Jubilant Americans freed from their own sick compulsion to watch 2nd presidential debate

Illustration for article titled Jubilant Americans freed from their own sick compulsion to watch 2nd presidential debate

Photo: JIM WATSON,SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Ah, for the days when “hate-watch” was the only adjective-watching scenario we were forced to understand; the halcyon days before “doomwatching,” “depressionwatching,” and “FUCK FUCK FUCK DID HE REALLY JUST SAY THAT”-watching were revealed to us by the grim oracle that is 2020. The “Can’t stop watching a car crash” metaphor broke down a few ugly twists and turns ago—because at this point, most car crashes would be gazing back in pity at us—but the need to keep a compulsive eye on the next bad thing coming down the pipeline has gripped many of us as the year barrels toward the election, which will hopefully be its exhausted nadir.

But not next week, readers. Next week, you’re free. Because whatever time you’d previously blocked off to stare in rising dread as a mixture of figurative bullshit and literal biohazards came spittling out of Donald Trump’s mouth has now been freed up by the announcement, reported by NPR News, that the second scheduled presidential debate has just been canceled. Might we recommend staring at a blank wall instead, appreciating all the ways it’s not Donald Trump?

Now, it’s not great that said cancellation happened because the Trump and Biden camps couldn’t come to a basic agreement on whether Trump—diagnosed with COVID-19 a whole 7 days ago—is safe to be around, and whether that might necessitate moving the debate onto a virtual platform. (Biden’s for it and Trump’s against, and yeah, it feels weird to be aggressively pro-Zoom call in this situation for us, too.) Having seen the conflicting statements, the Commission on Presidential Debates issued its own tonight, noting that “It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15.”

Instead, Joe Biden will participate in a televised town hall that night, broadcast by ABC News. Trump, meanwhile, is expected to hold one of his signature rallies, where he will presumably shuffle, open-mouthed, down long aisles filled with his baying supporters, dragging his tongue across every piece of exposed skin in sight.

Remember to make your voting plan ASAP. And while you’re at it, fill out your census form.

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