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A Tale Of Two Tonys

Variety reports on Robert De Niro’s stunt at last night’s Tony Awards. [1]Do not play the video at work; he drops an F-bomb. Excerpt:

Robert De Niro [2] had a few choice words for President Donald Trump while the legendary actor was on stage at Sunday’s Tony Awards [3] to introduce Bruce Springsteen’s musical performance.

“I’m going to say one thing, F— Trump,” De Niro said while pumping his fists in the air. “It’s no longer down with Trump. It’s f— Trump.”

The political sentiment earned De Niro a standing ovation from the crowd at Radio City Music Hall, while CBS scrambled to bleep the audio on the live telecast. After the audience settled, De Niro got back to talking about Springsteen, who received a special Tony Award during Sunday night. The intimate show, “Springsteen on Broadway” — or as De Niro referred to it, “Jersey Boy” — features the Boss performing his music and sharing stories from his 2016 autobiography “Born to Run.” Tickets to the exclusive concert residency, which has been extended twice, are upwards of $850.

change_me

This is so perfect. A New York-based movie star denounces Donald Trump in his introduction for a blue-collar troubadour whose stories about the Working Man™ are being performed for Manhattan audiences who pay close to a thousand dollars a ticket to hear them.

The disconnect is so massive that it’s comic.

I can’t imagine that many Trump voters were watching the Tony Awards last night, so they wouldn’t have seen that virtue-signaling display. But it will enjoy a long life on social media, where it will do Donald Trump a lot of good with the masses, because it will solidify their entirely accurate belief that the cultural elites hate them. De Niro and the standing-ovation-giving audience are so vain that they don’t recognize this.

Good job, Bobby. You have hurt your cause more than you can know. If I’m Trump, I’m sitting in Singapore laughing.

I don’t care about Broadway, so I wasn’t watching the Tonys last night. I was watching the West Virginia episode of the late Tony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Talk about a tale of two Tonys! Bourdain acknowledges in the opening montage that he’s a New Yorker, and as such, what the Trump-voting miners and country people of West Virginia stand for is anathema to everything he believes in. But he said he wanted to go spend some time with them, and get to know them.

Understand that Tony Bourdain was a smart-aleck New Yorker and unapologetic liberal who has publicly criticized Donald Trump. He no doubt would share completely Robert De Niro’s crude evaluation of Trump. And yet, after hanging out with the working class in West Virginia, in that opening montage, he says, to those who look down on those Trump-supporting Appalachians: “Screw you.”

Contrast that with De Niro’s similar remark.

In “field notes” to the West Virginia episode, which led off the current season of the CNN show, Bourdain writes [4]:

Like any other episode of Parts Unknown, whether in Vietnam or Nigeria, or any city in the United States, this West Virginia episode is a plea for understanding [5] of the people whose personal histories, sense of pride, independence, and daunting challenges deserve respect. It’s a walk in somebody else’s shoes.

The stereotypes about West Virginia, it turns out, are just as cruel, ignorant, misguided, patronizing, and evil as any other. Every meal might have begun with saying grace, but there was nothing hypocritical about it. People do care about each other. Friends, family, and the community are held close. The men and women who come from families of four, five generations of coal mining [6] are not naive about the promises of cynical politicians—or the inevitable future of fossil fuel. Their identities, their aspirations, and their situation are far more complex than one can imagine, and their needs are more immediate.

There’s a reason why so many West Virginians love their birthplace so fiercely and have fought so long and so hard to preserve it. I hope this show gives you all a glimpse.

This past spring, Bourdain explained the impetus for the episode in an interview with Eater. [7]Excerpt:

I guess for a long time I’ve been going to foreign locations like Iran, Liberia, Vietnam, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia where the culture and politics are very, very different than my own, and yet I try to go with an open mind and show some respect. And I like the idea of going to the heart of “Trump, God, and guns” country and looking at it in exactly the same way — with an open mind, as I’ve done elsewhere. It seemed only fair and only right.

I’ve gotta tell you, I was absolutely rocked back on my heels by, first of all, how beautiful it is, and how kind people were to me, and generous. I mean, in the same way that my preconceptions are upended so often around the world, I felt the same thing happening in West Virginia. In the stereotypical coal mining town in West Virginia — which is pretty much where we went, into the poorest area of West Virginia coal country — I was utterly moved and enchanted by the people and the place. And I like to think I came back from it with a more nuanced picture of what it means to be a coal miner, and why people voted for a sketchy businessman from New York who’s never changed a tire in his life.

You know, I went right at those things — guns, God, and Trump — and I was very moved by what I found there. I hope that people who watch the show will feel the same kind of empathy and respect, and will be able to walk in somebody else’s shoes, or imagine walking in somebody else’s shoes, for a few minutes in the same way that hopefully they do with one of my other shows.

