Morning Ed: Entertainment {2017.03.07.T}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

134 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    10-13 Episodes? Pfft.Report

  2. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    I like the guy in the dugout without any spacial orientation running directly into the path of the bat… must have been a DH.Report

  3. Avatar Mo says:

    Re: The Oscars

    I think a lot of it is that the movie audiences have changed. The big box office movies are targeted to families or teenage/20-something boys*. Part of this is because in recent years, movies have been much more focused on international distribution. Things like children’s and action films translate well, more complex fare does not**. Between globalization and fewer older (>30 yo) adults going to the movies sans kids, the popular movies are less Oscar nom worthy.

    For example, the top 10 from 2016:
    Rogue One, Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War, Secret Life of Pets, Jungle Book, Deadpool, Zootopia, Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, Sing
    The top 10 from 1996:
    ID4, Twister, MI, Jerry Maguire, Ransom, 101 Dalmatians, The Rock, Nutty Professor, The Birdcage, A Time to Kill

    The former is all superhero/kids movies, while the latter has more adult fare (and the Birdcage was criminally undernominated).

    ** This is not a swipe at international audiences, but a statement of how things translate. For example the lack of success of French films in the USReport

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      According to Saul, the biggest movie audience has always been teen and twenty something boys. They just had less economic and cultural pull in the past and pulling off a science fiction or fantasy movie that looked good and a great script with great acting was nearly difficult because of the state of special effects and the way the movie business worked. The top actors and screen writers wouldn’t work on what were seen as B-movies until the mid-1970s with the rise of the Blockbuster.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        The top actors and screen writers wouldn’t work on what were seen as B-movies until the mid-1970s with the rise of the Blockbuster.

        It went even longer than that. Orson Welles in Transformers was a joke. Now trading Oscar cache for a payout is totally normal.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          It was obviously a gradual process. Paul Newman would never appear in a B-movie during his 1950s and 1960s heyday but Richard Dreyfus could star in Close Encounters of the Third Kind without hurting his career. There was still a strong stigma but the early blockbusters and the growing power of nerd culture plus technological advancement made appearing in science fiction movies more plausible. Before her death, Natalie Wood was filming a science fiction movie that she never would have appeared in earlier in her career. Likewise, stars can appear in advertisements now that could not appear in not so long ago except in Japan.Report

          • Avatar Pinky says:

            I think a lot of it was due to the studio system. Back when it was strong, you wanted to be typecast. You wouldn’t go do a campy film because it would signal that you weren’t on top anymore. These days, actors show their versatility by doing big and small projects, comedy and drama, TV and movies.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              Its more accurate to say that the studio system type casted actors based on what they thought would work for the actor. There was little an actor could do to get out of the role they were typecast for except age and have to evolve into a different type cast or retire. The moguls were not going to let Cary Grant or Henry Fonda play a bad guy if they had anything to say about it. Judy Garland was always going to be sweetheart.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                The moguls were not going to let Cary Grant or Henry Fonda play a bad guy if they had anything to say about it.

                Ahem. (Though in fairness, it was a very early role for him, before he was a star.)Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Night Nurse was also before the Hayes Code and the Hayes Code served something like a Constitution and foundation stone for the studio system. The classic studio system rose and fell with the Hayes Code.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                Of the top of my head i think Henry Fonda was a bad guy in Once Upon a Time in the West. But it’s been decades since i saw the flick so i reserve the right to be wrong about that.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                He was the bad guy but that was also after the fall of the Studio system and the moguls were powerless by the time Once Upon a Time in the West was made. Most of them were dead or suffering from dementia.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      Wow, that 1996 list really wipes away the nostalgia.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        I’ve found looking at Billboard Top 10 lists really helps me realize that 90s music was not awesome.Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

        No kidding! Lately, I’ve been contemplating a theory that the rise of superhero/video game movies somehow mirrors the dumbing down of America. Now I can see we’ve been dumb for a whole lot longer than I thought.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Some things translate exceptionally well (the Simpsons). Others… not so much. Linguistic jokes are a bitch, sometimes. (I watched a Czech film that had russian language homonyms and other stuff going on that Would Not Translate). OTOH, The Seven Deadly Sins has a remarkably cheerful and wildly free translation that works really well.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Another factor is that TV, particularly ‘prestige’ cable TV (particularly HBO) has come to occupy that space between Super Alien Kids movies and botique bespoke dramas.Report

  4. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    The writer’s guild, where the highest paid tout their egalitarian sensibilities on the backs of the working hacks:

    “On top of everything else, the WGA is in desperate need of a capital infusion from the studios to shore up its pension and health plan. WGA members who earn enough to qualify for health insurance do not pay premiums for their high-end coverage plans — a luxury that even some writers say the guild can no longer afford.”Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    The hoarder pornalanche is fake news


    • Avatar Pinky says:

      OK, so it may not have happened to an individual, but it happened to Japanese society as a whole.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Godzilla is a metaphor for what happened to Japanese society as a whole. This is just some dude with an undiagnosed heart condition that needed to read some Konmari.Report

  6. Avatar North says:

    I’m puzzling over the new healthcare bill that Ryan has ushered out. It seems like it’s custom designed to please absolutely no one. It was never likely to get Democratic support obviously but in an attempt to somehow tap-dance around the massive gaps between reality and what Trump/the GOP have been promising it manages to piss off everyone: leaves plenty in for the true believer conservatives to hate but still fishes over Trumps base and everyone else as well.
    How the hell do they expect to pass that thing into law? Last I read they were down 6 of their own Senators.Report

    • Avatar Francis says:

      The bill fits into the only possible compromise space.

      As best I can tell, Ryan’s strategy is to develop a bill that is hated by the exact same number of Republicans who think that the bill doesn’t go far enough in tearing down the ACA as it is hated by those Republicans who think that the bill goes too far in depriving health care to constituents.

      So Ryan goes to his caucus and says that this is the best comprise available. It’s this or nothing, and remember we’ve been telling our constituents for seven years now that our top priority is repealing Ocare.

      The bill is dead easy to run against. But there is no replacement in sight. What does each Member do?Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Sure, I guess, but you can spin nothing whereas if your constituents lose a ton of healthcare coverage that’s going to be hard to spin.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      It seems like it’s custom designed to please absolutely no one.

      Rich people get a very large tax cut, something like $350B over ten years. My cynical friend in DC says that’s the only policy change necessary to get the Congressional Republics to vote for a bill these days.

      I tend to believe those “no” votes when I see them happen. Although this time, I suspect that Cory Gardner from CO means it on the Medicaid expansion. He won his seat by 1.9 percentage points, in a Republican wave year, against an incumbent (Mark Udall) who ran a miserably bad campaign. If the Medicaid changes in this bill take effect in Jan 2020, Gardner might as well not bother running for reelection.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I tend to believe those “no” votes when I see them happen.

        That type of skepticism is always warranted but I’ve read the bill is getting pinched on both sides: between the Freedom Caucus caucus in the House and moderate GOP Senators. It may not even make it outa the House.

        In a more politically sane world, I’d assume Ryan would ram thru an ideological bucket list of reforms and principles to set the chairs at the negotiation table knowing that moderate GOP Senators will dilute the purity. But in this world I don’t think that’s the case: what he proposed reached the outer limits of ideology given the all-too obvious constraints imposed by reality. Who knew healthcare reform would be so hard?Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Yeah I can see how it plays to the fellate the rich priorities of Ryan and crew but they can lose all of what, 2 votes in the Senate? I’d assume Collins might be serious about her opposition too.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Rich people get a very large tax cut, something like $350B over ten years.

        That’s all you need to know about any GOP policy . Bread for the 1%, circuses for the 99%.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      I think this is the basic problem for the GOP.

      1. At heart, they believe that it is not the role of the government to provide healthcare or help people get insurance; and

      2. They know this is a politically losing argument.

      So they have to craft something and they can never agree on what problem they are trying to solve. Trump and Ryan have made some left-wing criticisms of Obamacare, namely that the subsidy allowance is not high enough and a lot of people fall through the cracks.

