Would be/Wouldn’t be

by Henry on July 18, 2018

The Death of Stalin and the Trump administration have plenty in common.

{ 23 comments }

1

J-D 07.18.18 at 10:18 pm

Was Comrade Malenkov a very stable genius?

2

Donald A. Coffin 07.18.18 at 11:43 pm

We saw that movie; a week or so, we saw the trailer for it, which made it look like a comedy. And while there were funny moments, it was a serious movie. And the political parallels were, I think, intended. Paul Ryan = ?

3

Brad DeLong 07.19.18 at 12:19 am

But by whom were the political parallels intended?

I got a phone call yesterday from someone who wanted me to talk him off of a metaphysical ledge:

He was beginning to seriously wonder if he lived in Reality—that is, he realized he would not be terribly surprised if he were suddenly and convincingly informed that he was a fictional character, “living”, say, in the 8th grade class project of some post-singularity slacker in 3000: some 13 year-old who realized he was going to bomb his “Early 21st Century Simulation” project, and had decided to have some fun with it…

4

William Timberman 07.19.18 at 2:16 am

Brad DeLong @3 (07.19.18 at 12:19 am)

Do reassure your correspondent. He’s not a character. He’s not living in a simulation. What he’s experiencing is simply our manifest destiny made manifest at last. You might ask him, though, if Foucault is his optometrist. (Despite the promise of early clinical trials, cognitive bifocals aren’t for everybody.)

5

Gabriel Morgan 07.19.18 at 2:44 am

I have a simple heuristic: any philosophical premise that sounds like it was delivered by a stoned highschooler lying on the hood of his car looking up at the stars should probably be disregarded posthaste, unless one is also a stoned highschooler lying on the hood of said car gazing up at the stars, in which case, carry on.

6

ph 07.19.18 at 3:05 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDT3krve9iE

Pat Robertson explains. I got through the 80s using the Weekly World News and a lot of Frank Zappa and new wave to filter American culture.

I watched about 15 minutes of Scott Adams on recent events. Scott asserts Putin probably knew about Russian troll farms interfering in the US election, the UK poisonings, etc. Scott also (predictably) raises some real questions about what Trump actually he said (like one can tell), and what is reported. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oRZGs4v1wQ

Finally, the best way to understand American political messaging – thanks to the Coca-Cola company.

7

Henry 07.19.18 at 3:19 am

He was beginning to seriously wonder if he lived in Reality—that is, he realized he would not be terribly surprised if he were suddenly and convincingly informed that he was a fictional character, “living”, say, in the 8th grade class project of some post-singularity slacker in 3000: some 13 year-old who realized he was going to bomb his “Early 21st Century Simulation” project, and had decided to have some fun with it…

The gallows humor joke in our department is that Elizabeth Saunders somehow got IRB approval to run the 2016 election as a parallel worlds natural experiment to demonstrate what would happen if the empty cell in her 2×2 in this article were filled, and could we please somehow get into the control group history, thank you very much. Also, William Gibson’s forthcoming novel.

8

maidhc 07.19.18 at 8:08 am

If the Irish Republican Brotherhood is in charge of things now, perhaps we can at least expect a Brexit solution?

9

John Quiggin 07.19.18 at 11:16 am

Henry, the link is broken

10

Henry 07.19.18 at 2:28 pm

Here without paywalls – her 2×2 is foreign policy experience/lack of same of president and experience/lack of same of advisers, and she suggests that we have (had) not seen an instance of an inexperienced president with inexperienced advisers.

11

J-D 07.19.18 at 10:21 pm

During the Peloponnesian War, the Athenian assembly voted for the total destruction of Mytilene and then the next day voted to rescind the decision.

The comic novelist Tom Holt, in his novelised account of these events, has his mouthpiece character, the comic playwright Eupolis, describe the Athenians as concluding that as they had carried directly contrary resolutions on two consecutive days, one of them must have been correct, and thus their own superlative shrewdness was clearly confirmed.

12

EWI 07.20.18 at 10:21 am

Maidhc@8

Only if Tom Clarke is in charge. That man really got stuff done.

(Clearing out the old wood, creating an openly-armed revolutionary and patsy-led body right under British noses, bringing the Easter Rising into being)

13

Ben 07.20.18 at 2:47 pm

14

EWI 07.20.18 at 3:38 pm

maidhc @ 8

Only if we get the Tom Clarke-controlled version, where all the good things happen.

15

IWE 07.20.18 at 3:40 pm

Maidhc @ 8

Only if we’re talking about the Tom Clarke version, where all the good things happen,

16

ph 07.20.18 at 11:00 pm

The problem we face persists, however.

“There’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough.”
http://dailycaller.com/2018/07/19/obama-house-rich/

After leaving the executive mansion in January, the family settled into a rental home owned by Bill Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart and his wife, Giovanna Gray Lockhart, an 8,200-square-foot home that was built in 1921 and renovated in 2011.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/reliable-source/wp/2017/05/31/the-obamas-are-buying-their-rental-home-in-washington/?utm_term=.d85700901f5c

Them/us.

17

ph 07.21.18 at 1:58 am

This is fun! Media huffing Russia-gate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e-MATDGnM0

As Carl Bernstein notes: “There’s no evidence Obama isn’t a secret Muslim!”

Winning!

18

Howard 07.21.18 at 6:59 pm

Belittling Trump is good sport. So I’m game. Humor is a weapon for the weak. The reality of Trump is a rather straightforward yet brute fact.
He is a charismatic emotionally disturbed con man, who convinced Americans who felt screwed by the system that he was one of them and by his magic casino like instincts, make America great again, that is bring it back to the post war days, and who is enabled by the weakness and ineptness of the opposition and the cynicism of the Republican establishment and a public that lives in a virtual reality.
When you put things that way it still has its sting but isn’t very funny

19

Nigel 07.22.18 at 10:10 am

Hah the white privilege of framing the Russian entanglements of Trump and the Secret Muslim entanglements of Obama as equivalent.

20

Waiting for Godot 07.22.18 at 8:22 pm

“Humor is a weapon for the weak…”

I would add: “…because the powerful have no sense of humor.” All they have is all the guns and all our cash.

21

LFC 07.23.18 at 12:33 am

@ph
And if the Obamas had moved into a smaller house, the impact on the problem of wealth and income inequality would have been basically zero. (Though it would have been better for his public image, for sure.)

22

Karl Kolchak 07.23.18 at 6:50 am

@LFC–Where Obama SHOULD be moving is a tiny cell at The Hague awaiting trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity alongside Bush and senior members of both their administrations. Trump may be a lot of things, but he isn’t (yet) a genuine war criminal.

23

J-D 07.23.18 at 8:59 am

LFC

If the size of somebody’s house is applied as a standard of evaluation, how does Donald Trump measure up?

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