In a way, Donald Trump has been our most transparent president. We almost always know what he's thinking, especially about himself. He lets us know directly, through tweets, and indirectly, through the psychological process of projection: the displacement of his fears and anxieties onto others. Just think of all the people he has called "crooked," "weak" or "scum." The very title of this devastating book, "A Very Stable Genius," is a form of projection. Trump obviously fears that he's the opposite. And when, in the most shocking revelation offered by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, Trump launches a face-to-face tirade against the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling them "losers," "dopes and babies," and says, "I wouldn't go to war with you people," it isn't difficult to imagine who he's really talking about. … [Read more...] about Book World: ‘Losers,’ ‘dopes’ and ‘scum’: Inside Trump’s war with his own advisers
The comment reportedly left the room dumbfounded. Tillerson was “visibly seething,” and decided to speak up. The secretary of state said: “No, that’s just wrong... Mr. President, you’re totally wrong. None of that is true.” When the meeting ended soon afterward, Tillerson reportedly stood with a small group of confidantes and said: “He’s a fucking moron.” … [Read more...] about Trump Called His Generals a ‘Bunch of Dopes and Babies’ in a Fit of Rage, Book Claims
If you've never spent much time in New York, there's a decent chance that the image of it in your head comes from one of the more than 40 movies directed by Sidney Lumet. The sweat and the noise, the ambition and the corruption, the blue-collar beat cops and the sea of yellow taxis driven by mouthy, outer-borough cabbies - these were the vibrant daubs of paint that made up Lumet's palette. And it's fair to say that no other filmmaker employed those colors as vividly as Lumet did on the big screen during the latter half of the 20th century, from his 1957 debut, "12 Angry Men," through such modern classics as "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Network" and "Prince of the City." He completed his final feature, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," in 2007 and died at age 86 in 2011. Even Martin Scorsese, no stranger to the very same mean streets that Lumet walked and worked, called him the quintessential New York director. … [Read more...] about Book World: The dramatic life of Hollywood legend Sidney Lumet
His chapter on Japan is particularly eye-opening. Japan has been a huge market for secondhand goods, partly because apartments don't tend to be gargantuan, so there's incentive to own less. But as Minter documents, the Japanese are also in the vanguard of the minimalist movement partly because their affluence has allowed them to accumulate so much, so fast. And Japanese birthrates have declined so precipitously that more people are dying than being born, which means there aren't devoted relatives to clean out the apartments of the deceased. Japan has 8 million empty homes, known as "ghost homes," and the elderly are encouraged to practice shukatsu, preparing for their own demise. … [Read more...] about Book World: What really happens to all that unwanted stuff you donate?
Much of the rest of what appears in the book isn't brand-new, but that's not the point. The world Trump came from explains much about the president and offers a few (terrifying) insights into how much lower American politics might still sink. It's impossible to understand Trumpism without understanding Trump's people. It's through them that he first instituted a kind of tin-pot dictator's requirement of loyalty above all else (even while he was systematically disloyal and backstabbing), developed a taste for publicly humiliating any perceived rivals (and a particular disgust for women who challenged him) and honed the craft of flat-out lying without worry (and realizing he could do so without consequence). … [Read more...] about Book World: All the president’s crooked men