In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.
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MICROTONES by Scott Gordon, editor-in-chief and publisher
Wisconsin needs some comic relief this week other than the jet-black farce of Robin Vos trying to justify Republicans’ dangerous, rinky-dink rearrangement of state government. (Oh look, he’s complaining that he didn’t have a “fair opportunity” to tell people about a massive package of legislation he slammed through in four days! Ha!) Maybe that’s why people were so quick on Wednesday to seize on a mystifying, later deleted tweet from Doug LaFollette, Wisconsin’s longtime Secretary of State: “I need to talk with Josh. Please have someone Call me, Doug La Follette 608-576-6699”
LaFollette joined Twitter in 2012, as he prepared for the Democratic primary in the race to challenge Scott Walker in a recall election. Ever since, he seems to have mistaken the account for a bad group text or a personal alarm. His third-ever tweet read, simply, “What?” About a month later, he tweeted “I give up–it is on the website,” apparently flustered after trying and failing to tweet out a campaign video. And I don’t know who he was addressing this past March when he tweeted: “Stop spreading false and dangerous information. You should be ashamed to misrepresent science the way you have been. Doug, Ph.D.” It applies to enough folks, I guess.
It’s all strangely helpless-sounding and devoid of context, perfectly suited to someone who’s more or less a stripped cog in the state’s governmental apparatus. Compared to secretaries of state in many other states, who oversee elections and have other significant duties, Wisconsin’s Secretary of State doesn’t have that many responsibilities. If this were all that an important a statewide office, Republicans would be trying to completely usurp its powers this week.
I also don’t feel bad for laughing at LaFollette’s clumsy tweets, in part because he displayed such a sense of entitlement when he ran for reelection this year. When Madison Alder Arvina Martin registered to challenge him in the Democratic primary for Secretary of State, Doug LaFollette called Martin’s candidacy “kind of a nuisance.” That’s really not a good look for an old white man running against a Native American woman, particularly in an election year that saw female and minority candidates play an incredibly important role. But anyways, let’s take joy where we can get it, and be good to each other in the face of this grim political reality Republicans have created.
New this week:
The system is rigged against artists who create work for charity, artist Jenie Gao explains. (Above illustration by American Trash.)
Young Madison band Wash is in an exciting formative period.
Of all the damn things, we shouldn’t be talking about appointing Republicans to Tony Evers’ cabinet, Scott Gordon writes.
On the podcast, revisit our gruesome journey to Shrekfest 2018.
Elsewhere on the Madison internet: Essential #WIPowerGrab reads from Don Moynihan, Dan Kaufman, and Emily Mills. Submit your questions for our mayoral candidates’ forum on arts policy. A really puzzling take on hip-hop equity in Madison. The Sylvee announces 2019 shows by Jenny Lewis (March 27) and Neko Case (April 30). The Madison Public Library’s Cinesthesia screening series is starting to firm up for 2019.
This week’s Madison calendar: Rich Robbins returns for a show at the High Noon Saloon. Two goddesses face off in Duelle, screening at UW Cinematheque. Solid Freex play the Crystal. Richard Thompson brings his electric trio to the Barrymore. And more.