Who wore it best? / Frank Balsinger
The Baffler,  December 5

Daily Bafflements

Susan Faludi on the free press; the villainous Donald Trump; what will build character after work?

Who wore it best? / Frank Balsinger
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• Baffler contributing editor Susan Faludi demonstrates how free speech came under attack in Viktor “The Viktator” Orbán’s Hungary, drawing parallels with Trump’s intimidation of the press. It’s a sobering read, but enlightening:

Under the 2010 legislation to impose government control over journalism, media outlets have to register and be regulated by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority and face scrutiny by its Fidesz-controlled Media Council, created to sanction vague media transgressions including “unbalanced reporting,” disrespecting “constitutional order” and “family values,” or offending an array of groups from “majorities” to “nations.” ( . . . ) Large layoffs and purges of dissenters followed. The state media rapidly became the government’s megaphone. ( . . . ) As in Hungary, media repression thrives on self-censoring fear to accomplish its own ends.

Read it all.

• Over at Aeon, James Livingston, whose new book No More Work was reviewed by Stuart Whatley on the Word Factory, writes: “So this Great Recession of ours—don’t kid yourself, it ain’t over—is a moral crisis as well as an economic catastrophe. You might even say it’s a spiritual impasse, because it makes us ask what social scaffolding other than work will permit the construction of character.”

• Donald Trump attended a “Villains and Heroes” –themed ball thrown by a wealthy donor of his this weekend. “At least three women dressed as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal Supreme Court justice. Trump, 70, strode into the party wearing a dark suit and a blue and white tie. Asked what his costume was, he pointed at himself and mouthed ‘me.’”

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Further Reading

 April 17

Or, put it this way: Paul Ryan went out onto the tightrope. The crowd, so long adoring their golden child, cheered. But a jester got the best of Ryan.