The Inexorable March Towards January: Recommended Reading

Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks are doing, too. As it was last week, this item is a little different than usual, because the world’s very different than usual (or aspects of its ugly, pervasive sameness have been brought further to the surface.) We’re turning away from the usual pop cultural links here, because, as you hopefully very well know, America has created something called President Donald Trump. Now, with the majority of voters having digested and assessed the immediate implications of this, news continues to grow more fear-inducing, and it’s all the more reason to stay both informed with how best to approach this new chapter in American politics. 


There’s been a lot of discussion about Trump voters’ economic troubles and wholesale buy-in to racist rhetoric, but here’s an angle we haven’t seen yet. Politico reports that Trump voters want change and they want it soon:

“If he doesn’t do what he said he was going to do, in four years I won’t vote for him,” Frear said, holding open her screen door, as I stepped out into the dark and the cold of the winter on the way. “If he doesn’t do what he said he was going to do, in four years he shouldn’t even run.”


David Remnick has penned a long piece for The New Yorker on the end of the Obama era and the rise of Trump. Tellingly, the article begins with Remnick discussing Obama’s insistence that “this not the apocalypse” — and regardless of what it is or isn’t, the very fact that Obama needs to emphasize that speaks to the amount of dread our President Elect has instilled in so many of his citizens. In the piece, Obama gives an explanation for how the real estate mogul with a penchant for inflammatory and hate-provoking rhetoric — and, one by one, an appointed staff whose political backgrounds go beyond mere rhetoric — became his successor:

As we rode toward the airport, Obama talked about Trump. “We’ve seen this coming,” he said. “Donald Trump is not an outlier; he is a culmination, a logical conclusion of the rhetoric and tactics of the Republican Party for the past ten, fifteen, twenty years. What surprised me was the degree to which those tactics and rhetoric completely jumped the rails. There were no governing principles, there was no one to say, ‘No, this is going too far, this isn’t what we stand for.’ But we’ve seen it for eight years, even with reasonable people like John Boehner, who, when push came to shove, wouldn’t push back against these currents.”


CJR’s Lee Siegel offers up an analysis of how Trump uses the liberal media’s outrage in his favor in order to vindicate his own supporters. Siegel also asks the media to reconsider the issue of access in a press-unfriendly administration:

The media’s peculiar complaints about how Trump is limiting access to him and his team are another way the media, almost unconsciously, eases back into the center of whatever story they are telling. The days after Trump met with Obama in the White House were full of indignant reports of Trump, unlike previous president-elects, not allowing a pool of reporters to accompany him on his visit.

It’s not clear, however, that access to a president who holds the press in utter contempt would be more productive than no access at all. What, exactly, would access to Trump and his inner circle achieve? The lies would come fast and furious. The contradictions would reach seismic proportions. The media would go from being an enemy whose reaction is a tactical blessing to a sometime friend, subject to all the manipulations and predations of an enemy.


Aaand here’s a little bit from Quartz on Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn; the piece details his stances on a variety of issues, but what he’s said about Islam is particularly objectionable:

In a book co-authored with Michael Ledeen, he claims “radical Islamists” are trying to create “an Islamic state right here at home…a totalitarian state under the dictates of the most rigid version of Sharia.” What’s more, without “a proper sense of urgency,” we will be “very likely destroyed,” by Islamic militants. The man who now has the president-elect’s ear on security issues concluded there is “no doubt that they are dead set on taking us over and drinking our blood.”


Politico has published a long piece on Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; it turns out, among many other expectedly off-puting traits, he was not fan of book criticism. [Also notice the textbook asshole conflation of “I don’t know” with “Nobody knows” – Ed.]:

At the Observer, for instance, he was distressed by a cover story about the British novelist Martin Amis moving to Brooklyn. “Nobody knows who that writer is,” he complained. He objected to the paper’s books coverage in general, arguing “I don’t have time to read novels, and neither does anybody else.” Kushner believed that Amazon was the only place where book reviews matter, that readers simply weren’t opening the Observer to read about books.