Column

Writing About Politics Sucks

This is Drew’s swan song for his GEN column. Not really a song. More of a dirge.

Photo: John Springer Collection/Getty Images

This is my last post as a regular columnist for GEN. This is because I am tired. Over a year ago, I came here to write exclusively about politics, which was a subject I had gravitated toward during my tenure at GQ. For the bulk of my existence, I never wanted to be a politics guy. But then I got old and a nasty case of boomerism struck, and I found myself actively giving a shit about, like, tax reform. And in 2020, it’s become virtually impossible to escape politics regardless of your age. Politics is the reason my kids aren’t going to school, in person, every day. You would think they’d be elated to ditch routine school days. You would be wrong, and you better believe these kids have opinions about the politics that have actively reshaped their formative years.

So becoming a Politics Knower made sense for me, on a certain level. It was an election year. The president shits out new scandals on an hourly basis. There’s no shortage of stuff to have opinions about, yeah?

Nope. No, I’m out of political opinions. The kind of torpid recycling of stances you see from David Brooks and other professional thought havers? I’m no different. Go back through my archive here and you can see ideas repeat themselves. I’ll list them for you here in bullet point form, to spare myself from superfluous elaboration:

  • Trump is a Nazi.
  • The pandemic deaths here are his fault.
  • There is no need to ever see things from the perspective of a Trump voter because those perspectives are rooted in lies, idiocy, and hatred.
  • This country doesn’t actually care if it wins or loses wars, so long as the wars keep going.
  • Fuck the New York Times and its steadfast refusal to present the truth with anything resembling clarity or directness.
  • The only people who bitch about “cancel culture” are people who either deserve to be canceled or already have been.
  • I have absolutely no use for horse race analysts who interpret the horrors of the past year strictly through the prism of party branding, and then treat that branding as some form of tough love you need to hear. “Say what you will about the cops but these BLM protests sure are hurting Biden with soccer moms!”
  • Fuck centrists, and double fuck centrists who respond to any plea for Medicare For All by going WELP YOU JUST HANDED TRUMP THE ELECTION I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.
  • Polls fucked us in 2016 so if you’re still eye-banging them, you’re part of the problem.

I think that more or less covers it. Anything else I say will just be some iteration of one of those bullets, if not the lot of them. Just as conservatives have removed any trace of nuance from their arguments, so now have I. Because they’re all pieces of shit and I’m right about that. I have no interest in softening that slur for them, or making it more creative. I only have interest in brute force insults for their miserable kind. Fuck them.

But I’ve already said that before, and I’m tired of saying it. Turns out that writing about politics every week is like your old man catching you with a pack of Marlboros and forcing you to smoke the entire thing in one sitting to make you sick. I can’t do this shit anymore. I don’t know how any human can. I don’t know how Daniel Dale of CNN doesn’t gargle razor blades every morning before he has coffee. And he’s one of the GOOD ones, along with David Roth, Alex Pareene, Libby Watson, Osita Nwanevu, Laura Wagner, Aaron Gordon, Mari Uyehara, and the staff of this fine magazine.

Just as conservatives have removed any trace of nuance from their arguments, so now have I.

The rest of the politico sphere, particularly on television, is a parade of scum. The hideous gauntlet of politics weeds out rational people from running for public office, and now political commenting does the same thing. It’s a shiver of sharks all feeding each other their own tails. The perception of reality should never take precedence over reality itself, but national political coverage does precisely that. All the time. I can’t live in that world anymore.

There’s an irony to this that only I failed to anticipate. Not long after I came aboard here at GEN, I quit my job over at Deadspin, in part because of a memo handed down by ownership demanding that the Deadspin staff never venture outside of the sports realm when posting. We all resigned, stuck together, and launched a new site together just last week called Defector, where we are free from such mandates. Of course, now that I have permission to write about Trump and his enablers of all stripes, I barely want it. I just wanna take a nap and wake up in a normal goddamn country.

That won’t be happening anytime soon, even if Biden defeats Trump a month and a half from now. Thinking about the world any more than I have to leaves me depressed and hopeless. I have lost sleep over it, and I doubt I’m alone. And I’m one of the LUCKY ones, given that I can afford to quit this gig. To that end, I’m gonna abuse my privilege and hop off the hamster wheel. I’m gonna leave the political discourse to the people whose voices matter the most: BLM protesters, the ACLU, capable government officials like Katie Porter, and reporters sacrificing their sanity, and sometimes their bodies, to bring your truths that are objective on their own merits.

Those are the people you need to be listening to right now. I plan to come back to this site on occasion to fire off a few rounds, but you don’t need me up on my little soapbox as a matter of routine. I have nothing left to say beyond what I’ve already said. I don’t have the energy. This world is determined to sap you and me of every last ounce of it.

Columnist at GEN. Co-founder, Defector. Author of Point B.

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