By Paul Krugman
March 11, 2019
Image: “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson, was bombarded with negative reviews before the movie was released.
Credit Disney-Marvel Studios
” “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson, was bombarded with negative reviews before the movie was released.CreditCreditDisney-Marvel Studios
Today’s column is about plastic straws, hamburgers and dishwashing detergent. Also Captain Marvel.
No, I haven’t lost my mind, or at least I don’t think so. But quite a few other people have — and their rage-filled pettiness is a more important force in modern America than we like to think.
My starting point is a weekend tweet from Representative Devin Nunes of California, who headed the House Intelligence Committee until the House changed hands after the midterms. In that role, he basically acted as Donald Trump’s stonewaller in chief, doing everything he could to prevent any real investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin.
But his tweet wasn’t about that. It was about a waitress who, citing the “straw police,” asked his dining party if they wanted straws. “Welcome to Socialism in California!” Nunes thundered.
If this seems like a weird aberration — he wasn’t even denied a straw, just asked if he wanted one — you need to realize that rage explosions over seemingly silly things are extremely common on the right. By all accounts, the biggest applause line at the Conservative Political Action Conference — eliciting chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A!” — was the claim that Democrats are coming for your hamburgers, just like Stalin. (They aren’t, and for the record, Stalin was a mass murderer, but objectively pro-burger.)”