The Jaundiced Eyeball

The Political Class Struggles

Chris LehmannJune 30, 2016
Trump being swallowed by a crowd in Arizona. /
Trump being swallowed by a crowd in Arizona. /

“Elite opinion” is admittedly a baggy construct—whose opinion? which elite?—but thanks to the weird convulsions of Campaign 2016, we’ve been granted a precious opportunity to behold it in all its lush and fulsome glory. Seemingly as one, the lead institutions of consensus-formation in the responsible American polis have discovered the white working class.

The Art of the Con

Chris LehmannJune 23, 2016
Bahman
Bahman

Just as in the final chapter of The Picture of Dorian Gray, the wheezing sociopath at the center of the Donald Trump campaign has revealed his true decrepit, disfigured nature at a moment when the belated appearance of the unvarnished truth likely will do zero good for any of the interested players.

Not Intended for Mature Audiences

Chris LehmannJune 16, 2016
kl801
kl801

Yes, Donald Trump is once more laying into the media establishment that somehow attacks and slanders him while also acting as the premier delivery system for the bigoted ego rampages that the weary electorate has come to know as Trumpism.

Sexting, Lies, and Videotape

Chris LehmannJune 09, 2016
Katjusa Cisar
Katjusa Cisar

Midway through the painfully exhaustive documentary Weiner, the title subject’s wife, Hillary Clinton’s adviser Huma Abedin, is puttering around her Manhattan kitchen, fumbling through an array of flatware in an effort to give a semblance of normalcy to her day.

Who’s Defamin’ Who?

Chris LehmannJune 02, 2016
Saruman. / Chris & Karen Highland
Saruman. / Chris & Karen Highland

Anyone who’s trudged through the past fortnight’s worth of punditry about the Gawker–Hulk Hogan–Peter Thiel donnybrook can be forgiven a fugitive longing for the codes of honor that settled sexually charged dude-feuds back in the bad old age of chivalry.

Facebook’s ‘Injection Tools’

Chris LehmannMay 26, 2016
To cavil about the optimal placement of news fodder in a Trending Topics roster is to quarrel about which group of toddlers possesses the better toys.  / Donnie Ray Jones
To cavil about the optimal placement of news fodder in a Trending Topics roster is to quarrel about which group of toddlers possesses the better toys.  / Donnie Ray Jones

So it’s come to this. After half a century of right-wing invective targeting the alleged scourge of liberal media bias, conservative activists are up in arms over the (unverified) claim that social-media page designers are tweaking impartial news-feed algorithms—in a sinister leftward fashion, it need hardly be added.

The Trump Psyche

Chris LehmannMay 19, 2016
Sigmund Freud's couch. / Karen Apricot
Sigmund Freud's couch. / Karen Apricot

You know that the Trump distemper in our body politic has risen to a new threat status because our journalistic thought leaders are enlisting the help of mental-health professionals. The new issue of the Atlantic, for one, features a stem-winding cover story by psychologist Dan P.

Blame It on Higher Ed

Chris LehmannMay 12, 2016
KylaBorg
KylaBorg

In a crisis, it’s only natural for us to recur to the familiar totems of our folk beliefs. So, shortly after the de facto elevation of omni-bigot Donald Trump to the 2016 GOP presidential ticket, the estimable big thinkers at the New York Times op-ed shop rolled up their sleeves to set about determining just what’s amiss in the gleaming sanctums of the American meritocracy.

Pacts Americana

Chris LehmannMay 05, 2016
Daniel Lobo
Daniel Lobo

Hearken to your geopolitical catechisms, America, for there are new trade accords in the air! Trade deals punctuate the placid world-conquering assurance of the global economic elite with the same ritual, righteous certainty offered by a Hollywood Spider-Man reboot, or the stations of the cross.

His Inanity Bubbleth Over

Chris LehmannApril 27, 2016
The view from the bubble. /  Neil Williamson
The view from the bubble. /  Neil Williamson

We’re nearing the endgame of a tumultuous and anxiety-inducing primary season, and the pundits are feeling feisty. You can’t blame them, really. Campaign ’16 has been an unrelieved study in the terrible folly of confident campaign prognostication.

Hillary’s Courtiers

Chris LehmannApril 21, 2016
HRH, the artist FKA HRC.
HRH, the artist FKA HRC.

 

You could almost hear the great sigh of relief heaving across cable TV’s green rooms and the news-curating portals of our media nation: sure, the Republican side of Campaign ’16 continues to resemble a dumpster fire on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road, but the Democrats, bless their managerial hearts, had begun to show signs of what passes in these circles for political maturity.

Chronicle of a Creep

Chris LehmannApril 14, 2016
Holland_ForgottenMan1604.3_96
Holland_ForgottenMan1604.3_96

 

In his epic fifteen-page New Yorker tour through the career of hotelier and self-proclaimed sex researcher Gerald Foos, Gay Talese briefly entertains a moral quandary. Why should he, Talese—the big-picture chronicler of media empires and wayward human intimacies—take a sustained interest in a nasty character like Foos?