• Here is a six-year-old Frank McNally column from the Irish Times, cataloging “the history of Ireland in 100 insults.” It is both a delightful read and a valuable reference that you may want to bookmark/study/memorize for future use.
I found my way there courtesy of Charlie Pierce, whose latest symphony of appropriate invective had me Googling the word “thooleramawn.” The conclusion of Pierce’s column is good and beautiful and true:
Who knows, maybe if Elliott Abrams had been chased out of a few DC bistros in the 1980s, Archbishop Oscar Romero and four American nuns would still be alive. … SarahHuck is the lying mouthpiece of a lying regime that is one step away from simply hauling people off in trucks. That she was politely told to take her business elsewhere is a small step towards assigning public responsibility to public officials that enable a perilous brand of politics. There are bigger steps to be taken, but everyone in official Washington is too damn timid to do what really needs to be done about this band of pirates.
• The National Enquirer is not just Trump-friendly, it’s Trump-aligned. David Pecker, chief exec of the gossip-rag’s parent company, has actively worked to make the supermarket-checkout fixture a campaign asset for Trump and Trumpism. The Washington Post’s Sarah Ellison reports:
During the presidential campaign, National Enquirer executives sent digital copies of the tabloid’s articles and cover images related to Donald Trump and his political opponents to Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in advance of publication, according to three people with knowledge of the matter — an unusual practice that speaks to the close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company.
Although the company strongly denies ever sharing such material before publication, these three individuals say the sharing of material continued after Trump took office.
“Since Trump’s become president and even before, [Pecker] openly just has been willing to turn the magazine and the cover over to the Trump machine,” said one of the people with knowledge of the practice.
This would be a good day to talk with the manager of your local supermarket about no longer confronting customers with this pernicious, dishonest fake-news vehicle at every counter. Continuing to shove this hideous Pecker in customers’ faces is disrespectful and contemptuous, reflecting an all-too Trumpian disdain for customers as suckers and rubes to be strung along and exploited with constant lies.
Consider the character traits to which every cover of the National Enquirer is designed to appeal: prurience, nosiness, nastiness, credulity, indignation, envy, vanity, spite, resentment, cruelty, ugliness of every stripe. That’s what this rag is designed to cultivate. That is what it assumes you are and accuses you of being every time you pass it there at the checkout counter. Having the Enquirer shoved in your face every time you stop for a gallon of milk is no different than having the manager of that supermarket flip you off every time you go shopping.
Yet somehow that sort of thing never seems to upset the self-appointed hall monitors of “civil discourse.”• Alex Wagner states the obvious for The Atlantic: “The Republican Party Moves From Family Values to White Nationalism.”
Trump has instead redefined his party around white nationalism, which deems brown-skinned men, women, and children of degraded humanity — and therefore absent any inherent value and unworthy of protection. You could see that this week as the president compared immigrant men, women, and children to vermin (they want to “infest our country,” he tweeted). You could see it when his deputy, Stephen Miller, painted migrants as menaces—not candidates for asylum, but rather incarceration. …
… There have been many indications that this — a white nationalist takeover of Republicanism — was coming. In Puerto Rico, when a natural disaster ripped through homes and destroyed the lives of countless families — Hispanic ones — Trump’s response was, effectively, You brought this on yourselves. …
Racial animus has been at the heart of policy prescriptions including mass incarceration and partisan gerrymandering and voter-ID laws, all of which disadvantage Americans of color. It informs the White House responses to Muslim hate crimes and police brutality, or a lack thereof. It remains, consistently, at the core of the worst moments of this presidency — from Charlottesville to Colin Kaepernick — which, coincidentally, are also some of its most defining moments, for detractors and supporters alike.
This has been clear for a long time, but now every fig leaf of potential denial is gone. The Republican Party is the party of Trumpism and Trumpism is white nationalism. Period. If you vote for Republicans, you are voting in support of white nationalism. If you run as a Republican, you are running as a white nationalist. If you do not believe in white nationalism then do not vote for Republicans. If you vote for Republicans, you are participating in and supporting white nationalism. Full stop.
A lot of (white) people won’t be able to understand any of Wagner’s piece because they refuse to allow themselves to accept that white nationalism is an ideology and not just a mean thing to call someone. It’s certainly not praise when we recognize that Trump and a Republican Party shaped by and for Trump are white nationalist, but that is not an insult or mere name-calling. It is simply recognition of the agenda, program, priority and organizing principle guiding Trump’s every action. It’s what he is doing.
• The other day I linked to a version of “Once in a Lifetime” including only David Byrne’s isolated vocals. Here’s another fantastic and revelatory take on that song, from Angelique Kidjo: