The Trumpist ideal is a black box world, a world in which power does not have to account for itself, and oligarchic rulers can conduct negotiations in secret, without the irritation of a public they must consult or represent. It is the world of the deal, and it means the end of politics as a public practice. For writers and everyone else who believe that public speech should be meaningful, Trump’s abuses of language are a form of epistemological warfare. It’s not a question of sniggering over the man’s solecisms but of recognizing an assault on our shared ability to make sense of the world.
It Came from Something Awful: How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump Into Office
by Dale Beran
Sometime in the autumn of 2006, a friend sent me screenshots of a chatroom in Habbo Hotel, a social network for teenagers. Someone had flooded the space with avatars of identical black men with Afros in suits and ties. In one picture, the men were blocking the entrance to a swimming pool, stopping other users from coming in. In another they’d arranged themselves in the shape of a swastika. My friend, an activist, thought this was sinister, particularly since it was happening in a space aimed at young people.
From the ill-conceived Brexit referendum onward, Britain’s governing class has embarrassed itself. The Remain campaign was complacent, the Leave campaign brazenly mendacious, and as soon as the result was known, most of the loudest advocates for severing ties with the European Union ran away like naughty schoolboys whose cricket ball had smashed a greenhouse window. Negotiations have revealed the pitiful intellectual limitations of a succession of blustering cabinet ministers, the leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition doesn’t appear to want to oppose, and the prime minister has engineered her own humiliation by starting the countdown to Brexit without a plan that could command wide support, resulting in the heaviest parliamentary defeat in history.
A running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak with regular updates from around the world, including Michael Greenberg in Brooklyn, Raquel Salas Rivera in San Juan, Aida Alami in Paris, Rahmane Idrissa in Niamey, Verlyn Klinkenborg in East Chatham, Tolu Ogunlesi in Lagos, Merve Emre in Oxford, Yasmine El Rashidi in Cairo, Keija Parssinen in Granville, E. Tammy Kim in Brooklyn, Adam Foulds in Toronto, Tom Bachtell in Chicago, Ivan Sršen in Zagreb, Sue Halpern in Ripton, Michael S. Roth in Middletown, Ben Mauk in Penang, Martin Filler in Southampton, Eula Biss in Evanston, Richard Ford in East Boothbay, George Weld in Brooklyn, Nilanjana Roy in New Delhi, Ursula Lindsey in Amman, Zoë Schlanger in Brooklyn, Dominique Eddé in Beirut, Lucy McKeon in Brooklyn, Yiyun Li in Princeton, Caitlin L. Chandler in Berlin, Nick Laird in Kerhonkson, Alma Guillermoprieto in Bogotá, Lucy Jakub in Northampton, Rachael Bedard in Brooklyn, Hari Kunzru in Brooklyn, Minae Mizumura in Tokyo, Jenny Uglow in Keswick, Sylvia Poggioli in Rome, and more.