Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trump's narcissism

This somewhat longwinded post by David Auerbach captures pretty well my own working understanding of the Donald Trump phenomenon, as well as the cultural moment in which he could rise to power. It leaves unanswered two pressing questions: If Trump is not a conventional demagogue, of which we have ample historical examples to study, how can we predict what a Trump presidency would look like? And given that his campaign is not about ideas, and that attacks on his character are absorbed as if praise, what can be done to defeat him?

Friday, July 22, 2016


Last night I dreamt I was riding a crowded school bus, the venue for a debate between the presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Joseph Stiglitz. Trump was standing at the front, tall with an improved haircut, sounding thoughtful and presidential. "Stiglitz," a short disheveled man with a gray mustache, was seated nearby, mumbling. He did not look at all like the real Joe Stiglitz. At one point he stood, interrupting Trump, and started a rambling professorial disquisition, something about inequality, but difficult to follow. From behind me, a couple of bros heckled him. "Trump is going to win," I said to myself.

I was awakened by the garbage truck, making its Friday morning rounds.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Illuminating our path above the beach at Pacifica. Probably one of ten days per summer that the place is not socked in with fog...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Proud to be an American...

Redwood City's 4th of July Parade attracts a lot of people, but it still has a small-town vibe. The crowd reflects the diversity of the city itself as well as the surrounding Bay Area: many colors, many languages, many American flags; Girl Scouts followed by Mexican folkloric dancers followed by synchronized Falun Gong-ers.

After the parade... classic cars lined Broadway. Congresswoman Speiers's gun regulation sit-down in front of the old Fox Theatre attracted a small crowd, but the macarena (!) was booming from the sound system directly across the street, it was hard to hear, and most folks seemed more in the mood for a taco and a Bud than politics.

A larger audience assembled to see Stanford and UC-Davis square off in a battle of the marching bands (I use both "marching" and "band" loosely here). I'm afraid the Aggies came in larger numbers and readier to play, although the Stanford tree gave it his all. Both sides were passing around plastic "water" bottles, containing some liquid that only helped the musicianship up to a point.

I thought the best politics of the day was implicit in that patriotic rainbow crowd... you shoulda seen it, Mr. Trump. Then again, I suspect your presence might have soured the festive mood.