Forcing the phrase “Merry Christmas” back to the forefront of American culture will make our liberal-infected country “great again,” insists president-elect Donald Trump—but somehow, we’re not feeling the cheer. Instead of masking our suffering with enough mulled wine and spiked eggnog to kill a small horse, we’ve opted for a less traditional, more “smarmy” route: the gift guide.
The first time it happened was a sunny afternoon early in the spring just after Barack Obama’s inauguration. I was fetching my mail from the post office, located in the wing of a house in the center of the village, right across the road from the town green.
Was the Trump campaign’s decision to spend 3.2 million on badly-designed hats between July 2015 and September 2016 a good one? Over at the Fast Company, Baffler art director Lindsay Ballant gives an insight into why it was indeed.
Like a malevolent Mr. Magoo, Donald Trump continues to barrel incompetently, obtusely, and conveniently into economic windfalls. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported the lowest unemployment rate since 2007. At 4.6 percent, the American economy is at “full employment” by most economists’ standard.
In Queensland, Australia, a horse named Party Till Dawn tested positive for methamphetamine. That makes the aptly-named mare “the only other horse in the state to test positive for methamphetamine was Island Tang in Mackay in October last year.”
Cuba has found a curious way of paying off its debt to the Czech Republic: rum—specifically 276 million dollars worth.
It’s clarifying to see the oligarchy assemble itself in the open. President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet selection show has offered a murderer’s row of venal billionaires, spousal abusers, wild-eyed ex-generals, Christian fundamentalists, racists, and the self-admittedly incompetent. Beyond a shared ideology, the common thread is Trump’s total obsession with money and success and his inability to see the world as anything but a series of business deals.
The 1980s in America meant saying tata to Watergate salads and letting a bit more of the world into our national cuisine. Then, in a 1998 restaurant review in New York magazine, Hal Rubenstein recorded a plot twist in New York’s—and, by domino effect, America’s—culinary history: Tavern on the Green, “mother of all tourist restaurants,” was trying to win the hearts of sophisticated locals.
How does a decades-old plutocratic convergence of power look to the hometown paper of America’s public-sector ruling class? Why, like a puckish plotline in a high-living thirties comedy of manners, or as fodder for a campy sci-fi horror punchline, that’s how!
Baffler contributing editor Susan Faludi’s In the Darkroom has made the New York Times’ Top Ten Books of 2016, where it was described as a “rich, arresting and ultimately generous memoir, [in which] Faludi—long known for her feminist journalism— tries to reconcile Steven, the overbearing patriarch her father once was, with Stefánie, the old woman she became.”
Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has joined Donald Trump’s economic advisory board.
Thomas Friedman’s books are distinctive for their awesome length and unrelenting banality—sort of like a tech-support chatbot that got a non-fiction MFA. But there’s a question to resolve: Is he a human being or an android?
Pankaj Mishra writes about the new angry world we live in, in which old liberal dichotomies no longer make sense. Quoting Tocqueville, he argues that “people liberated from old hierarchies ‘want equality in freedom, and, if they cannot get it, they still want it in slavery.’”
Teen Vogue’s latest piece of good political coverage is entitled “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America,” and it’s worth reading:
Trump won the Presidency by gas light.
“Russians pretty bad people, Mr. Wessby,” Tiu agreed.
“They stink bad.”
— John Le Carré, The Honourable Schoolboy
I, for one, do not look forward to the rule of our new Russophilic overlords.