reality is weirder than you think

Tag: Trump (page 2 of 2)

Image of the week: MAGAween edition

Getty won’t let me embed the good image from this series, but the concept is too good to pass by.

Embed from Getty Images

Skeleton. MAGA. HAT.

So simple, yet so effective. And so on-brand.

I love the MAGA, I love the bats, I love Melania’s deployment of a vaguely-military-style coatdress in a color that looks mostly good on her.

It’s a great photo.

And yet, I’m curious about the child dressed in all black. What is he supposed to be —  /pol/, maybe? Or anonymous?

The great mysteries of life.

A letter of resignation from a job I haven’t started yet

Dear Supreme Leader:

Effective immediately, I am resigning from my position in your illustrious department. While I am grateful that you hired me, and have grown tremendously in your employ (and to your service), it is time for me to move on.

You see, in my personal hours I have been madly cultivating my love of words and writing and have grown up a [consulting service / editing gig / bestselling novel series, whichever comes first] that is now demanding my full-time attention. This is a somewhat unexpected, but not unwelcome, turn of events and I am compelled to pursue it.

Yes, this is a huge change of life. Yes, it may all come crashing down around my years. But also yes, I must go.

Of course you can trust that I will work to help hire and train my replacement, but let’s get real, academic timing is so slow that I’ll be long gone before HR can approve the position. As such, I’ll make sure that my records are in order and will leave you with a tidy list of my responsibilities that you can divvy out as you see fit.

It has been a pleasure working with you, and I wish you and the team every blessing in the future.



PS. I voted for Trump.

Quiz: which wall are YOU?

Time for the ultimate in MAGA self reflection: border wall personality test.

That’s kind of a trick question, though, because there is already a personality test built into the concept of the wall from the very beginning.

There are three types of reactions:

  2. Yeah, I can kinda see your point. But have you thought about…?

If you’re a sane person, avoid #3 at all costs.

#2 is a dying breed, probably personified by Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report. At best, a Classical Liberal. At worst, a Moderate.

Most of us MAGAers were convinced pretty early of the rhetorical and practical utility of the wall, so #1 is pretty much a battle cry for us. See also: Ann Coulter.


Trump’s was such a polarizing election, it felt like picking teams for something bigger. Starting from about the debut of pizzagate in late September 2016, things got a whole lot more Real and the split between upside-down world and rightside-up world felt, for the first time, like a physical thing.

There are still a few people caught in the middle, but not very many.

If you’re still deciding, vote for The Tease wall design, because it is clearly the trolliest. And if our big beautiful metaphor can’t have at least a little troll in it..

why bother?

The Power of Glamour: A Book Review

I have a rocky relationship with the concept of glamour.

On the one hand, “glamour” has the allure of glimmering lights, sexy satin dresses and sumptuous indulgence. As a young girl growing up in the ballet, I loved the contrast between the gritty concrete of backstage and the shining lights and velvet chairs in the front of the house.

On the other, I did a lot of reading on magic and rhetoric back in my school days which introduced me to the concept of glamour in magic–the idea that one could effectively bewitch someone into seeing something that wasn’t there. Applied sophistry, if you will.

Then, of course, there’s Glamour magazine, one of the trashier but still classy mainstream fashion magazines. I rarely read Glamour, even back when I was really into fashion magazines. It was one step up from Cosmo…but that’s not saying much.

With all that in my head, I had no idea what to expect from a book called The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion. Oh, I was certainly intrigued by a book that promised to talk about visual persuasion that was not written by a stuffy academic, but there are quite a few fashion-type books that promise a lot but deliver very little. Most fashion people are people- or thing-oriented, not idea-oriented, so their books tend to focus on the what, not the why or the how.

That is not the case for this book. Author Virginia Postrel is an idea person, and she delves into deconstructing the concept of glamour and what it entails, rather than simply defining it in stylistic terms and distracting us with a lot of pretty pictures. (That is not to say that there aren’t a bunch of pretty pictures, because there are. I’m very glad I bought a hard copy of this book, because some of the photos are well worth staring at in print.) She explores the idea of glamour in various ways, and traces it through history to show the ways in which it has influenced humanity (even before the word itself was invented).

Glamour is not charisma (a personal characteristic) or romance (which implies hardship) or spectacle (which inspires awe). Glamour isn’t something one can be born with, or can purchase. Instead, glamour is much, much more.

Glamour is not a product or style but a form of communication and persuasion. It depends on maintaining exactly the right relationship between object and audience, imagination and desire.

Glamour is an effective rhetorical tool, which can be bent to the desires of the person wielding it. The effective use of glamour harnesses our desires to see what we want to see, which is often a heightened, non-real version of the world, or a “reality distortion field.” By focusing attention on what isn’t strictly Real, glamour is “always suspect” as Postrel points out, because it draws our attention away from honesty and transparency.

As I read past the definition and history of glamour into the section in which Postrel writes about its implications in the modern world, I started getting really antsy. There were a lot of connections forming around the edges of my mind, building up like clouds before a thunderstorm, of glamour and where the world has found itself. Of why, perhaps, the world has seemingly gone mad. Of why someone like Donald Trump, who surrounds himself by the trappings of glamour but who is not bound by them (case in point: his hair–not glamourous in the least), was elected President of the United States.