The people he spent time with in West Virginia remember Bourdain fondly, and mourn his passing. [8] Excerpts:

 

Williams said the family quickly learned not to worry. Bourdain wasn’t there to judge. He enjoyed the meal.

“I was sitting right beside him at the picnic table,” she said. “Very down to earth guy. That’s the one thing I saw right away. “You think this guy who has been on TV this many years would be snobby, but he was so down to earth, so nice.”

She appreciated his attitude.

“He was very concerned about letting people know the real truth about West Virginia,” she said, “not making us look bad.”

Mike Costello, a local chef who appears on the episode, said:

That kind of appreciation has resulted because Bourdain was willing to listen, Costello said.

“People of southern West Virginia feel for the first time someone from the outside media came in and told a story they were proud of. I think that tells a lot about the power of narrative and the power of open mindedness,” Costello said.

“When someone comes here with the goal of being open minded and learning about a place it shows how encouraged and empowered people can be when they’re able to tell their own story.”

I bought the West Virginia episode on Amazon Streaming last night, but I just found it online for free [9]— for how long, I don’t know, but have a look. The intro monologue begins at the two-minute mark. It’s clear that Bourdain is tearing into his own prejudices, and was angry at himself for once thinking badly of these people. Bourdain says:

Here in the heart of every belief system I’ve ever mocked or fought against, I was welcomed with open arms by everyone. I found a place both heartbreaking and beautiful. A place that both symbolizes and contains everything wrong — and everything wonderful and hopeful — about America.

In the show, Bourdain does not back off his own beliefs, political and otherwise. What he does is humanize the people of West Virginia, and express solidarity with them across the political and cultural divide. As he tweeted back then:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [12]

I’d trade that entire Broadway audience for one more year of Anthony Bourdain’s life. He had heart. De Niro, that bunch — they just have money and attitude.

If you didn’t follow Bourdain’s work, I hope you will now. We lost a great American last week.

144 Comments (Open | Close)

144 Comments To "A Tale Of Two Tonys"

#1 Comment By Gracie On June 12, 2018 @ 8:30 am

That was a really good episode – so very Wendell Berry/Friday Night Lights, but real, and it brought tears to my eyes.

It really does all turn on affection, which requires relationship, doesn’t it? It’s when we start treating people as a demographic, a member of a data set, that we get screwed up. Statistics are the enemy.

That episode also really strengthened my hunch that the black/white issue is much more an urban/rural issue than otherwise. The should-be ignorant, racist hicks seemed to get along just fine, indeed to really love, their very diverse community, because the community was small enough to have actual relationships. When you go from “I am so proud of you, our tailback, who I have known since you were in diapers” to “all those white people are ignorant, privileged racists who should just die off” you’ve lost touch with both reality and compassion. Decency seems so basic, but it’s so rare – rare enough that Bourdain’s decency made him a star.

#2 Comment By muad’dib On June 12, 2018 @ 9:23 am

If that’s all De Niro has to say, then he has nothing to say. Substance please. There is plenty that could be said with some facts and perspective behind it. Why this fatuous nonsense that is worthy of a Trump tweet?

You could come up with the best ethical, social, economic, foreign policy arguments in the world, and it would not make one single iota of difference, Trump supporters would still follow him. So why waste your time?

#3 Comment By Jack Klompus On June 12, 2018 @ 10:21 am

RP_McMurphy hates racists. Wow, what a bold, brave stand. A true hero.

#4 Comment By VikingLS On June 12, 2018 @ 10:21 am

The evidence for Trump’s alleged racism is about as strong as the evidence for Obama’s alleged radicalism. In other words, extremely thin and undermined by his actions.

Those of you that are getting a visceral thrill out of screaming “racist!” at anybody who voted for Trump, or Trump himself, should bear in mind that that is going to be taken about as seriously those that call progressives communists for wanting to expand Medicaid.

#5 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 12, 2018 @ 10:53 am

That is the first Bourdain show that I have watched. Thanks, Mr. Dreher, for the link.

A teeny, tiny complaint: I don’t think that this type of show needed the strip-joint segment. We know there are strip joints, and bordellos, too (Charleston!). But what does any of that have to do with this type of show? Otherwise, a very fine show.

#6 Comment By Quizman On June 12, 2018 @ 11:19 am

David Simon on Bourdain.

“A lot of people will tell you that on meeting Tony – despite how extraordinary a being he was – they somehow felt as if they’d known him for years. In part, this was the natural result of having so much of his wit and intellect bleed across our television screens. But just as elemental, I believe, was the man’s almost unlimited capacity for empathy, for feeling the lives and loves and hopes of others. He listened as few listen. And when he spoke, it was often to deliver some precise personal recollection that was an echo or simile on what was still in his ear. He abhorred a non sequitur; for him, human communication — much like his core ideas about food and travel and being – was about finding the sacred middle between people.”

