Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

The most memorable description I’ve read of the Trump era’s time-warp effect and destabilizing impact was written in late 2016—before his presidency. The president-elect was doing a victory lap. The news media was looking inward, or trying to, for lessons learned. Fusion’s editor-in-chief was the brilliant Alexis Madrigal, now an Atlantic staff writer and co-founder of the COVID Tracking Project, who found just the words to close out the year: “Each hour and each tweet and each celebrity sighting at Trump Tower can blot out the millions of other stories simultaneously in motion, backwards and forwards in time. How can anyone make a proper critique” of “the ‘moment,’ our name for any number of myths…if its basis—even the set of facts that occasioned it—has been forgotten in an instant? It’s like we’re living inside the memory hole, shards and pieces of what used to be structured into history floating around us like confetti.”

My porous memory can’t shake that idea, the swirl of news and noise and the distinction between them; the durability of facts; the shards and structures of memory itself. What we remember and don’t. What we choose to forget but can’t. Whether it’s Mother Jones giving shape to the pandemic or Alexis chronicling its path, I’m brought back to those year-end words: “Maybe the hero of 2016 is every other year that has come before it, and their contents. Stay anchored. Do the work.”

Thanksgiving will float by like a shard, and workers will stay anchored, seen or unseen. You don’t need sentimentalism to hear it, and don’t need to be in a sentimental mood to hear “In a Sentimental Mood,” recorded on this day 13 years ago by Sonny Rollins, now 90. Ellington’s original is here. Rollins’ is here. Madrigal is here. Recharge is at recharge@motherjones.com. Happy almost Thanksgiving.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate