"Peanut Butter Is Better Than Fire-Bombing."

Oct 18, 2016

So Much Depends On a Family-Size Jar of Low-Sodium Peanut Butter...

A Wisconsin woman and Hillary Clinton supporter is accused of masterminding an oddly endearing (but mostly just "odd") anti-Trump demonstration, making use of a household item that's largely gone underutilized by practitioners of nonviolent resistance—until now:

A family size jar of creamy, low-sodium JIF peanut butter.

To journalists like Oliver Darcy of Business Insider ("21 more days," he tweeted in exasperation) this story and others like it merely underscore why Election Day 2016 can't come soon enough. Others like CBS' Sopan Deb expressed in shorthand a multitude of subtle and ineffable Internet-specific emotions that, while loosely connected to pre-digital concepts like "collective shame," have no words in English to describe them but one: "Guys."

But the peanut butter angle is only the fourth or fifth most interesting part of this story.

As reported by Huffington Post's David Moye, police have accused Chelsea Ferguson of plotting to smear peanut butter on some 30 cars belonged to Donald Trump voters. That's something you certainly don't see everyday. But what happened next was even weirder: The plan had been executed beautifully save for one single, spectacularly botched detail: She smeared the wrong cars. What's worse, the owners of the cars caught in the woman's smearing spree belonged to members of a community conservation group fighting to protect the environment. They were basically hippies!  And while Jill Stein might be more their speed than Hillary Clinton—whom Ferguson backs—the chances are slim that a bunch of conservationists are voting for the guy who said climate change is a Chinese hoax.

So what began as one of the greatest political pranks in U.S. history, might now be one of the worst political pranks in U.S. history—unless of course the alleged peanut butter bandit redeems herself in the final moments, which of course she does, leaving us with a valuable quote that can be applied to just about anything in life:

“Peanut butter is better than fire-bombing.”

"This is a real problem."

That's Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, calling on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to take a long hard look at a "surge" of anti-Semitic tweets throughout the 2016 election, many of which are being shared by supporters of Donald Trump, writes the New York Times' Jonathan Mahler (almost 10,000 shares). To those who have become targets for this hateful rhetoric, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg advises, “It seems to me that when the Twitter Nazis hate you, you are probably doing something right,” before wondering what that says about Donald Trump who is liked by many of the very same "Twitter Nazis."

An "avalanche of wrongness"—and the reporter who tried to conquer it

For reporters, telling the truth isn't just a personal aspiration, it's a professional imperative. And so when the news industry encounters a man like Donald Trump who, to cite just one example, lied 34 times over the course of a single 90-minute debate, you can expect reporters to rise to the occasion, whether that means deploying an entire unit of reporters to fact-check the debates, or devising clever technological solutions in order to debunk falsehoods in close to real-time. But for Daniel Dale of the Toronto Sun, it still "wasn't enough," likening Trump's deceit to "a daily avalanche of wrongness" the scale and severity of which cannot be sufficiently captured by merely calling out each snowflake as it falls. And so, as recounted in a Politico Magazine piece called "Confessions of a Trump Fact-Checker," Dale describes the 33 days he spent buried in that avalanche and what he learned in the process of digging himself out. That includes the staggering but not exactly surprising data around Trump's "most honest day," during which he still lied 4 times, and his "most dishonest day" (not including debates) during which he lied 25 times.

"The 'other' opioid crisis"

The startling rise over the past decade of U.S. deaths due to overdosing opioids—from street drugs like heroin to legally-prescribed pain relievers like OxyContin—has attracted a ton of much-needed attention, culminating last summer when Congress passed a comprehensive addition reform bill dedicated to the crisis. But this isn't a problem specific to America. Far from it, writes the Wall Street Journal's Justin Scheck in a heartbreaking portrait of how addiction to opioids—specifically a pain reliever called Tramadol—is ravaging a number of places in the developing world. "The 'other' opioid crisis," tweets one of Scheck's WSJ colleagues, Stefanie Ilgenfritz. In places like the African country Cameroon, it's virtually everywhere: it literally grows out of the ground, its active ingredient found in a very common local root, and today abuse is so high, the pills even "seep into the groundwater," observes Jeanne Whalen, another of Scheck's WSJ colleagues.

The new "silent majority"...

...and just as importantly, why they're so silent. At Vox, Matthew Yglesias explores both shifting voter demographics—which have come about in large part, he writes, thanks to more education opportunities for women and minorities—but also the psychosocial reasons for their "silence." He quotes Rebecca Traister who wrote at New York Magazine"No one likes a woman who yells loudly about revolution." She could be talking about Hillary Clinton herself, but she's really referring to her female coalition of voters who may tend to speak loudest at the polls, not in public. Laura McGann, a colleague of Yglesias' at Vox, puts things a bit more bluntly: "A bunch of people who don't wave Pepe signs and scream at rallies are going to win this election."

Journalists are geeking out over this Guardians 2 teaser

How about a little escapism to cheer us up after another serious and sobering day in Newsville? At almost 6,000 shares, Muck Rack journaists are embracing their inner nerd in anticipation of the sequel to 2014's smash hit superhero comedyGuardians of the Galaxy (which for this Muck Racker, gave all those "serious" comic book movies like Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Cries In Front Of a Mirror For Three Hours a run for their money) is getting the sequel treatment, and fans can't get enough of a new teaser trailer—particularly this shot of everyone's favorite Bradley Cooper-voiced raccoon and, the "newest" member of the Guardians team, Baby Groot. The image speaks for itself, as Entertainment Weekly's Jessica Dershowitz's implores her followers to "LOOK AT ROCKET AND BABY GROOT." Indeed, I'll have this image open all day as a therapeutic pick-me-up throughout another day of fresh election year outrages and atrocities, and I recommend you do the same.

About the author

reporter covering music tech + politics. bylines @FastCompany @Guardian @thedailybeast @Stereogum I wrote @propublica's fracking song davemholmes@gmail.com

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