[13]

#7 Comment By VikingLS On June 12, 2018 @ 11:19 am

“You could come up with the best ethical, social, economic, foreign policy arguments in the world, and it would not make one single iota of difference, Trump supporters would still follow him. So why waste your time?”

Yes, and Trump haters will hate Trump no matter what he does.

Then there are the rest of us who neither hate Trump nor are his “followers” that you are insulting with your smug comments.

#8 Comment By BCZ On June 12, 2018 @ 11:58 am

It’s about genuine love for our fellows… and it’s something I share with Bourdain and which got me woke (actually woke) about what was going on with polarization left and right and more or less got me to dig down into Christian democracy. I love my Trump voting family and if immas enlightened and morally solidaristic as I claim I can’t engage on the kind of politics of moral expulsion from the community we’ve got going in around here (something to think about Rod regarding LGBTQ… people, Rod)

Bourdain was one of my role models.

I’m devastated by his passing.

#9 Comment By Phillip On June 12, 2018 @ 12:35 pm

Hi Daniel Danza,

Where does the “elite” begin?

To me, it’s not about money but attitude l, one where smugness has become so elevated and toxic that anyone who does not share those beliefs, opinions, and values must not be merely disagreed with and ignored but fully silenced, ostracized, and whenever possible, dehumanized.

Try to persude me, and I’ll listen.
Try to coerce me, and I’ll push back.

#10 Comment By mrscracker On June 12, 2018 @ 12:54 pm

Siarlys Jenkins :
“I really must get around to eating at Chick Fil A soon. Everyone at my church spoke well of the food, but I just don’t eat out much.”
****************
The atmosphere & employees are great, too.
I don’t eat out much either, but every once in a while I enjoy going to Chick Fil A.

#11 Comment By T.R. Smith On June 12, 2018 @ 12:58 pm

Can we just put down the argument that “(Hollywood misbehavior) will do Donald Trump a lot of good with the masses”? Based on history, I think that is true. But I think liberals and leftists have a point when they say a lot of conservative “takes” like this are not in good faith: I am conservative because I am responsible for my own actions and ensuring they align with my principles no matter what is done by others. It used to be called responsibility.

I would think that if you are going to repeat the argument “this will only make Trump supporters hate you even more,” you might at least take the time to point out that this is not actually critical thinking at all but rather uncritical reaction.

Of course, I can’t really say what is going on in your mind, heart, or soul, but I have found when I use arguments like that it is because I find I am trying to justify doing something that I know is wrong.

Of course, I appreciate the contrast you are trying to make and recognize it’s an artificial one. I really appreciate your comments on Bourdain and your selection of “the best of Bourdain.” I never really watched or read his work before – one of my major sins is gluttony, so I have to keep my appetites (including to have known about or seen everything) in check by tuning certain things out.

One more quibble: I actually think it’s interesting how we have uncritically adapted this language of “virtue signaling.” I think that is a rather different phenomenon. I would call DeNiro’s (and the audience’s) behavior self-righteous and leave it at that.

#12 Comment By nw11 On June 12, 2018 @ 1:12 pm

“He was very well read and made literary, political and philosophical allusions in almost all his shows/episodes.”

Indeed he did. Rather ham-fisted ones: “We’re in Rome, quick go to black and white and have a man walking pensively by a fountain. Fellini-ize it!”

Personally, I can make an allusion to the affair between Count Vronsky and Madame Karenina or discuss the leitmotifs of “Wozzeck” But I like to think I’m still reasonably vacuous 🙂

I don’t mean to say that I think the guy was dumb. One can not have committed political opinions and still be an intelligent person. And I don’t mean to make this about Donald Trump in general (I don’t think he would have had incredibly kind words if he had asked about Reagan in 1987 and Reagan had no history of New York real estate scumbaggery). I just generally think he fit himself into a particular mold, New York, liberal, bohemian, arty, punk rock guy, but wasn’t nearly as wedded to any of it as he might have appeared (or wanted to appear).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think Anthony Bourdain is a model for how devoted idealists can get along with people different from them, which is how Dreher is trying to portray him. I think he was just a guy who was happy to try to fit in wherever he was.

#13 Comment By Steven On June 12, 2018 @ 1:23 pm

@muad’dib:

re: “You could come up with the best ethical, social, economic, foreign policy arguments in the world, and it would not make one single iota of difference”

Are you suggesting that spouting off “F Trump!” is a better use of one’s time? Or, perhaps, lamenting how it’s a waste of your time is a better use of your time?

It wouldn’t hurt (from either an intellectually introspective or rhetorically challenging sense) to try to go through the process of formulating such an articulation. Also, unless you’re content writing off every non-like-minded person as a lost cause (which is a good way to receive the same uncharitable treatment…e.g. I’m inclined to find your statement smugly dismissive), there is the possibility it could actually be beneficial in some cases.

