The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Even more tips from the world’s most frequent flier

5 min

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In today’s edition:

This is your frequent flier speaking

The Today’s Opinions newsletter is all about giving you readers what you want, and what you want is more Tom Stuker, permanent resident of United Airlines’ Seat 1B.

Contributing columnist Rick Reilly’s profile of the man who has flown more than 23 million miles was one of our most popular pieces in months, and readers deluged the comments section with questions for the frequent flier.

So, the Post Opinions staff compiled some of the most popular ones and posed them to Stuker. He wrote back (presumably via in-flight WiFi) with recommendations on travel aids, luggage and ticket booking.

The best bit, though, is the revelation of United’s “Island Hopper” route. I’ll let Stuker explain what it is, but just know that if I disappear later this summer, don’t look for me. I’m in Chuuk, Micronesia.

Twitter’s last stand?

In one corner: Twitter! In the other corner: Threads! (In additional corners of the boxing polygon: Mastodon, Bluesky, Gab, Parler, Truth Social and Post.News.)

The fight for microblogging supremacy has more contenders than anyone knows what to do with, but, as columnist Molly Roberts writes, Twitter is for now the indisputable champ. Paradoxically, it’s also the only one that can actually kill Twitter.

Molly explains why none of these upstarts have the slugging power: There are simply too many for a credible front-runner to emerge, and none have captured the addictive conflict that keeps users glued to Twitter.

The greatest guarantor that Twitter’s demise will have to come from within, she writes, is that “everyone is still too obsessed with Twitter to give something new a chance.” Why else would even the emigrants to Bluesky be calling posts on the platform “skeets”?

Twitter itself might be breaking down, but columnist Megan McArdle thinks the platform is helping something else suddenly work better than ever: conservative boycotts.

Twitter began, Megan writes, as an “ideological free-for-all,” but it wasn’t long before progressive orthodoxies took root, creating what she calls a very public-facing “pseudo-consensus” that corporations accepted as gospel: “Twitter Brain convinced a lot of corporate bosses that controversial progressive views were actually quite mainstream.”

Then, Megan argues, Elon Musk came along and yanked moderation to the right, leaving corporations unsure of where their customers actually stood — and thus extra-susceptible to the loud-and-clear message of, say, a Bud Light boycott.

Chaser: Not all corporations are giving in to anti-trans panic, and neither are all GOP politicians. Contributing columnist Kate Cohen lifts up the admirable Republicans resisting the legislative hysteria.

From “Doonesbury” creator (and advocate for PTSD research) Garry Trudeau’s op-ed about a promising alternative treatment for the disorder. In a side-by-side study of the standard treatment and the new Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories approach, the combined remission rate rose to 60 percent — meaning that once study results are unblinded, the rate for RTM specifically will probably be even higher.

Trudeau explains how RTM works and how easily therapists can be trained in it. But he also explains the many roadblocks to its adoption: “Despite the best of intentions … the PTSD industry has remained impervious to calls to accelerate innovation and deliver more effective trauma treatments.”

The almost-too-good-to-be-true results of RTM, Trudeau writes, make it imperative to break through.

Less politics

The “ride-or-die” woman is a stereotype central to hip-hop music. Author Shanita Hubbard writes that this character is the staunch ally to her man and never strays from his defense — “game to the death … at the expense of her own life.”

For a genre meant to empower Black people, that’s an awfully dehumanizing model.

Hubbard loves hip-hop deeply, but she says artists have to dispense with this cliché, which does nothing but reinforce the idea that Black women “are expected to give, give, give” without getting anything in return.

Defenders might say this image is a celebration of Black women’s strength and loyalty that, sure, sometimes bleeds into hyperbole. And plenty of women believe that — then “rap along to our own real-life abuse,” Hubbard writes.

Chaser: Contributing columnist Ted Johnson takes on another harmful racial stereotype: the “model minority” trotted out in arguments over affirmative action.

Smartest, fastest

It’s a goodbye. It’s a haiku. It’s … The Bye-Ku.

Driven to Twitter’s

Archipelago of foes:

Platform-hopper flight


Have your own newsy haiku? Email it to me, along with any questions/comments/ambiguities. See you tomorrow!