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There’s no feeling quite like coming back after a vacation and experiencing that soothing sense of relief that, yes, all your precious stuff is still there, just as you left it.

What I’m saying is, it’s nice to be back for Office Hours this week. Please join me in giving a hearty “thank you” to Jack for holding down the fort while I was away. I hope you folks treated him with the same level of dignity and respect you would for any cool substitute teacher from your misbegotten youths.

In any case! Boy did the world get markedly worse while I was away, huh? This morning I woke up to reports of “dark shadows” controlling Joe Biden, and a jumbo jet of antifa super-soldiers circling Portland. At this point, it’s cliché to say “wow, who could have guessed it would get this bad?” when the past four years have taught us nothing if not “it can always, always get so much worse.”

Still, I’ve been wondering: At what point do we call it fascism? Not “proto-fascism,” not “aspiring fascism”, or “nascent authoritarianism,” or whatever other qualified terminology might provide slightly more comfort than the invocation of naked fascism. I ask you, dear readers: What’s your personal fascism rubicon, after which you feel comfortable using the F word without equivocation or qualifications? Have we already crossed it? Are we being alarmist and overly sensitive? It’s office hours, folks — let’s get weird.

Update, 5:35 PM: Wow, this sure was an exercise in optimism, wasn’t it? As usual, this thread will remain open for any and everyone to keep the conversation going as long as you’d like. Thanks as always for joining us for this week’s Office Hours – see ya next Tuesday!

(screenshot via Paramount Pictures – as if!)