Apologies for lack of entries in recent days. As I mentioned in my previous entry, my mom was here in D.C. for two days, and I was busy doing things with her (not to mention going to Trade and No. 9 the past two nights).
I'm home now on this very cold night -- the Eve of New Years Eve -- and watching the Me-TV Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night and Sunday Red-Eye Sci-Fi line up of shows. In addition to doing a few loads of laundry, I intend to post a Saturday Evening Post and Jukebox Saturday Night edition tonight.
However, for this entry -- and before we get too far from Christmas -- I would like to post some political commentary. Specifically, I want to repost this piece by Ken Tucker, the "Critic-at-Large" for "Yahoo Entertainment" that appeared on Dec. 27th, 2017 remarking on that weird ad made by some dark money-funded, pro-Trump, organization called "America First Policies" about how Trump has liberated the Fox News fundie faithful from the bogus "War on Christmas" nonsense.
The 'Thank You, President Trump' ad was a terrible Christmas present
Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment
December 27, 2017
God, just look at him.
Caption: President Trump, at Mar-a-Lago on Christmas Eve, talks on the phone with children as they track Santa’s movements with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Santa Tracker. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Aren't you glad President Donald Trump has liberated all of us from the oppressive forces that had kept any American from ever uttering the phrase "Merry Christmas"? Don't you feel so grateful to Trump, the Great Emancipator, that you wish someone would make a video expressing your humble but enthusiastic gratitude for his noble battle, his fearless victory in the bloody War on Christmas? Well, that video arrived shortly before Christmas! What a glorious gift, yes?
Hmmm. What a glorious gift, no. This ad, which peaks with an adorable little girl declaring, "Thank you, President Trump, for letting us say 'Merry Christmas' again,” is nauseating. It suggests that we now live in a country in which the president can "let us" say things we want to say. It is, of course, an ad that furthers the whole “War on Christmas” issue, which has always been a bogus one.
It's one of the countless ways Fox News rouses its rabble about fake controversies -- in this case, some Americans' use of "Happy holidays" as another way of acknowledging the holiday season that's now coming to an end. (And if you think I should have written "Christmas season" in that sentence, look at the calendar, dummy: Christmas and New Year's Day are both holidays to be acknowledged.)
The "War on Christmas" was a favorite tool of Bill O'Reilly, who used it when he had a popular show on Fox News, and before he was booted in disgrace, to intimidate non-Fox viewers and entire businesses, equating the use of the greeting "Happy holidays" with anti-Christian sentiments.
Now we have a man in the White House who doesn't just parrot Fox News talking points: He uses the power of the presidency to lend credence to these false myths. That video, widely played both on TV and online, adds an unprecedented layer of hostility to the War-on-Christmas malarkey.
The ad -- made by America First Policies, an organization created to promote Trump's policies -- does something disgraceful at this time of year: It divides the country into opposing camps. It insists that we are not a united group of people during a festive time, but rather that some of us are oppressed by our fellow citizens, made to feel ashamed for uttering the word "Christmas." This is well beyond ridiculous; it's repulsive.
The Christmas season is supposed to be a time when we all come together, set aside our differences, and acknowledge our common good. Once again, the noxious hostility that has been set free by the last election mars yet another great American tradition. Better luck next Christmas, America. Maybe we'll be more united than divided -- indeed, more merry. I'm trying to be optimistic.
I'd also like to call attention to this Ezra Klein piece in Vox.com discussing Trump's latest interview with the New York Times:
Incoherent, authoritarian, uninformed: Trump's New York Times interview is a scary read
The last part is worth quoting in full:
As the Dunning-Kruger effect suggests, [Trump] doesn’t know how much he doesn’t know, and that, combined with his natural tendency toward narcissism, has left him dangerously overconfident in his own knowledge base.
Speaking of narcissism:
We’re going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again and we’re being respected again. But another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, "Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump."
What is one even to say about this? Is it a joke? If so, why is Trump taking this opportunity to make it? Is it an attack on the media? Is it Trump finding another way to compliment himself, to give himself credit for the media’s success?
Imagine how we would react to literally any other president speaking like this. Trump has bludgeoned us into becoming accustomed to these kinds of comments but that, too, is worrying.
This is the president of the United States speaking to the New York Times. His comments are, by turns, incoherent, incorrect, conspiratorial, delusional, self-aggrandizing, and underinformed. This is not a partisan judgment -- indeed, the interview is rarely coherent or specific enough to classify the points Trump makes on a recognizable left-right spectrum. As has been true since he entered American politics, Trump is interested in Trump -- over the course of the interview, he mentions his Electoral College strategy seven times, in each case using it to underscore his political savvy and to suggest that he could easily have won the popular vote if he had tried.
I am not a medical professional, and I will not pretend to know what is truly happening here. It's become a common conversation topic in Washington to muse on whether the president is suffering from some form of cognitive decline or psychological malady. I don't think those hypotheses are necessary or meaningful.
Whatever the cause, it is plainly obvious from Trump's words that this is not a man fit to be president, that he is not well or capable in some fundamental way. That is an uncomfortable thing to say, and so many prefer not to say it, but Trump does not occupy a job where such deficiencies can be safely ignored.
OK, I will now post my planned twin Saturday night entries (well, at least before midnight).