#14 Comment By JimDandy On June 12, 2018 @ 1:49 pm

“Trump has literally bragged about adultery, sexual assault, mocked disabled people, POW’s, praised Nazis, endorsed child molesters, incited mob violence, and stoked racial animus with such frequency it’s become banal.”

You represent the echo chamber populations which believe that because you hate Trump, you can put any sting of negative words together and it will make them true.

“Trump has literally bragged about adultery”

Are you referring to a private conversation that was illegally taped. Here’s a question for you: Do you doubt that Bill Clinton, JFK, MLK, and many other icons of the left also, bragged in private about their sexual conquests?

“sexual assault”

As the great conservative thinker Dave Chappelle said, “Sexual assault? It wasn’t. He said, ‘And when you’re a star, they let you do it.’ That phrase implies consent. I just don’t like the way the media twisted that whole thing. Nobody questioned it.” Are you disputing Dave Chapelle’s word? You aren’t racist, are you?

“mocked disabled people”

Trump mocked a disabled person, but he did not mock his disability. Fake news: “The truth is, Trump has often used those same convulsive gestures to mimic the mannerisms of people, including himself, who are rattled and exasperated.
Why couldn’t the mainstream media look this up? Gavin McInnes of TheRebelMedia.com and Taki’s Magazine did, and he has the video evidence to show that Trump has a history of flailing his arms to make a point. It isn’t something he reserved for Kovaleski.”

“praised Nazis”

Trump said that there were some very fine people among those protesting to keep civil war monuments. He was absolutely correct when he said this. The “torch ceremony” held the night before the protest day involved a couple hundred white nationalists. The vast majority of the pro-monument protestors the next day were not actual nazis, quasi-Nazis, or any kind of Nazis–the majority of those protestors think of Nazis as the bad guys in war movies that show ‘Merica kickin’ butt.

“endorsed child molesters”

Not sure about this one. Did he listen to a Michael Jackson song or something? Did he praise Jerry Seinfeild even though he dated a 17 year old when he was 39?

“incited mob violence”

Is this your way of playing apologist for the violent mobs who attacked innocent Trump supporters, blocked highways, and forced Trump to shut down his speeches? If anyone is inciting mob violence it’s those who are stricken with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

“stoked racial animus”

All lives matter. Deal with it.

#15 Comment By sara On June 12, 2018 @ 2:10 pm

RP_McMurphy says: June 12, 2018 at 2:14 am
Dude, I’m one of the annoying liberals around here and an anti-Trumper 100%. But I don’t believe in dehumanizing people regardless of their political beliefs or really anything else nor do I have the arrogance to believe that I understand the motivations of people next door much less in some place I’ve never been. Your hatred and viciousness is no less disgusting than Trumps. I live in WV and your description would fit a few of the folks here but not very many.

#16 Comment By Jefferson Smith On June 12, 2018 @ 2:22 pm

@VikingLS:

Do you read the other comments liberals write here? It’s assumed because it’s voiced. Engineer Scotty, Rusty, Jesse, Grumpy Realist, Jefferson Smith, Hound of Ulster, and many others have all voiced variations on the theme that people who voted for Trump are ignorant racists.

It’s fine if you want to take issue with specific comments, but this sort of vague mass attribution is unfair nonsense. I do not think and have not said that “people who voted for Trump are ignorant racists.” (There are, of course, some ignorant racists voting in every American election. This has been true for all of US history. That means in most elections they’ve voted for candidates other than Trump. The more immediate issue, to me, is that Trump himself doesn’t say or do much that would discourage people from being ignorant racists in the first place.)

#17 Comment By sara On June 12, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

“How is saying F-Trump demeaning to people in West Virginia? Is it the standing ovation from the hated “elites” that really gets people? “Look at all those people that aren’t of my tribe celebrating the fact that they hate the person we voted for”?”

I agree with this. I’m sick and fuzzy-headed and don’t remember when the Tonys happened vs G7 but there are plenty of days, including when Trump tweeted after the G7, that I feel like there is a raging toddler destroying things and creating chaos on a nearly-every-day basis. Others may have their own opinions on that but this is mine and it is exhausting. DeNiro didn’t say anything about the people that voted for Trump and I do certainly feel that way myself fairly often without it extending ever to Trump voters.

#18 Comment By sara On June 12, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

@ RP_McMurphy

Also, Hillary said what she said about putting coal miners out of business. I KNOW that it was taken out of context and she had a detailed plan on her website for helping Appalachia but she gave her opponents the PERFECT sound bite to kill her hopes in WV. Most folks around here aren’t going to look past that sound bite once they hear it. Hillary made a lot of mistakes and that’s on her.

#19 Comment By connecticut farmer On June 12, 2018 @ 2:30 pm

What the late Mr. Bourdain did is all one can ask for. What DeNiro did is what we’ve come to expect.

#20 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 12, 2018 @ 2:40 pm

You could come up with the best ethical, social, economic, foreign policy arguments in the world, and it would not make one single iota of difference, Trump supporters would still follow him. So why waste your time?

Because, between those who revel in hearing a famous actor shout “F*** Trump!” and the truly devoted supporters who believe Trump can do no wrong, are millions of voters with a variety of conflicted interests and perceptions, a large fraction of whom are not impressed by this kind of clowning. Do you want to change the direction and policy priorities of the federal government, or do you want to feel good about how virtuous you are, “unlike the rest of you squares”?

And I couldn’t care less what any spoiled, insular and (likely) ignorant celebrity has to say about anything.

Hear! Hear! ANY celebrity. About anything. I remember when Jane Fonda joined the anti-war movement. I soon wished she would go back to making Barbarella movies.

How would you have me describe individuals and communities that enable/encourage a man who embodies every vile and reprehensible character trait I can conceive of?

Desperate for better choices. How would you have me describe individuals and communities that enable/encourage a woman who embodies the notion that in the modern age, government can be substituted for the “village” it takes to raise a child?

Give it a rest. It’s a two party system and Trump was running against an opponent that was vocally anti-coal.

You have no right to demand people vote themselves out of what little employment they have.

West Virginia wasn’t settled by people who were all about coal, and for decades, the coal operators were Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of most people outside the elites. But the nation needed coal, and with the efforts of several miners unions to alleviate the worst of what West Virginians were asked to do, it became the new normal to depend on mining coal. So, if it doesn’t suit the needs or desires or capacities of the nation or the world to mine, ship, and use vast quantities of coal, we owe West Virginia at least as comprehensive a plan to make it an economically viably place to live and work as was invested in making it into a state dependent on mining coal.

Hillary wasn’t up to that. Donald wouldn’t even let the thought cross his mind. Making WV a coal state involved building whole towns, uprooting large numbers of independent farms, bringing in company stores (since there were few to no entrepreneurs to supply the massive numbers of miners), bringing in Slovenians, Italians, black sharecroppers from Alabama… It wasn’t spontaneous development.

And until we’re ready to make that kind of investment for the long term, Viking is correct, nobody has a right to expect people to vote themselves out of what little employment they have.

#21 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 12, 2018 @ 3:12 pm

@ RP_McMurphy, who says: June 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm:

“Honestly, these individuals and their ‘communities’ are trash, degenerate cesspools, and they just need to die.”

I’m confused: Are you the RP McMurphy BEFORE the procedure, the RP McMurphy DURING or the RP McMurphy (smothered by Chief Bromden) AFTER the procedure?

#22 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On June 12, 2018 @ 3:24 pm

By the way, has some liberal down here already cracked one of my all-time favorites about bigoted flyover country vs. coastal cities as the “continuation of EuropeTM”? So many comments with a scaramouchesque degree of bravery and a Balanzonesque degree of intellectual profoundness. Too bad if I missed it.

Thing is, the Continuation trademark is indeed valid in America, though it seems increasingly more likely that its owners are not those who think themselves to be.

Europe. Fʁɑːnce. A lefty guy named Manny becomes the president. He enters the Élysée Palace with his cougar, pours himself some Château Haut-Brion, takes it with an olive, tosses the pit of the aforementioned olive at an aide making… er, unauthorized advancements towards the aforementioned cougar and then thinks: To hell with that. And cracks down on immigrants. There you can learn more:

[14]

But let’s leave Manny, his cougar and that poor aide fella be for a moment there and cross the Alps.

Italy. The ancestral homeland of mine and that oaf mentioned in the article above. A left-wing populist party known as il Movimento Cinque Stelle wins big during the national election. Big – but, as it tends to happen in Italy, not enough for Luigi Di Maio to form a government on his own. But he can form it literally with every other party, left or right. All of them are eager to do it. Luigi’s pensively eating one slice of prosciutto di Parma after another and, finally, makes his choice. And the choice is… the right-wing populist Lega of Matteo Salvini. After finishing the plate of ham off, i ragazzi crack down on immigrants. And crack down big.

The PC crowd is melting down like an ice cream in the Sonoran Desert. They fall on the floor, start kicking like children, which they are, and hysterically shrill about alleanza rossonera – “red-n-black alliance”, the one between communists and fascists. But they are already powerless to change anything.

(I may proceed with the story about “populists” taking over Eastern and Central Europe, but everyone knows that already, so it’s a time waste and yesterday’s news).

So, it’s either the European left suddenly became “racist”, or your definition of racism, dear liberals, is as cracked as a pot being used for target practice. And somehow I bet on the second one.

The continuation of Europe? Can’t wait the train to follow the engine. That’s what happens when left-wing “populists” – the only left that can beat the right-wing “populists” – come to power. As you can see, for the PC crowd it’s anything but pretty.

So do us all a favor, dear liberals, and stop calling yourselves “left”. You’re not even close to being that thing by any sane definition. Though you can certainly keep on taking the proverbial gloves off. And we’ll keep on laughing this outfit manipulation out of the proverbial court. When the real, old school left takes you down and drives you by from behind due to your utmost inability to hear the horn, don’t say you were not warned.

#23 Comment By VikingLS On June 12, 2018 @ 3:49 pm

@Jefferson Smith

Okay, I’m sorry if included you in “people who voted for Trump are ignorant racists” if your actual position is “It’s Trump’s fault that people are ignorant racists.”

So sorry.

#24 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 12, 2018 @ 4:03 pm

@ Siarlys Jenkins (at 2:40 p.m.): I have to hand it to you, Mr. Jenkins. This is really very-well-said — excellent:

“…The nation needed coal, and with the efforts of several miners unions to alleviate the worst of what West Virginians were asked to do, it became the new normal to depend on mining coal. So, if it doesn’t suit the needs or desires or capacities of the nation or the world to mine, ship, and use vast quantities of coal, we owe West Virginia at least as comprehensive a plan to make it an economically viable place to live and work as was invested in making it into a state dependent on mining coal.”

#25 Comment By Sis2lis On June 12, 2018 @ 4:30 pm

“Why couldn’t the mainstream media look this up? Gavin McInnes of TheRebelMedia.com and Taki’s Magazine did, and he has the video evidence to show that Trump has a history of flailing his arms to make a point. It isn’t something he reserved for Kovaleski.”

Pure bunk. I have a sister with severe autism, and I know what I saw. It wasn’t the arm waving alone that condemned Trump for mocking the disabled, it was the bent wrists and rigid hands. And it isn’t just me that observed that; one of my sister’s major caregivers went ballistic when she watched the video of Trump mocking the NYT reporter, as did others with people with autism or other developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy in their families. And if Trump used the same movements to mock others, it’s on the low level of those who use “retard” as a pejorative – libtard, anyone? And shame on him, and shame on those who defend him.

#26 Comment By Jefferson Smith On June 12, 2018 @ 6:43 pm

@VikingLS:

Okay, I’m sorry if included you in “people who voted for Trump are ignorant racists” if your actual position is “It’s Trump’s fault that people are ignorant racists.”

An absurd and obviously bad-faith misreading of what I said. I said there have been ignorant racists voting in every election in American history. Hence it’s obviously not Trump’s fault that there are such people. I happen to wish, personally, that the President of the United States would discourage those kinds of attitudes, as previous presidents have done, rather than encourage them. But hey, you’ve got “other priorities,” as Dick Cheney once famously said. OK.

#27 Comment By JimDandy On June 12, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

“Pure bunk. I have a sister with severe autism, and I know what I saw.”

I rest my case. I’m afraid you have terminal Trump Derangement Syndrome. Some of the symptoms include a complete immunity to facts, an addiction to fallacy, and a tendency to make arguments like: “I have a sister with severe autism. I know what I saw.”

BTW, the fact that you have a disabled sister doesn’t mean you get to win the argument even when you’re dead wrong.

#28 Comment By VikingLS On June 12, 2018 @ 7:47 pm

“I happen to wish, personally, that the President of the United States would discourage those kinds of attitudes, as previous presidents have done, rather than encourage them. ”

Okay, so now we’re back to you saying Trump supporters are racists. Why did you bother with claiming otherwise when you believed they were racists all along?

#29 Comment By muad’dib On June 12, 2018 @ 9:43 pm

Because, between those who revel in hearing a famous actor shout “F*** Trump!” and the truly devoted supporters who believe Trump can do no wrong, are millions of voters with a variety of conflicted interests and perceptions, a large fraction of whom are not impressed by this kind of clowning. Do you want to change the direction and policy priorities of the federal government, or do you want to feel good about how virtuous you are, “unlike the rest of you squares”?

No, there aren’t…

The last elections were won by the party that did the best job turning out it’s base, and so will the next ones. Trump voters will not turn on Trump or the Republican party until their wallet takes a beating, given enough time their wallets will take a beating…

It took Shrub a destroyed WTC, two failed wars, a drowning city and an economic crisis to get his voters to either stay home or change their vote. I don’t expect Trump voters to be any different.

#30 Comment By Elijah On June 13, 2018 @ 8:49 am

“You could come up with the best ethical, social, economic, foreign policy arguments in the world, and it would not make one single iota of difference, Trump supporters would still follow him. So why waste your time?”

You are making an error in conflating Trump supporters (you may be right about them) with the much larger group we might call Trump voters. The latter are very much open to those ideas. They are not the same.

#31 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 13, 2018 @ 10:58 am

But hey, you’ve got “other priorities,” as Dick Cheney once famously said. OK.

That’s a bit out of context. I’m not aware that Viking has been evading military service while cheerleading for other people’s sons to die in pointless overseas conflicts.