      But there is the self-titled House Freedom Caucus to contend with and they are quite open in their opposition to any government based healthcare.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        Saul: I think you’re painting with too broad of a brush. There are sharp divisions within the Republican caucus on healthcare.

        A blocking minority — the Freedom Caucus — wants to end all direct subsidies of healthcare. (This caucus also is apparently fine with the enormous implicit subsidy given to corporations by allowing them to pay for employee health care with pre-tax dollars.) Another group apparently doesn’t really know what it wants but has been telling their constituents that the ACA is a Bad Thing. The tax cutter faction just wants to reduce taxes, and apparently believes that the loss of revenue can be made up by allowing insurers to offer lower-value policies. Some want to abolish Medicaid and payments to women’s health clinics (the Planned Parenthood rollback); others are not willing to go so far.

        Based solely on the early responses to the new bill, it seems to me that there is no compromise space within the Republican caucus — there simply is no bill that can attract a majority.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          This seems like the best summary of it. I’m watching with fascination as a bunch of different GOP factions, each of whom has a nonsensical view of how the healthcare markets work (or who just want to use healthcare as an issue to push their own pet projects), try to reconcile their views into a bill that makes sense and can pass. They have the power to pass anything they want and it seems like even that won’t be enough to make up for their fundamental confusion on the issue.

          The fact that they’ve spent the past 8 years confusing their constituents about it probably won’t help. This is where the “say whatever you have to say to make the other guy look bad and get yourself elected” trick starts to backfire. They’ve done the equivalent of getting hired as Chief Bridge Designer by crapping on the current guy for using steel, stone, and wood in his bridges. Now they’re in charge and they’re stuck designing a bridge without steel, stone or wood. It’s striking how much the proposed bill just nibbles around the edges and looks like nothing but minor changes for the sake of minor changes.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Minor changes won’t fix a broken system.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            You’ve hit on the key point: they’ve acted in complete bad faith for the past 8 years, and this is too visible an issue for them to pretend either that they’re not reversing course or that they’re not screwing things up bigly.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

              I think you’re probably right, but at this point, I wouldn’t completely count them out. They may still find a way to completely burn the nation’s health care system to the ground and gain votes by successfully blaming it on the Democrats.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              Not just in bad faith with their constituents, but in bad faith with their state parties. One part of the ACA changed the way cash flows to hospitals that have heavy charitable care burdens. Direct payments largely went away, on the assumption that many of those patients would have coverage under expanded Medicaid. Certainly one factor that went into the decisions made by some of the Republican governors to do the expansion was hearing their state hospital associations say, “We can’t eat a billion dollars a year in charitable care forever.”

              Some of those governors wrote a letter to Congressional leadership. You know that they’re leaning on their House members as hard as they can.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Good comment TFrog.

            Seems to me conservative law-makers on the Hill have confused the rhetoric used to incessantly criticize liberals with coherent policy proposals. Cleek’s Law may get you into power, but it’s a feckless guide once you’re there.Report

            • Avatar Francis says:

              Personally, I see Ryan as a beautifully groomed German Shepherd with a Goodyear radial tire (still attached to a banged-up 1980s Ford Taurus) gripped firmly in his jaws and a thought-bubble over his head that reads “OK, now what?”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                They’ve done such a good job of obliterating the distinction between fact and fancy when it comes to national policy over the last few decades that it’s sorta impossible to tell anymore. One thing seems correct to me, tho: they can’t chase Trump’s bumper and think they’ll find a bone cuz he holds them in just as much contempt as he does Democrats.

                Ie., the deconstruction has begun. And it’s being televised. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        I’m still digesting the overall approach… so I’ll not comment substantively other than to offer one observation at the level of strategy.

        It seems to me that they are failing strategically to address the broader concern that Employer based health insurance leave a lot of people feeling vulnerable. Just backing up the legislative bus to status quo ante (with a couple of price savaging perqs left in) is a missed opportunity.

        I expect the debate will go back to the number of uninsureds… just as it did when the bill was passed (and that’s relevant, of course); but the political knock-out punch was to re-envision health insurance not for the uninsured, but for the polity.

        Heck, in my not yet to be counterfactual, I could even see Medicare being expanded and the number of uninsured being more or less equal… with the increasing numbers of tweeners having subsidized catastrophic care (which in some sense arguably ok)… and the employed still feeling vulnerable vis-a-vis their *term* health-care policies.

        I’m not terribly surprised that the Republican Party has nothing innovative with which to garner support; but I am a little bemused.

        All this to say, my initial read looks like this will be somewhat net-neutral (despite the storm and thunder) after the final haggling takes place… but as @North notes above, getting there will gain them nothing and cost them much. Just bad politics.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        “1. At heart, they believe that it is not the role of the government to provide healthcare or help people get insurance; and”

        I’d actually argue that the current/recent GOP’s stance is much closer to “It is not the role of Obama’s government to provide healthcare or help people get insurance” because of all sorts of piss and vinegar they felt towards Obama and the Dems. The problem is this manifested publicly as what you quote above and now, as pointed out by @troublesome-frog below, they have painted themselves into a corner. I think there plenty of ways to fit government provided/subsidized/supported healthcare into a principled GOP platform. But that isn’t the route they went with so here we are.Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Sonny Bunch’s piece on the Oscars makes a lot of good points. They have a cynical origin and were always kind of hit or miss with what movies they awarded. They do represent Hollywood as Hollywood sees itself. However, the movies that gross the most money can’t really be called the best by certain artistic definitions.

    It reminds me a lot of the debates between Elijah Wald and other music critics and historians. Elijah Wald’s long standing thesis is that a lot of the histories of popular music aren’t really history of popular music because they represent more of who the critics were listening to or who think were important rather than what people were actually listening to. For example, the standard history of pop music during the 1950s was that it was all insipid ballads but than rock and Elvis with his shaking hips and Chuck Berry and his duck walk came along and shook things up. The problem with this as Elijah Wald pointed out is that most teenagers listened to Elvis, Chuck Berry other rock musicians and the ballads of Paul Anka and Connie Francis.Report

  8. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The Sinbad genie movie article reveals some very disturbing things about human memory on the individual and collective scale.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      *OR* it demonstrates that a number of people we interact with every day may have come from an alternative timeline. Unwittingly!Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Yawn. Not really.
      We know that people make up half of what they remember anyway (except for people with photographic memories… but even those are more tuned towards “is this novel”?)Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      I have to confess to getting caught up in the Mandela thing. I remember when he was released sorta thinking that it was weird because I thought he had died in prison. I have no idea why I thought that, but I have to believe those things start somewhere, like maybe an erroneous news report and you don’t catch the retraction. Or maybe it’s just someone else saying, “Didn’t he die in prison?” and it plants a seed.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      I think my favorite thing about that article is that “reality leakage from an alternate universe” gets more play than “white people can’t tell black people apart and mistake one for another”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        If I was Sinbad, I’d be flattered that people confused me with Shaquel O’Neil. If I was Shaquel O’Neil I’d be insulted that people confused me with Sinbad.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Sinbad is 6’5″. Shaq still has 8 inches on him, but it’s not as crazy as I thought.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Oscars: There used to be a blogger I read who strongly advocated that their should be a financial component to the Oscars in terms of nominations and who won awards. I strongly disagree with this. What does financial success have to do with artistic merit especially in terms of acting. Interestingly I generally dislike watching award shows including the Oscars but then my girlfriend is perplexed because I generally know the people more. The Oscars can be very self-congratulatory but I can’t help but think Sonny Bunch is sore that there was a lot of anti-Trump rhetoric. This gets back to whether conservatives can make good art or not.

    The Dead Gamer: An acquaintance does a 24 hour gaming session for charity once or twice a year. A good cause is a good cause but the 24 hour marathon seems like a massively unhealthy thing to do. From what I observe, people also tend to power through these things with junk food. If you are going to do it, you might as well use healthy food to do so as much as possible.

    There is something about current society that wants everything taken to extremes. You can’t just go to a gym a few times a week to be healthy, you need to be trying to bench 400 pounds. You can’t go running, you have to be attempting a marathon. You can’t just do a marathon, you need to do an 50K or 70K that takes half a day to complete. Same with video games it seems.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      What we really need is categories for best art film and best commercial film. But that would be entirely too honest about the business to actually happen. I stopped watching the Oscars years ago. I would watch the In Memoriam segment if I could do it in isolation from everything else.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      “I can’t help but think Sonny Bunch is sore that there was a lot of anti-Trump rhetoric. This gets back to whether conservatives can make good art or not.”

      You can’t help but think to poison the well, which reminds you of how many conservative wells are poisonous?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I think your being unfair to Sunny Bunch. He openly admits that a lot of the movies that people actually watch aren’t deserving of the best picture nomination by reasonable definitions of best picture and he also points out that the Academy originated as a way to oppose the unionization of the film industry. The award ceremony was part of that cynical strategy.Report

  10. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    I have written previously that I think the NL designated hitter is inevitable. I have no joy in writing this: it simply is. What I find more interesting in the linked article is the writer dismissing out of hand the idea of accepting tie games. I have written about those, too. Tie games in baseball are totally traditional. The radical change is suspended games. One traditional fact of baseball was that once you went home and went to bed, the game was over. This isn’t cricket, folks! If we are concerned about marathon games (and this is a legitimate concern) then the simplest solution is to institute an innings cap. If the game is still tied after eleven innings (or whatever) then go home and get some sleep. There will be another game tomorrow.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      You might recall that sportswriters got upset about a meaningless exhibition ending in a tie, and the result was possibly the dumbest rule in baseball.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      Playing another game tomorrow just transfers the inning load, and what if tomorrow’s scheduled game is in another part of the country? To me, the simpler solution to the risk of player injuries from fatigue (marathon games, a starting pitcher injury in the early innings, or rain postponements) is to make access to the farm system more flexible.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        You are assuming that the tie game will be replayed. This is how baseball has traditionally treated them, but this is a idiosyncratic peculiarity due to a historical accident. See the second link in my previous comment. No other sport treats ties this way. Much as I adore idiosyncratic peculiarities due to historical accidents, ties could easily be counted in the standings as, well, ties.

        The game tomorrow I referred to was the next regularly scheduled game. Teams play about six days out of seven, so it is more likely than not that there is already a game already scheduled. If they are to replay the tie, it will probably be at some later date, perhaps involving a double header.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos says:

          Soccer used to replay ties in tournaments; the change to allow shoot outs instead (which has since been followed by a number of different extra time formats) was only made in 1970. It’s still legal to use replays in FIFA sanctioned tournaments, though, and apparently the FA Cup still uses them in early rounds.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          My preferance is a tie game still does not exist as a regulation game. (There was one in 2016 for the Cubs, I think it was weather-related and it didn’t get made-up) If the issue is player fatigue, leading to heightened injury risk over the coming days, I think the cleaner solution is making roster moves more flexible either in general or in defined situations.

          Just curious, this is the 2016 NL Wildcard Standings if ties are called after 12 innings:

          1. Mets 87-74-1
          2. Cardinals 85-76-1
          3. Giants 83-74-5

          The Giants got the second wildcard spot in 2016 because of their fraudulent record (4-1) of winning in marathon games. In this alternative reality, who should get the second wildcard spot?Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

            The Giants. Straight percentage, with the numerator the number of games won and the denominator the number of games won plus the number of games loss. This is how it is done in football. The Cardinals percentage comes out to 52.79, the Giants 52,87.

            Yes, at some point this system would produce a different result. But so what? This is only problem if you regard the existing system as somehow more legitimate. And even then there would be no way to know how those marathon tie games would have come out, so there wouldn’t be an outraged constituency screaming that they was robbed. There would merely be speculation that of they had won some impressively high number of those tie games then they would have made the cut.

            Also, the Giants would have been in better shape without having had to play those five marathons. Who knows? Perhaps with their bullpen saved that trauma they would have won another game or two.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

              The NFL counts a tie as half a win. E.g. last year’s Bengals at 6-9-1 are .406 (6.5/16), not .400 (6/15). This (slightly) elevates the percentages of bad teams and lowers those of good teams compared to ignoring them.

