A Slate article titled “The Skimm Is the Ivanka Trump of Newsletters” came out recently. In it, the author slams theSkimm, a daily newsletter targeted toward 20-and 30-something year old women, for providing digestible news pieces in a tone that’s equivalent to “verbal eye rolls.”
According to the author, the mere existence of such a newsletter is insulting because it patronizes women, and it’s “scary as hell” because people actually read it. In some ways, I see her point. It’s tone is irreverent and sometimes flippant. But in the era of busy schedules, short attention spans and endless celebrity gossip, wouldn’t we rather people read theSkimm than nothing at all, or even worse, fake news?
theSkimm isn’t a news organization pumping out fake news or outlandish political theories – it’s a daily newsletter that helps millions of people understand what’s going on in the world. And it links to credible news sources so people can continue to learn, if they so wish.
One of the author’s main problems with it is that “Every blurb is painstakingly neutered of political slant or analysis, and boring (read: important) stories are loaded with conspicuous snark about how uninteresting news can be.”
Let’s face the facts, sometimes the news is boring and it can be complicated to understand. So if “conspicuous snark” is going to get a 20-something millennial woman, who otherwise wouldn’t be informed on the topic, interested – why is that so bad?
And perhaps the people who read theSkimm don’t want political slant or analysis. It’s possible they want to know the facts, devoid of political analysis, so they can form their own opinions. Quite frankly, I think it’s somewhat refreshing.
The real problem
If this author truly believes it’s a good idea to to tell the millions of people (myself included) who read theSkimm that they are dangerous because they aren’t doing enough to overcome their ignorance, then this frightens me. It’s this type of condescending rhetoric, with its broad generalizations and lack of supporting facts, that is scarier than anything theSkimm puts out. Because it makes only broadens the divide that exists in this country.
To provide some context, I am a bleeding heart liberal. A diehard feminist. An avid reader of nerdy historical books, stories of strong feminists, and occasionally, a Nora Roberts novel. I dislike Ivanka Trump just as much as this author does. I do think people need to be more informed on what’s happening in the world, should read from a variety of credible publications and ought to form their own opinions.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned in my limited time writing opinion pieces, it’s that no one typically cares what I think they should do – especially if I make no effort to understand their point of view, provide no supporting facts and shaming them in the process.
Articles like the one from Slate just show how much we haven’t learned much since the last election. Looking down on people, instead of trying to understand them, will do nothing to bring us together. It will only force us further apart.
At the end of the article, the author laments that “these people can vote” and when Ivanka Trump runs for president, “the Skimm and its several electoral votes worth of readers will be all in for her.”
If that is the case, it won’t be because they read theSkimm. It will be because they read articles like the one from Slate and close their ears to anything else we have to say.
And that’s what scares the hell out of me.