#32 Comment By cka2nd On June 13, 2018 @ 12:45 pm

nw11 says: “One can not have committed political opinions and still be an intelligent person.”

Please tell me that was a typo and “not” should have been omitted.

VikingLS says: “Okay, so now we’re back to you saying Trump supporters are racists.”

SOME Trump supporters ARE racist, VikingLS. Mr. Smith is not claiming that all of them are, and he is perhaps remembering how John McCain and Rudy Giuliani (LOOOONG ago, running for mayor of New York) honorably handled such folks in past campaigns.

#33 Comment By LouB On June 13, 2018 @ 2:15 pm

“This is so perfect. A New York-based movie star denounces Donald Trump in his introduction for a blue-collar troubadour whose stories about the Working Man™ are being performed for Manhattan audiences who pay close to a thousand dollars a ticket to hear them.”

In Chicago, at the downtown Auditorium Theatre, peanut gallery tickets for Neil Young on 6-30 are going for a minimum of $121.00

Yes, the Heart of Gold just keeps raking it in even in the deepening twilight of a long career.

The aging boomer children just can’t get enough of hearing their idols rail against the injustice of the machine.
( and are all too willing to shell out their shekels to pay for it )

Why should Broadway be any different?

#34 Comment By Steven On June 13, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

cka2nd,

“SOME Trump supporters ARE racist, VikingLS.”

That’s true, but it’s also a true statement for pretty much any public figure’s supporters. There are some bad apples in almost every lot.

It’s an unremarkable observation on its own, though, so to broach the observation would imply a certain underlying remarkableness about it. (and to be clear: I don’t think you’re doing this; I think you’re offering analysis of an already-started conversation)

Do you think there there are a remarkable number of racists amongst Trump’s supporters? I tend to think the people who raise that idea must feel that there are, unless they’re just trying to be provocatively banal. I get the impression Jefferson Smith seems to think there are, and he is also on the record as suggesting that Trump encourages that.

I don’t know that VikingLS’s reading of JS is as charitable as it could be, but I don’t think his interpretation necessarily springs from bad-faith, either. JS’s statements strike me as a little coy, as well.

#35 Comment By Jefferson Smith On June 13, 2018 @ 3:42 pm

@VikingLS:

Okay, so now we’re back to you saying Trump supporters are racists. Why did you bother with claiming otherwise when you believed they were racists all along?

Because I don’t believe that. Here, maybe if I break it down into little bite-sized pieces, that will help. What I believe is:

1. By far, most people who voted for Trump against HRC voted for him because they usually vote for Republicans, and he was the Republican nominee.

2. All elections ever held in America have included some voters who were ignorant racists.

3. That includes 2016. (But also 1916, 1816, and every other election, during most of which Trump was not even alive.)

4. Some of those ignorant racist voters, in 2016, voted for Trump. In 2012, some voted for Romney. Heck, in 2008 and 2012, some no doubt even voted for Obama, although probably relatively fewer, for obvious reasons. Ignorant racists, like other voters, will likely have various, cross-cutting political motives.

5. As a candidate and as president, Trump says and does things that could well be encouraging to ignorant racists. These have been well chronicled. There was the line about Mexicans being rapists (“but some are good people”), there was the knock against an American-born judge as biased because he was “Mexican” (he was from Indiana), there was calling a Latina beauty contestant “Miss Housekeeping,” there was his attempt to make excuses for the Charlottesville neo-Nazis, and so forth.

6. Let’s stipulate, for argument’s sake, the following three points:

(A) Each of these comments and actions can be explained away or given some more innocent reading. None proves that Trump himself is racist.

(B) Trump’s own political aims, at any rate, are more accurately characterized by some other term, like “ethnonationalist.” His politics overlap with but are clearly also quite different from those of, say, David Duke or George Wallace.

(C) Even if these public stylings of Trump’s do attract or appeal to some racists, they do not make people racists, or force people to be racists (or even ethnonationalists). In general, the cause and effect is most likely the other way. Again, the phenomenon of ignorant racists in the American electorate long, long predates Trump.

7. Nonetheless, and all that said, it would be really swell, I think, if the President of the United States spoke for and to what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature,” instead of carrying on the way Trump does, at least some of which is likely to be heard and received sympathetically by ignorant racists and taken as a signal that the president is, at some level, on their side. I just find that to be kind of a shame.

I mean, Trump doesn’t even have to be Lincoln; it doesn’t have to be a matter of grand speeches, or emotional gestures like Obama’s eulogy at the Charleston church. He could take the nobler path in his own Trumpian way: He likes to tweet out insults, for instance, so maybe he could occasionally tweet something insulting about racists. (Or the ignorant.) I just think it’s a pity that he seems to have no interest in appealing to Americans’ better angels. I mean, he’s their president; that should be one of the things a good president tries to do.

#36 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On June 13, 2018 @ 3:54 pm

Update on what I wrote: the members of the happy Mediterranean family keep on kicking illegal immigrants’ vessels at each other’s direction, simultaneously accusing the rest of being merciless rapscallions, unwilling to show any human compassion and let the Love Win (TM).

Manny (to Italians): “Your actions are vomitable!” (After doing exactly the same.)

Italians (to Manny): “Apologize, or else!” (Cancel their PM’s visit to France.)

The Maltese: [Eating popcorn]

Spaniards: Oh, snap! They’re dumping it on us!

This is how the “promised land of multiculturalism” really looks like. L’accoglienza is over for good.

#37 Comment By VikingLS On June 13, 2018 @ 6:03 pm

@Jefferson Smith

Okay, so if you believe all that, why have you been silent towards OTHER liberals who have argued that all Trump supporters are racists? Accusing people of racism is a pretty serious accusation in this society.

It seems to me that you had a moral obligation to disagree with them, yet you did not.

#38 Comment By Jefferson Smith On June 13, 2018 @ 10:59 pm

@Viking: I have gone back and forth at great length with my left-liberal friends over the issue of Trumpism and what’s behind it, including the specific question of racism (or not) among his supporters. It burned up the e-mail servers especially in the weeks and months following his election. At that time I wasn’t contributing here. But we all have limited time and “bandwidth.” You could as well ask why Rod Dreher blogs about some kid wearing a rainbow shirt, or about what some German Cardinal recently said, but hasn’t blogged about, say, the continuing deadly attacks on LGBT people, of which there have been several this year (including a widely reported murder in Baton Rouge), or about the FBI and comparable British government reports that have shown increases in hate crimes in both the US and the UK over the past couple of years. Doesn’t he care to put such information before his conservative readers, and maybe correct their misperceptions? For that matter, why don’t you ever comment on this? We all have to choose the issues where we think and hope we have the most useful insights, and then go back to our families and our day jobs, which don’t disappear just because there’s still more to be said about something.

#39 Comment By Jefferson Smith On June 13, 2018 @ 11:24 pm

Also, Viking, in general I’m inclined to put my limited efforts into defending or speaking up for people I think are vulnerable rather than those who are already well-defended. That’s why on this thread, for instance, I have not bothered to defend the Hollywood / Broadway glitterati, who already have a big megaphone. It’s also why in my comments here, I’ve generally been a well-wisher to the BenOp and the advocates for religious liberty — not in the blanket way that some on the right might like, but certainly way more so than many or most on the left would be.

But Trump doesn’t need that kind of help from me; he obviously has plenty of defenders already, plus the biggest megaphone of all. And while some of his voters are genuinely struggling, my ideas about what would actually help them are vastly different from his, and probably from yours. If I voice them here, as I have occasionally done when the discussion at hand called for it, they would probably sound to you just like further left-liberalism rather than resistance to it.

#40 Comment By JonF On June 14, 2018 @ 10:55 am

Re: The last elections were won by the party that did the best job turning out it’s base,

Actually, no. The GOP base is not big enough to win elections. Trump won because, mainly in three specific states, he managed to capture a small number of votes from persuadable non-base voters– while at the same time Hillary behaved with such singular self-entitled cluelessness that some people who might have been persuaded to vote for her were put off enough to stay home.

#41 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 14, 2018 @ 2:46 pm

Heck, in 2008 and 2012, some no doubt even voted for Obama, although probably relatively fewer, for obvious reasons. Ignorant racists, like other voters, will likely have various, cross-cutting political motives.

That line “We’re voting for the n****r” was not a made-up comedy line. Union canvassers in Pennsylvania’s rust belt actually encountered it. At least once from a woman who had to ask her husband ‘Dear, some people from the union are here. They want to know how we’re going to vote.’

#42 Comment By Jefferson Smith On June 14, 2018 @ 5:53 pm

That line “We’re voting for the n****r” was not a made-up comedy line.

Right, I was thinking about that too. You could vote for Obama — especially in ’08 — as the “change” or “outsider” or “anti-establishment” candidate even if generally had no use for black people. Which, in its own way, is real social progress.

#43 Comment By Jefferson Smith On June 14, 2018 @ 5:53 pm

erratum: “….even if generally YOU had no use for black people.”

#44 Comment By S D Joe On June 16, 2018 @ 8:48 am

I’m quite proud to be both a Trump voter AND a “Bannonite”. I also valued Bourdain, who may have been left-leaning but was a voice worth hearing…. and listening to. (Not always the same thing.)

It’s just barely possible that the chattering classes in this country, who I refer to as parlor-pinks and small-c Communists, might one day wake up and understand that shrieking “Hitler” at people because of their politics, their conservatism – and above all, their refusal to curtsey before people who despise them, and don’t mind jeering at them from their privileged perches – is less a case of throwing rotten fruit and eggs and more a case of throwing boomerangs. If 2016 didn’t teach them that, 2020 will certainly act as a harsh reminder.