The Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice – literally, “the point at which the sun seems to stand still” – occurred at 9:24 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, June 20. But for some brands, the solstice never ends.
After a gunman opened fire June 14 on a Republican congressional baseball practice, responses from the public and the media tended to focus less on American gundamentalism than on the mood that fuels it. One word was used over and over to describe that mood: vitriol.
“It didn’t take long for partisan vitriol to erupt,” noted the lede of a story in USA Today. “Vitriol Is Poisoning America,” lamented the writer of a letter to the Chicago Tribune. A columnist for the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal – “no fan of Trump” – wrote that the American left should “admit that their – our – vitriol can be as bad. Or worse” than that of the president’s supporters. Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, took to Twitter to condemn partisan vitriol:
Many members talked about threats to their lives and families. The vitriol must stop.
Fox News is dropping its “Fair & Balanced” slogan, which was invented by Roger Ailes when he launched the network in 1996. Ailes died last month. “In the annals of modern advertising, ‘Fair & Balanced’ will be considered a classic,” writes Gabriel Sherman for New York. “The slogan was Ailes’s cynical genius at its most successful. While liberals mocked the tagline, it allowed Ailes to give viewers the appearance of both sides being heard, when in fact he made sure producers staged segments so that the conservative viewpoint always won. (If you haven’t read Sherman’s biography of Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room, I highly recommend it. Yes, it’s fair and balanced.)
“At some point, we’ve all wondered about the incredibly strange names for paint colors,” writes Annalee Newitz in Ars Technica. “Research scientist and neural network goofball Janelle Shane took the wondering a step further. Shane decided to train a neural network to generate new paint colors, complete with appropriate names. The results are possibly the greatest work of artificial intelligence I've seen to date.” They include Bank Butt (a lavender-mauve), Grass Bat (dusty rose), Stoner Blue (grayish), and these winners:
The fidget spinner – a handheld, two- or three-pronged gadget with a ball bearing in its center that makes the prongs go around very fast – is this year’s toy fad, popular with school-age kids and sometimes touted as a stress reliever for people of all ages. Versions are available for as little as $1, or you can spring for this $24.95 Triune Spinner, which is said to have “a high-speed Si3N4 Hybrid Ceramic Bearing that provides fast smooth easy fidgeting and long spin times that will impress your friends.”
I’ve been holding my tongue and staying my pen since January, when Fiverr – the online marketplace that matches skinflint budget-conscious business owners with freelancers willing to work for as little as $5 a gig* – launched its first ad campaign, “In Doers We Trust.” But my initial distaste for the ads has not faded with time.
Interviewed on May 31 at a media and technology conference hosted by Recode, former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “spoke at length about Russian involvement in the 201 [presidential] contest,” according to a New York Times report. “How did they know what messages to deliver?” Clinton asked. “Who told them? Who were they coordinating with, or colluding with?”
By adding colluding to coordinating, Clinton wasn’t being merely alliterative: She was giving her speculation a sinister cast. To collude is to enter into “a secret agreement for purposes of trickery or fraud”; synonyms for collusion include chicanery, intrigue, and deceit.
And Clinton wasn’t the only person invoking collusion recently. Collusion has appeared in the New York Timesmore than 50 times in the last week alone – all in connection with the investigations into Russian influence on the Trump campaign and administration. And many participants in the March for Truth, which took place in many U.S. cities on June 3, carried signs asking for an independent commission to investigate collusion between the White House and Russia.