Open Thread: Oh Joy, A New ‘Demonic Drug’ to Abuse… Politically

Mandatory disclaimer: I don’t vape, and I certainly wouldn’t encourage anyone to start vaping. But whenever the Repubs start ginning up a new WON’T SOMEBODY THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!! scare, I assume it’s an electioneering tactic…

The replies to Tolentino’s tweet are, so far, astonishingly sensible:

Interesting Read: “The Real Donald Trump Is a Character on TV”

Not sure I could bear to read a whole book on this topic, but NYTimes TV critic James Poniewozik makes a good argument here:

Try to understand Donald Trump as a person with psychology and strategy and motivation, and you will inevitably spiral into confusion and covfefe. The key is to remember that Donald Trump is not a person. He’s a TV character.

I mean, O.K., there is an actual person named Donald John Trump, with a human body and a childhood and formative experiences that theoretically a biographer or therapist might usefully delve into someday… But that Donald Trump is of limited significance to America and the world. The “Donald Trump” who got elected president, who has strutted and fretted across the small screen since the 1980s, is a decades-long media performance. To understand him, you need to approach him less like a psychologist and more like a TV critic.

He was born in 1946, at the same time that American broadcast TV was being born. He grew up with it. His father, Fred, had one of the first color TV sets in Jamaica Estates… TV was his soul mate. It was like him. It was packed with the razzle-dazzle and action and violence that captivated him. He dreamed of going to Hollywood, then he shelved those dreams in favor of his father’s business and vowed, according to the book “TrumpNation” by Timothy O’Brien, to “put show business into real estate.”

As TV evolved from the homogeneous three-network mass medium of the mid-20th century to the polarized zillion-channel era of cable-news fisticuffs and reality shocker-tainment, he evolved with it. In the 1980s, he built a media profile as an insouciant, high-living apex predator. In 1990, he described his yacht and gilded buildings to Playboy as “Props for the show … The show is ‘Trump’ and it is sold-out performances everywhere.”

He syndicated that show to Oprah, Letterman, NBC, WrestleMania and Fox News. Everything he achieved, he achieved by using TV as a magnifying glass, to make himself appear bigger than he was.

He was able to do this because he thought like a TV camera. He knew what TV wanted, what stimulated its nerve endings. In his campaign rallies, he would tell The Washington Post, he knew just what to say “to keep the red light on”: that is, the light on a TV camera that showed that it was running, that you mattered. Bomb the [redacted] out of them! I’d like to punch him in the face! The red light radiated its approval. Cable news aired the rallies start to finish. For all practical purposes, he and the camera shared the same brain…

If you want to understand what President Trump will do in any situation, then, it’s more helpful to ask: What would TV do? What does TV want?
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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Choose Your Path

Good people:

Very, very bad person:

Mr. Pierce, at Esquire:

This shouldn’t be about paperwork. But it’s about paperwork because the government of the United States is now dedicated to pulling up the drawbridge by whatever means necessary. You don’t even have to anticipate the kind of refugee crises that are coming as the climate crisis intensifies. You just have to look back through history and imagine, say, the coffin ships getting turned around because the starving Irish didn’t have the proper documents. Or you don’t have to use your imagination at all. Just google S.S. St. Louis. This country was born to take the fire out of desperation and devastation. Our government is toddlers playing with matches.

How To Ruin A Turkey Sandwich/More Respite Open Thread

So, this image showed up in my messages:


I’m just hoping this isn’t a Betty Cracker creation already featured here that in my semester-starting-addled brain I somehow forgot.

Anyway: here’s a chance to talk about anything to do w. abuse of or abusive foodstuffs — or anything else that whets your appetite.

Monday Morning Open Thread: Gonna Be Another Long Week

Overlooked (among the chaos) story of the weekend:


(Could be worse, after all — we could be forced, by some unfortunate confluence of malign forces, to be working for the GOP… )