What we tend to think of as glamour is solidified in the trappings of the 1930s; Hollywood glamour, art-deco, and movies like Metropolis. Postrel draws a tight parallel between glamour and the Modernism of the early 20th century–the allure of central planning, globalism, and the shiny, sexy, atheist utopia.

All glamour is escapist, but not all escapism is glamour. The escape that glamour offers is of a particular type. Glamour is a way of “see what is not there,” not simply forgetting what is there. Although glamour does provide immediate pleasure, it doesn’t numb or distract desire. To the contrary, it intensifies longings by giving them an object. Glamour thus implies and fosters hope, from individual aspiration to collective utopian dreams.

To me, then, either glamour is in bed with the forces within history that are trying to draw our world into one centralized, pre-planned horror show, or those forces have done a stellar job of harnessing the power of glamour to propagandize for their own purposes. The fact that Postrel herself uses Barack Obama as an example of glamour, indicates that the latter is true. To further support that theory, Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue magazine, does her best to glamorize favored candidates like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. But is that to say that the Left is inherently glamourous? Or does it depend on glamour to stay alive?

On a more practical note, this book is useful both to understand the glamour in the world around us, and as a guidebook for bending glamour for our own purposes. I’ve enjoyed watching Mike Cernovich step up his style game this summer after he read and recommended this book. Idea people tend to dismiss artifice as unnecessary, even though the visual elements of persuasion are just as important as the ideas and worlds encapsulated in those visual elements.

The right pair of sunglasses, for example, are key:

Glamourous sunglasses, after all, highlight as well as veil. They call attention to the face, most of which remains visible, and even the darkest lenses allow a hint of eye to show every now and then, when the light is just right. (Mirror shades, by contrast, are less glamourous than intimidating.)

Good visual style, then, is as much about the ideas behind the style as it is about the next “must have” sunglasses or newest, hottest designer. Glamour can be cultivated in one’s look, posture, hair, clothes, style of speaking, and also in the words one uses–the picture one paints of the future.

Glamour is an extremely powerful tool that it seems we can’t live without, even though it focuses our desires away from what is real. We need hope and desire in our lives–what else would drive us forward?–and most of us are intelligent enough to understand where the fantasy ends and where reality begins.

Does that reconcile for me the problems with glamour? Is glamour rescued from its associations with sophistry and deception? Short answer, no. Glamour is alluring, but will always be suspect, because truth is hard enough to find on this earth without extra layers of perception getting in the way.

If used right, it could be the ultimate “lie that tells the truth.”

Go read The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion

Covfefe will bring us together

It’s been interesting to watch Trump-isms trickle into the general lexicon, especially of people who hate him. Twice in the past two days I’ve come across the infamous “covfefe” as slang for coffee. Both times, from people who are not fans of Trump.

One was in person, with some coworkers at breakfast. We had gone a little too long without the waitress’s attention, and one needed her covfefe fix.

The other was on Instagram, just two gals posting a selfie while they got some covfefe.

I’m used to Trump-isms being thrown around by pro-Trump people. What I’m not used to is anti-Trump people both using a Trump-ism non-ironically AND not also going off into a tailspin about how much they hate him.

Unlike, say, if an anti-Trump references making something great again.

One side likes him for using sometimes-inexplicable words; the other side hates him, especially when he uses inexplicable words. Perhaps the way to bridge that gap is by introducing an inexplicable word that has no meaning.

Except we’ve all filled in a meaning for it, and that meaning is COFFEE.

It’s slipped into people’s heads without triggering the normal anti-Trump defenses, and has stuck there. It’s been 3 months since the original tweet.

I’m curious to see if Trump can do that same thing with a policy, or an action, something more than just a word on Twitter. Some inexplicable, yet easily defined through strength of association, that both fulfills what each side sees in him yet allows all of us, collectively, to “decide” the definition.

If people can accept covfefe, maybe they really can accept Trump as their president.

The reassurance I needed

I must confess that I was predisposed to like this press conference because I listened to commentary before I listened to it. Thank God SOMEONE in this country has a measured reaction.

Forcing the Fake Media to cover infrastructure before he’ll engage about the issue that they want to talk about, lambasting them while he does so…this is the Trump that we all voted for.

God bless this man.

When memes attack

The whole “paste someone famous’s face into a well-known scenario” meme has been around since…probably the dawn of photoshop.

It’s funny.

I have a feeling that the Trump era will be measured by his Twitter timeline, and the major milestones are when he tweets memes. This reminds me of the time he tweeted Presidential Pepe during the primaries–although there’s a bit of a difference. Back then, the media was covering him, but not in full-blown Victorian fainting couch vapors over him.

The people that saw and understood the Presidential Pepe tweet back in the day were energized because they knew (I personally wasn’t a Trump at that point) at that point that he was paying attention, that he knew how to nod-and-wink TO THE INTERNET. There was no media pushback.

Now, though, the media is a band of screeching harpies who don’t seem to be able to grasp the fact that memes are funny. Memes express concepts in a visual form, which often loses some nuance in the process. Now, we get extra energy from our God Emperor with the added bonus of Fake News freaking out in return.

The energy levels are like shooting a laser into a hall of mirrors.


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