Tuesday Reads: Disgust and Despair . . . Is There Any Hope on the Horizon?

Edvard Munch: The Sun

Edvard Munch: The Sun

Good Afternoon!!

I’ve really hit a wall today. I’m kind of paralyzed. I don’t think I can stand to read or write another word about Donald Trump. He just plain sickens me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such disgust for another human being before. The sight of his ugly, bloated, orange-tinted face and his ludicrous hair; the sound of his bellowing voice and vulgar accent literally turn my stomach. I can’t begin to imagine how we will survive his presidency.

So I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for hours trying to figure out what stories to share today; here’s what I’ve come finally come up with.

Vanity Fair: Trump Won’t Stop Terrifying the World Over Twitter Any Time Soon.

In the days following the election, president-elect Donald Trump appeared on 60 Minutes with a promise to be “very restrained” on Twitter as president, “if I use it at all.” But it’s hard to see Trump scaling back his use of the platform that turned him into a political phenomenon. Since then, the incoming president has sparked a diplomatic conflict with China; attacked private citizens, including a union leader; praised Russian president Vladimir Putin; and even more recently, decided to follow (and promptly unfollow) a Twitter account dedicated to posting pictures of kittens.

Edvard Munch: The Storm

Edvard Munch: The Storm

And Trump won’t stop tweeting anytime soon, no matter how much Melania begs. “Absolutely you’re going to see Twitter,” Sean Spicer, who will be Trump’s press secretary, told ABC News. “The fact of the matter is that when he tweets he gets results. So whether it’s Twitter, holding a news conference, picking up the phone, having a meeting, he is going to make sure that he continues to fight for the American people every single day.”

Right. He’s fighting for the American people, if you define “the American people” as billionaires, corporations, and foreign dictators. I used to love Twitter, and it’s still the best place to get breaking news; but now that tRump is dominating Twitter too, it isn’t much fun anymore.

tRump has been busy on Twitter for the past couple of days. He’s still attacking China, which seems like a bad idea. Yesterday he accused China of not helping control North Korea.

NBC News: Trump Criticizes China Over North Korea’s Nuclear Program.

A state-run Chinese newspaper accused Donald Trump of “pandering to ‘irresponsible’ attitudes” Tuesday after the president-elect alleged that Beijing had failed to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Sunday that his country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Having conducted three nuclear tests during Kim’s five years in power, he is thought to be pursuing the missile technology it would need to attack South Korea. North Korea also has designs on reaching the U.S. military outpost of Guam and the U.S. mainland itself.

Edvard Munch: Melancholy

Edvard Munch: Melancholy

Of course tRump didn’t explain how he proposed to stop North Korea’s nuclear development plans.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded Tuesday that China’s hard work in trying to ensure the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is obvious to all, Reuters reported.

However, the state-run Global Times tabloid was more aggressive.

It responded to Trump’s tweets by stating that he was “pandering to ‘irresponsible’ attitudes” and stoking “the anxieties of some Americans” who blame China rather than looking inward, according to The Associated Press.

Also yesterday, tRump continued his insufferable bragging about winning the election.

This man is not only evil; he’s also incredibly boring.

He’s been even busier today–attacking General Motors and Obamacare, and criticizing the House for being so public about getting rid of the independent Congressional ethics office. He has no problems with gutting ethics oversight, mind you; he just wanted them to wait until no one was paying attention. After the public reaction to their brazen action, the House suddenly “reversed course.”

Following a public outcry, and criticism from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on drastic changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.

After a hastily convened conference call, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered a motion to restore the current OCE rules that was accepted by the GOP conference via unanimous consent.

“They need to know the gravity of this situation,” said one senior GOP source ahead of the vote to restore the OCE’s full powers, while noting that the office was not without flaws. “The best thing may be to unwind it.”

The abrupt reversal marked a rocky first day for Republicans, one that was supposed to have been jubilant, with the GOP taking control of both chambers of congress and prepping for the takeover of the White House by their party leader, Donald Trump.

Of course tRump will soon take credit for this too.

Edvard Munch: Vampire

Edvard Munch: Vampire

Quite a few people seem to be dealing with the coming horror by reading books. A number of prominent writers have either weighed in on what’s coming or offered reading lists. Here are a few examples:

On Optimism and Despair, by Zadie Smith at The New York Review of Books.


I find these days that a wistful form of time travel has become a persistent political theme, both on the right and on the left. On November 10 The New York Times reported that nearly seven in ten Republicans prefer America as it was in the 1950s, a nostalgia of course entirely unavailable to a person like me, for in that period I could not vote, marry my husband, have my children, work in the university I work in, or live in my neighborhood. Time travel is a discretionary art: a pleasure trip for some and a horror story for others. Meanwhile some on the left have time travel fancies of their own, imagining that the same rigid ideological principles once applied to the matters of workers’ rights, welfare, and trade can be applied unchanged to a globalized world of fluid capital….

As my dear, soon-departing president well understood, in this world there is only incremental progress. Only the willfully blind can ignore that the history of human existence is simultaneously the history of pain: of brutality, murder, mass extinction, every form of venality and cyclical horror. No land is free of it; no people are without their bloodstain; no tribe entirely innocent. But there is still this redeeming matter of incremental progress. It might look small to those with apocalyptic perspectives, but to she who not so long ago could not vote, or drink from the same water fountain as her fellow citizens, or marry the person she chose, or live in a certain neighborhood, such incremental change feels enormous.

Edvard Munch: Melancholy, Laura

Edvard Munch: Melancholy, Laura

Meanwhile the dream of time travel—for new presidents, literary journalists, and writers alike—is just that: a dream. And one that only makes sense if the rights and privileges you are accorded currently were accorded to you back then, too. If some white men are more sentimental about history than anyone else right now it’s no big surprise: their rights and privileges stretch a long way back. For a black woman the expanse of livable history is so much shorter. What would I have been and what would I have done—or more to the point, what would have been done to me—in 1360, in 1760, in 1860, in 1960? I do not say this to claim some pedestal of perfect victimhood or historical innocence. I know very well how my West African ancestors sold and enslaved their tribal cousins and neighbors. I don’t believe in any political or personal identity of pure innocence and absolute rectitude.

The Audacity of Hopelessness, by Roxane Gay at The New York Times.

Throughout this election cycle I was confident of a Hillary Clinton victory because she is eminently qualified for the presidency and she ran a strong campaign. As I watch the election results come in, I am stunned. I was confident, not only because of who Mrs. Clinton is. I was confident because I thought there were more Americans who believe in progress and equality than there were Americans who were racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic. This is a generalization, but it’s hard to feel otherwise.

As I’ve watched the pundits try to contextualize Mr. Trump’s performance Tuesday, they have talked about how a postindustrial reality was a big part of his success. I understand why “economic anxiety” is part of the story — working-class families who have seen jobs disappear are looking for real change in Washington. They are hoping that somehow, a political “outsider” will create the kind of change that will, in turn, bring back well-paying jobs. I understand this hope. I want to see the American economy thrive for everyone, but I do not think Mr. Trump can revitalize the economy.

A bigger part of tonight’s story is that millions and millions of Americans are willing to vote for a candidate who has been endorsed by the Klan. They are willing to vote for a candidate who has displayed open contempt for women. They are willing to vote for a candidate whose base is openly hostile to people of color, immigrants and Muslims. We cannot ignore the hate that Mr. Trump both encourages and allows to flourish. I am terrified that the more virulent of Mr. Trump’s base will see his election as permission to act on hatred.

Edvard Munch: Ashes

Edvard Munch: Ashes

On Monday night, I was hopeful and excited. I thought Nov. 8 would be an amazing day. I thought we would finally see a woman president after 44 men held the office. To see the highest glass ceiling of all cracked, the idea of that meant so much to me. Now I wonder, will I see a woman president in my lifetime?

I feel hopeless right now. I am incredibly disappointed, but I cannot wallow in these feelings for long. I will not. The world will not end because of a Trump presidency. Tomorrow, the sun will rise and the day will be a lot less joyful than I imagined, but I’ll get through it. We all will.

So many of us felt and still feel the same way.

Division besets us. But the US must live up to its role in the world, by Marilynne Robinson at The Guardian.

Americans are very good at parsing disaster in order to learn from it. Now, with Donald Trump’s victory, it is time to do just that. From the very beginning, this election season has been a stress test. It has revealed weaknesses, actual and potential, in the American political system. Voters have now ensured these can no longer be ignored….

Elections are of unparalleled value as a means of letting the country know how things stand with it. Until the primary results started coming in, the press and the leadership of both parties had no notion that Trump would be a force to be reckoned with. His victory has made it very clear that they need much better means for understanding the public mind, which is, so long as we remain a democracy, the crucial factor in our national life….

The election itself showed us the degree to which Trump’s venting of anger and frustration resonated with Americans across the country, including those from traditional Democratic strongholds….

We have a role in the world we must try to live up to. With Trump victorious, just how we do that is a big question. We like to forget that the people of other countries follow our politics day by day. If the ugliness of Donald Trump’s campaign continues into his presidency, that will do more harm to our standing than any economic or military preeminence can recover. A city on a hill cannot be hid – even with a President Trump in charge.

Two reading lists from well-known authors:

Resistance Lit: Jonathan Lethem and T.J. Stiles via LitHub.

Nine Must-Read Books in the Age of Donald Trump, by Nina Burleigh at Newsweek.

What stories are you following today?



51 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Disgust and Despair . . . Is There Any Hope on the Horizon?”

    • bostonboomer says:

      Of course not. Anyway he didn’t object to gutting the ethics office, just to the blatant timing.

    • Fannie says:

      I made my calls early this morning……….Raul Labrador of Idaho is sure to send me a letter telling me how he is working for Americans.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I made calls all morning. Apparently people were hopping mad because I spent quite a bit of time on hold. I’m going to call both Senators and every congressman in my State every time the GOP tries something moronic, which will be everyday. I belong to the ACLU and they send a handy reminder of State Office building numbers every year. We’re going to be very busy in the next 4 years Fannie.

        • Fannie says:

          Yes we are! Raul Labrador is with the House Freedom Caucus, he and few of his buds tried to pave the way, and they aren’t getting anywhere. But they will be back.

          I am calling Paul Ryan to investigate Russian Hacking….602 752 4050.

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Unbelievable. NBC News has hired Megyn Kelly and MSNBC has hired Greta Van Susteren.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I might have to take a Pepcid. Disgusting and I can only imagine that NBC is going to work their ass off to attract some of that Fox audience.

    • Fannie says:

      I won’t trust them, but I understand their fear of Trump…………even if they can pay for round the clock security.

  2. janicen says:

    Jeff Zeleny is tweeting that the Clintons will be attending Trump’s inauguration. Sorry, still not watching.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I actually think that might not be a bad move. I can see that getting under his skin. There he’ll be having to share the spotlight – with someone he promised to prosecute and jail. And it isn’t as though they have to attend – it’s of their own volition.

      • janicen says:

        I’m thinking it’s more of a shot at Bernie trying to gain traction in the Democratic party. The Clinton’s will do what they do, I’m still not going to watch.

      • Fannie says:

        Wouldn’t you love to see them bring the 18 women who were assaulted by Trump with them?

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I’m thinking, IT’S A FUCKING TERRIBLE DECISION and adds an air of legitimacy to trump. Hillary will basically disappear from the political scene after this and it’s now how I wanted to see her exit, especially if she believes that Russia helped him win the election. That’s all I have to say about it.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Hey Mouse! I guess I like to think of it as she is standing up to him. She won the popular vote by such a huge margin – to be there smiling and waving is what they both need to do. She should not let him be the cause of her not attending. I totally get the validation aspect – but like it or not he’s the next POTUS.

        And had the tables been turned you can bet it would be the last thing Trump himself would do. In his case an act of puerile petulance.

        But I do understand your point – and I can’t argue against it. Pros and cons for sure.

        P.S. I don’t think she will disappear any more than her husband has. They will remain huge draws on the speaking circuits and the Foundation will be unhampered as far as I can tell. The Foundation being another good way to get under tRumps’ skin!

        • ANonOMouse says:

          I’m certain she’ll get under tRump’s thin skin, anyone can, but what good does that do you, me or anyone else who voted for her. She’s not reaching out to those who voted for her in any way, so my assumption is she’s finished. I can’t say that I blame her, but I can’t say that I’m going to be happy about her sitting on the podium with Hitler. I see no strategic benefit to it other than to make it look normal, when it isn’t.

      • janicen says:

        I agree, but I trust their political instincts. They can see years in the future when it comes to politics. I desperately wanted her to fight in ’08 and it turned out the smarter play was what she and Bill did so I’ll accept their attendance as the smart play. I’m still not watching. Like bb, I can’t stand the sight or sound of that orange swine.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I am with you on this. He called her “crooked Hillary”, marched out Bill’s accusers, and was in on the Russian hacking yet they decide to attend his inauguration? Legitimizing this incompetent for what purpose?

        I’m done. The hypocrisy is too much. We here all supported and agonized over this debacle and I have no more fcks to give.

        Let them all go down together. They deserve that much.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I’m with you, Mouse and all the way.
        The Clintons should not be sanctioning this travesty.
        As late as last night, I said to my husband that the election and its aftermath feel like an endless nightmare.

      • Fannie says:

        We understand Mouse. She didn’t tweet that she was going to attend. I think she is doing so for those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Those who fought and died for our rights to vote. I hope she mentions them, in honor, that we never forget. As a long time public servants, she and former President, will stand for all Americans, and especially her friends from Benghazie. But all who gave their lives, because yes we are Great Americans.

    • Riverbird says:

      I think Bill and Hillary are right to attend. I see Jimmy Carter and George W. will be there too. I won’t be watching. Ugh.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        This man is threatening to take away healthcare for millions. His tax forms are still hidden. He praises a murdering dictator. He pledges to rid much needed regulations that will effect our air, water and food sullpies. He promises,to cut taxes on the rich which will lead to another recession. Only those in the 1percent (the Clinton’s themselves) will benefit.

        How can they bring themselves to stand beside this fool when they preached against this agenda for 18 months? You cannot describe the hypocrisy in this action.

        Who do we have left to defend us against this onslaught? Nobody.

        And this includes both Clinton’s. My despair is real.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          “Who do we have left to defend us against this onslaught?”

          I’m in my 70’s. I was an activist during the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the gay rights movement and I know that the only people who we can count on to defend us is us. Politicians are fickle. They’re here today, gone tomorrow. This is over for Hillary. As someone said up above she will be on the “circuit” giving speeches. Yes she will, but I suspect they won’t be speeches about what’s best for you and I. I don’t really expect to see much of Hillary again, so adios.

          Now we’re left to defend ourselves and each other. Let’s get to it.

          • Pat Johnson says:

            My admiration has been punctured. When that happens there is no turning back.

            This,is just another tug at my cynicism but the Clinton’s have truly lost my respect. I have no further interest in what either of them have to say or offer going forward.

            Rubbing shoulders and playing nice with this incompetent fool who promises lies and disaster for this nation is beyond comprehension.

            How soon we forget “p#ssy grabbing” and race baiting. Disgusting.

          • Fannie says:

            Yes, yes, yes.

      • Enheduanna says:

        GWB must have changed his mind then. I thought he had declined.

        For myself it’s the fact tRump did what he did to Hillary – and yet there she will be anyway that makes it the right play. In a way she could be saying “Lock ME up willya? Lock this MF.”


        I’m not watching either BTW. Hope the ratings are in the tank. I hate that tRump is a ratings draw.

        • babama says:

          “Lock ME up willya? Lock this MF.” Ha! Love it. I wish I had a gif of her to go with it.

          I’m thinking, “Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.”


          She is an incrementalist and a believer in our system of government and institutions. I think thats a good thing. She’s smart, knows how to strategize, and I trust her judgement. If this will increase her influence, leverage, and political capitol then I salute her for going and I hope she slays. I won’t be watching, I’ll be doing my duty as a citizen and demonstrating. Progress is a struggle not a stroll. I want us to have fairer and free-er, higher turnout elections in ’18 and ’20. Yes, I think things are that fragile right now. We are going to have to be vigilant and strong together to get through this whole. We have to have each others backs, especially our leaders. I was prepared to put my faith in her if she became POTUS. I’m surely not quitting on her now! I’m staying in formation and I’m still with her.

    • Jslat says:

      My opinion on this is simply that Hillary does not have to hide and avoid events that call for Bill as former POTUS to attend. I won’t be watching, however.

    • dakinikat says:

      So will the Dubya Bushes …

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Deval Patrick sends a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his personal experience with Jeff Sessions (pdf)


  4. Delphyne49 says:

    I haven’t been on Twitter too much today and turned it off later afternoon yesterday – the feeling of impending doom was just a bit too visceral for me to handle. I managed to shake it by reading other articles and this one was just fascinating if one is interested in archeology as one of the means of understanding humans and our history all over Earth. I also loved it because both of the archeologists are women as is the writer of the article.


    • Pat Johnson says:

      Thank god I read, love TMC and have Netfix. Sanity lies therein.

      At least I won’t have to watch the loss of democracy up close and personal while two faced idiots walk around congratulating Hair Trump on his “win”.

      There is just so much bullshit a person can be exposed to before they crack.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Thanks for this link

  5. Thanks, BB. I loved Zadie Smith’s talk. Praising incremental change seems to be under attack everywhere, along with blurring the difference between positive change and negative change, and appreciating incremental change is important.
    I accept that I don’t understand what Hillary Clinton does sometimes but I think if you aren’t at the table, you can’t influence what is said there. Why should she throw away being an influence when she just won the popular vote? I’m willing to watch, wait and see at this point. I ain’t gonna be at that inauguration, but I will be marching against Trump the next day in D.C. instead!

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    Thanks for the book list. It will give me something to read while I’m up with my mom tonight. She is still in the hospital. We hope to hear from oncologist tomorrow so that we know at least what direction we are going in…right now it has been one day at a time.

  7. babama says:

    Thanks for the Zadie Smith link. It brought me hope and comfort. Sorely needed!

  8. NW Luna says:

    BB, this was a very good post and those paintings are expressive of this situation and what we are feeling.