JB, a friend from high school, just had a piece published in The Concord Bridge titled “The Watergate Nerds: Fondly recalling a high school reenactment.” Here’s his lede:
“On June 17, 1976, on the fourth anniversary of the Watergate break-in, seven students at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School re-enacted the operation by bungling a break-in at the principal’s office. I was one of them….”
You can read JB’s piece to find out what happened to us when the vice-principal caught us.
Now, JB contends that in many ways, times were more innocent in the 1970s. There’s some truth in that contention. For example, while many of today’s high schools have armed cops patrolling the hallways, all we had was a couple of unarmed undercover narcotics agents. On the other hand, there was that race riot at our high school in our senior year (an event I want to write about some day, when I can find the time to research it more fully). Or if you were gay, as one of my close friends was, that high school could get ugly.
But more to the point, it may be that time has blurred our memories of the utter venality of Richard Nixon and his henchmen. Yes, the Watergate break-in was less violent than the armed insurrection at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. But if you really think about it, the extent of Nixon’s criminality, and his naked desire for raw power, still have the capacity to astonish us.
I can’t figure out if this is anti-intellectualism or something stranger. But a website calling itself the “Washington Free Beacon,” which is funded by conservative billionaire Paul Singer, recently ran a hatchet-job piece about Lucas Kunce, a Democrat in Missouri who plans to run for U.S. Senator in 2024. Of course a conservative website is going to oppose any Democratic candidate in this polarized world. But one of the reasons they gave for opposing Kunce was not his political policies, but the fact that he plays Magic: The Gathering:
“…In a free and just society, playing Magic: The Gathering with a journalist would disqualify someone from seeking public office. To paraphrase one of America’s most formidable intellectual prognosticators: ‘We don’t want nerds elected in Missouri….'”
(They link that phrase “formidable intellectual prognosticator” to a low-quality Youtube video of Donald Trump saying, “We don’t want perverts.”)
I’m not going to provide a link to the Washington Free Beacon hatchet-job, because as an ad hominem attack, it doesn’t deserve any incoming links. (I also won’t link to leftist websites that indulge in ad hominem attacks.) But you can read more about the Lucas Kunze story at File 770, a nerd website that I read regularly.
Anyway. I guess the Washington Free Beacon is saying that no one can be a political conservative who plays Magic (35 million people do so) — nor by extension can any other nerds, including people who read science fiction, watch Star Trek, are good at math, think science is cool, etc. This is political polarization run amok.