Political Theatre category archive
One thing I cannot understand is the “pumpkin spice” fad. Go to your local grocery store and browse the spice rack–I defy you to find “pumpkin spice” with a McCormacks label and, on the off chance that you do, you will find that it has a list of ingredients that have nothing whatsoever to do with large orange gourds.
Indeed, I have long held that anyone who has eaten a well-prepared sweet potato pie will not waste time on pumpkins again.
Frank Bruni tries to understand “pumpkin spice” and finds a metaphor. A snippet:
It’s invention run amok, marketing gone mad, the odoriferous emblem of commercialism without compunction or bounds. It’s the transformation of an illusion — there isn’t any spice called pumpkin, nor any pumpkin this spicy — into a reality.
Oh, hell, let’s just go there: It’s Donald Trump. I don’t mean the color of his hair, though pumpkin spice is as good a description of it as any. I mean that pumpkin spice became special by shamelessly insisting that it was and ruthlessly creeping into every corner of the culture that was docile, dippy or lazy enough to accommodate it.
At the Boston Review, Bonnie Honig sees both similarities and differences between Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein. The similarities she perceives are not surprising, but the differences are chilling.
Here’s a bit:
. . . Trump has changed the rules of the game. Trump would never offer to get treatment to save his job. He would never ask for a second chance. If you are emailing your friends asking for support, if you say you will seek treatment, if you are hoping for another chance, you are already—in Trump’s grade school terms—a loser: reality’s victim, not its maker. The game is over.
Follow the link for the rest; it is quite worth your consideration.
Josh Marshall takes a long and thoughtful look at the Russian cyber-disinformation campaign to exacerbate American cultural and political divisions and defeat Hilary Clinton. Here’s a striking bit:
Even some of the Twitter accounts which had already been found were considerably more prolific and influential than we had known. One Russia-created Twitter account for the Tennessee Republican Party had more than ten times the followers of the real Tennessee GOP Twitter account. The Tennessee party had apparently complained about it to Twitter, to no avail. A number of top Trump aides engaged with the ersatz account late in the 2016 campaign and President himself thanked an affiliated account on Twitter just last month!
In the midst of a larger article about Trump’s fumbled fulminations about expressing condolences to the families of the four soldiers who fell in Niger, Paul Waldman describes the wingnut propaganda process. You can follow the link for the complete article, but here’s the crucial bit:
Now here’s why this matters. Yes, many news outlets pointed out that Trump wasn’t telling the truth. But there are probably three interns at Fox News who are now scouring old news reports to find some family member of a fallen soldier who didn’t get a call from Obama. If they find it, that person’s story will then become the subject of a segment on Sean Hannity’s show, and it will then get retold on a hundred talk radio programs and conservative websites as proof that Obama was a monster and the media are all lying about this. (Trump’s insistence that there was “fake news” at work is another way of telling his supporters not to believe whatever they hear about this subject that comes from sources not explicitly supporting him.) And I promise you that if you took a poll two weeks from now, you’d find that 40 percent of the public (or more) believes that Barack Obama never called the family of any fallen soldier, and only Donald Trump has the sensitivity to do so.
(Open tag fixed. Darned computers expect you to splet stuf rite.)
In The Sacramento Bee, Erwin Chemerinsky makes a case that Donald Trump’s “Executive Order” to destroy the ACA is disordered (sort of like its signer). The short version is that a law cannot be overturned by Presidential fiat.
Here’s how he starts;
President Donald Trump’s elimination of subsidies to help lower income Americans afford health care is illegal and just plain mean. The result is that millions of people may lose their health care coverage, but with no savings in cost to the federal government. This is simply an attempt by the president to accomplish by executive fiat what he could not do through Congress: the gutting of Obamacare.
The plain truth that no one wishes to confront is that Donald Trump is walking the path to despotism.