              This could matter, though it’s not likely. Take a team that’s 100-50-12.

              W/(W+L) gives .666
              (W+T/2)/(W+L+T) gives .654

              Are they better or worse than a team that’s 107-59 (.660)?Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

                I did not know that about the NFL. Thanks for the tip.

                As for which is better and which is worse, this is all solidly within the realm of meaningless statistical noise. It is necessary to have some way of picking one or the other, but having the two managers play rock-paper-scissors would provide an answer no more and no less meaningful to the question of which team is “better.”Report

              • Of course. The difference becomes larger as the team’s average moves away from .500, and I had to posit two extraordinarily good teams for it to matter at all.Report

  11. Avatar Kim says:

    Fatal farms discovered, to their continued disgruntlement, that the longest youtube video is 5 hours long.
    They wanted to put up 15 hours of footage.Report

  12. Avatar Kim says:

    My husband was convinced that Bobcat Goldthwait had died somewhere earlier than 1995 or so. He remained convinced of this through multiple sightings (and, in Bob’s Burger’s case, hearings), convinced that there were Bobcat Goldthwait impersonators wandering around. And rather a lot of them at that.Report

  13. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    Re: the Federalist baseball article. And here I thought it was a conservative publication! I’d more expect a call to bring back the dead ball than expand the use of the DH (an abomination). You want to shorten the game? Keep the batter in the box.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      I clicked over there and was immediately offered another Federalist article to read: “Why Conservative Women Are So Pretty”. (The idea comes from an old P.J. O’Rourke piece. No surprise.) It amounts to “we are better than liberals, which is why we get all the good-looking girls.” So I suspect the answer is that they’re a bunch of wankers.Report

  14. Avatar Stillwater says:

    New thesis: Trump’s actions – either by temperament or design – are indistinguishable from a person actively seeking to destroy American political and governmental institutions as we know them: the electoral process, civil liberties, the judiciary, foreign policy, domestic policy, trade agreements, Treaty-based alliances, etc and so on, and now, with his recent attacks on Obama and the FBI, even the executive branch itself which he is head of. The choice of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist is particular interesting since Bannon is on record, multiple times, saying that his goal, and by extension the admin’s goal wrt cabinet nominees, is the deconstruction of the state. Such a theory certainly accounts for why each shiny, absurd Trump distraction is more damaging to our institutions than the previous one. The scary thing for us conservatives (heh) is that the appetite for this type of wholesale institutional destruction has apparently reached a tipping point within the electorate.Report

    • Avatar gregiank says:

      A guy like Trump is fine with the general american gov and processes as long as he gets his. His actions are about sustaining and maintaining his desires and ego. Anything that gets broken is merely irrelevant collateral damage. Bannon is a lot different though.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        A guy like Trump is fine with the general american gov and processes as long as he gets his.

        A) That assumes facts not in evidence, namely, that he actually understands what government does and what those processes are.

        B) It’s inconsistent with observable behavior revealing that he holds government, politicians, and civil servants in contempt.

        IMHO. 🙂Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          Occam’s razor suggests we make the fewest possible assumptions. I haven’t seen anything that can’t be explained by his being an infantile, narcissistic asshole who keeps getting rewarded for acting out. I honestly blame his supporters more than I blame him. What is it going to take for them to stop encouraging his worst impulses?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Like I wrote below, that’s true. I don’t disagree. As I wrote: Trump’s actions – either by temperament or design – are indistinguishable from a person actively seeking to destroy American political and governmental institutions as we know themReport

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              Adding, Mike: And that’s precisely why the marriage of Trump and Bannon is so interesting. The particular manifestations of Trump’s uniquely cynical (childish, impetuous…) ego map onto Bannon’s goals to deconstruct the state almost perfectly.Report

        • Avatar gregiank says:

          Well of course he holds everybody who isn’t a fan or servant in contempt. That is what elites do.

