creation was always a titanic struggle, that it never got easy or routine, that failure was not only always possible but very realistic, even for those with extraordinary talent and drive. I’ve always known that, but it’s humbling to be slapped in the face with it again just when I was thinking my own stuff was feeling pretty good.
But the other thing that has slapped me in the face is the number of people who’ve read script who liked it and said: they’d never read anything quite like it. I could take that in a flattering way (and believe me, I try to do so), but I think it more reflects the degree to which even great work gets forgotten. Because believe me: I know I’m not all that original.
I try to be, though. Here, and elsewhere.