Why So Serious?

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Atrios complains about the hassles of flying:

Some of this is not the fault of the individual airlines, such as stupid security theater, but plenty of it is. I mean bag fees, what the fuck? And it isn’t simply the money, it’s the extra hassle and just general sense of being screwed and harassed throughout the entire process.

If I can put on my Andy Rooney hat for a moment, doesn’t it seem as if this describes most of American business these days?  It’s not just the airlines.  As near as I can tell, consumer-facing businesses these days virtually never think about how they can make things genuinely more convenient for people.  Rather, they seem almost obsessively concerned with calculating the maximum amount of pain people will put up with before they finally get pissed off enough to take their business elsewhere.  When you venture out into the shopping world these days, you almost feel like you ought to have a lawyer at your side at all times to try and figure out what new and different way you’re going to get screwed this time around.  It’s sort of exhausting.  Is it any wonder that so many people are so angry all the time?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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