          Government is there to help and support him. If it does, it is good. If not, it is bad.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            One example: He likes judges when they rule in his favor. But when he thinks they might not he pre-emptively challenges the independence of the judiciary. I’m suggesting that that claim – irrespective of intent – undermines public confidence in the courts.

            And moreso, that a tipping-point-approaching-number-of-people if not tipping-point-attained-number actually agree with him.Report

            • Avatar Pinky says:

              I have a question. Or, not a question, but something I’m trying to sort out. And let me tell you something else it’s not: a “both sides do it” excuse for Trump. This isn’t something I excuse. But – both sides do it, or rather Trump and Obama both did it. This temperamental skirting of the law and undermining the system, this personal comfort with dishonesty.this intolerance of dissenting opinions. It’s been the new normal for a little more than eight years. I’m having trouble reconciling that with what I’ve been reading on the internet lately.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                I’m genuinely not sure what actions by Obama you’re referring to that are distinct from GWB and consistent with Trump in this regard. Can you be more specific?Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                Well, I don’t see novice hack Steve Bannon as substantially different from novice hack Ben Rhodes. And when Stillwater mentioned undermining confidence in the courts, I pictured Obama’s SOTU. Trump’s apparent willingness to cede ground to Russia is only an intent; Obama actually did it. And the idea that we’re near a tipping point where that kind of behaviour is acceptable, well, we’re way past 90%.

                ETA – executive action on immigration

                ETA – the constant whiningReport

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                My reaction to this bill of particulars is pretty much in line with @mike-schilling, but thanks for filling me in. Suffice it to say that I don’t think this is a view of Obama that’s particularly reasonable or that will age particularly well.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                I’d say there is a huge difference between O and T on all these things. Heck there is a huge difference between Bush II and Trump.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Can you narrow that down a bit, Pinky, since I’m just one guy who thinks about things on my own, using my own reasoning, and can’t really speak for the whole internet?

                My view is takes two parts, one descriptive, one normative:

                1) Descriptive: That Trump’s actions and behaviors (including the bare evidence of the platform he was elected on!) are consistent with a person seeking to destroy our political, governmental, even (to some extent) cultural institutions.

                2. Normative: That burning it all down is a radical proposal – domestically, geopolitically, etc – that gives me the fearz.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                Yeah, that’s the stuff I’m talking about. Obama’s malice against the police and religious institutions, his refusal to talk to unfriendly press, his inability to engage with opponents without tearing them down, the stirring up of racial unrest for gain. That kind of stuff. Trump and Obama are practically the same person.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Given what you just said, my response would that there’s a categorical difference between acting rudely to adversaries (Bush tried to stack the court with Christains!!) while operating within existing institutional structures and tearing down the political legitimacy of those institutions.

                Granted, wrt Trump that hasn’t been established yet, but his campaign and post election actions and rhetoric are not merely rude (divisive) but anti-establishment. The most recent example is accusing – without evidence – Obama of tapping his phones during the election while throwing the resolution of that accusation to Congress: it undermines the legitimacy of the presidency (two ways), the FBI, the DOJ and FISA courts, and Congress as well (since it further* delegitimizes the legitimate investigative rolls that institution engages in). He could simply declassify, or present to members of the Intel Cmte, the relevant info. But he hasn’t. The list goes on from there.

                *Thanks to the Starr Chamber and Gowdy’s Folly.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Reading your comment a bit more carefully, I think you’re saying you’re happy to tear it all down, where “tearing it down” means getting rid of what both parties have built over the last (at least, but far beyond that) four election cycles.

                Fair enough. My worry is that you’re likely going to lose more than you’re hoping for, but even then the calculus might still work out according to your metrics. That’s fine. I mean, I disagree, but we’re at the point where we do that.

                Adding: Here’s one metric to consider: North Korea. While Trump is incoherently panicking his way thru the first 40 days, N Korea is literally challenging HIS ability to constrain their acts of aggression. I don’t think HE’S up to the task, so I hope someone with some social and intellectual intelligence steps in to calm things down. Otherwise we’re looking at a really bad escalation.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                Not at all. I’m not one of those “tear it all down” people. I’m quite the opposite. I’m saying that Obama and (it looks like) Trump have been tearing down civil discourse and corrupting the governmental system. I’m as scared as you are; I’ve just been scared longer.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Well, that explains it: I didn’t worry about our basic institutions when Obama was president, or Bush, or Clinton, Or Bush. Maybe the actions within those institution, but not the very integrity or sustainability of them. But I do with Trump.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                his refusal to talk to unfriendly press

                How many interviews did Obama do with O’Reilly? I lost count. At least one with Chris Wallace.

                Obama’s malice against the police and religious institutions,

                the stirring up of racial unrest for gain

                Here I have no idea what you mean.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                And I’m sure Fox was represented at presidential press conferences.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                “malice against the police”?????? and against “religious institutions”????? “stirring up racial unrest”???

                I’m really surprised to hear that you believe that. Those are conservative fever swamp stuff to me. If i stretch i can see why some religouis people were unhappy with parts of the ACA or plenty were happy with it. But malice towards the cops…please.

                Did Obama ever brag about sexual assault? Did he trade in conspiracy theories like that whole birth cert thing? Did he claim Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in killing JFK or whatever crazy thing he said about that.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                “Trump and Obama are practically the same person.”

                Bullshit. Thru and thru. And you know you it. But you’ll indulge in the bullshit because you’re playing a game and are unintersted in discourse, understanding, or growth.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                I sometimes have trouble understanding how people disagree with me, but I can accept that they disagree with me. You’re headed down a bad path if you lose that.

                I don’t understand this past election, but it seems apparent to me that somewhere along the way during these past eight years, millions of people got the idea that a president doesn’t have to be a truth-telling adult. I hate that people believe that. I understand where it came from, though.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                For me, the breaking point was the NLRB appointments. They showed such a contempt for the law that I’ve really never been able to wrap my head around them.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I don’t understand this past election, but it seems apparent to me that somewhere along the way during these past eight years, millions of people got the idea that a president doesn’t have to be a truth-telling adult.

                Do the lies justifying the Iraq war figure into this calculus at all?

                Seems to me you ought to begin your inquiry into this past election by looking at the GOP/conservative voter’s choices in the primary and ask yourself why they chose Trump over any one of 16 other GOP/conservative candidates. And only after that get on with blaming Trump’s win on Obama’s dishonesty, seems to me.Report

              • Recess appointments? They’re in the constitution.

                It’s the first time I can recall that the Senate refused to admit it was in recess when it clearly was, purely to make it difficult to fill vacant positions.Report

              • Avatar Pinky says:

                If one Supreme Court justice had found that argument convincing, I could maybe stomach that view. None of them did. The DC Court of Appeals didn’t issue a minority opinion on that case, either, so I assume that no judge ever found President Obama’s move constitutional. It was contemptuous – three days off counts as an unannounced recess? Never in our history. What it reminds me of is a European monarch dissolving a parliament in the old days.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I think Greg has it right here. Trump is all about his ego getting stroked and his bank accounts getting bigger.

      Bannon is the real deal (but potentially incompetent). I don’t think his racism can be doubted now. Nor can his belief that we are on the road to a Race Holy War between Whites/Europeans v. Everyone else. News this week is that Bannon keeps on quoting from a far-right novel from France in the 1970s about immigrant overrunning Europe and the United States. The description of immigrants is that they are like subhuman creatures and not flattering.

      Bannon is a true revolutionary in that he believes in rip it all down and start again. We shall see how much power he has to do this.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I agree that Trump’s driven by a slurry of childish ego-based emotions. I just don’t think that matters with respect to diagnosing the path he’s setting us on. The operative phrase in my comment is “by temperament or design”. I’m making a consequentialist claim here. Not a diagnostic one.Report

      • Avatar Jesse says:

        Camp of the Saints, also known as the book that our buddy Rod Dreher got obsessed with for a month or two near the end of 2015.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Trump and Bannon are going to be the biggest stress tests to American government ever. The Republicans look perfectly willing to go along but a lot of them agree with Trump on these issues so that isn’t surprising.Report