Parade of the SS Guard, the Nazi elite, at a party rally in Nuremberg in the late 1930s. (Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Matti Friedman: We Misunderstood the Nazis. Plus...

Parenting advice for Bari and Nellie. Why we get the social media we deserve. MAGA for the masses. And more.

On today’s Front Page from The Free Press: Has Donald Trump finally learned the first lesson of presidential politics? Why can we no longer Be Real? Can someone take the hot takes out of horror movies? Plus: Bari and Nellie get parenting advice from friends and family on Honestly. 

But first, our lead story. 

Yesterday, a Dutch pro-Israel organization posted an image showing the Anne Frank statue in Amsterdam painted with one word, in red: GAZA. You’d struggle to find a clearer example of the paradox at the heart of Matti Friedman’s column today: Holocaust museums, books, and movies are ubiquitous, yet we live in a time of ferocious animosity toward the very same people who were its victims. Why?

Here’s Matti:

It has now been nearly 80 years since the Holocaust, and generations of kids across the West have been taught terms like Zyklon B and crematoria. Films like Schindler’s List have been earnestly canonized. Countless Holocaust museums have been built at a cost of billions of dollars. 

Yet never since the Holocaust have anti-Jewish ideologies been so potent, so close to the surface, or so dangerous. 

Readers with access to shelves of Auschwitz books find themselves, since last October 7, accustomed to mass rallies against the Jewish state and its supporters; to elite colleges teaching that the world is afflicted by a malevolent force called Zionism; and to mobs outside synagogues and Jewish-owned restaurants in cities like Toronto and Los Angeles. 

One of the victors in French elections this week was the leftist leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has called French Jews and their communal organizations “aggressive,” “arrogant,” and “sectarian,” and once worked a mention of Jewish deicide into an ordinary TV interview. Across the Channel, the British election bestowed a seat upon Jeremy Corbyn, who called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”; he’ll be joined in parliament by a politician from Yorkshire calling for a boycott of “every brand and every product that has been supporting Israel and Zionism from the beginning of time.”

Learning about the Nazis was supposed to prevent any of this from recurring, or at least help us understand when it did. Neither has happened. 

Read on for more on why our Holocaust stories failed.

Bari and Nellie Are Having a Second Baby—and They Have Questions! 

As some of you know, Bari and Nellie are having another baby—any moment now—maybe even by the time you read these very words! Going from one kid to two is no small challenge, so hoping to calm their nerves, they appeared together on Honestly and asked some of their favorite parents (including Bari’s) for advice. Here are some of the best takeaways from their conversation:

Mom-of-six Bethany Mandel on how to handle tantrums:

In my house you have to treat everyone around you with love, kindness, and respect. And if that’s not happening, I will not countenance it. I once had a kid fall on the floor screaming and crying in Trader Joe’s, and I walked away from her. I knew where she was. I could hear her. I was in the aisle over. I know where she is, but she will not be getting what she wants now. That’s it. I’m done. She can meet me at the end of this aisle.

Dad-of-four Elon Gold on how to protect your marriage as your family expands:

Fun is the key. The other important word is Shabbat. The fact that we have one day a week, every week, with no phones, no driving, no TV, no Netflix, no streaming, no nothing. I call it connecting by disconnecting. We are connecting and we’re having fun and we’re talking and we’re laughing and we’re eating and we’re taking walks. You don’t need a trip to Europe, you don’t need the money, you don’t need anything but each other.

Mary Katharine Ham—who has three daughters and a son—on how to raise a boy in a household of girls:

As a mom, you have to train yourself to let them go out on a limb, sometimes literally. For boys, that can be very important. So I like to work on that, to let him climb structures and get out of my reach a bit, within safe parameters. When you have boys, your tolerance for a bit of chaos probably needs to go up in order for them to do the things that they need to do to healthily express themselves.

Bari’s dad Lou on his favorite parenting book:

When you were little, I had a series of women that came into my store, and their kids were all unbelievably well-behaved, and I said, “Why are your kids so great?” And one woman said, “I have a wooden spoon in my purse.”

I soon learned this was from Dr. Dobson’s book Dare to Discipline, which basically says a child cannot push off into the lake from a moving dock. They need a firm dock in order to shove off. And so, your mother and I were that firm dock so you guys could shove off from.

Click below to listen to the full episode on Honestly or read here for an edited excerpt of more great parenting wisdom. 

  1. Joe Biden won a battle—if not the war—for his political survival on the Hill yesterday, after a two-hour meeting of Democratic senators was “lopsided” in favor of the president staying in the race. “We’re ridin’ with Biden,” said Rep. James Clyburn. Meanwhile, Senator John Fetterman suggested Biden take a leaf out of his opponent’s book. “Maybe we can persuade him to bang a porn star,” said the always eloquent Pennsylvania lawmaker. (The Hill

  2. A new poll finds that the Democrat pairing with the best chance of beating Donald Trump is. . . Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris. Clinton had a two-point lead on Trump in the survey—catnip to both Hillary fans and Pizzagate conspiracy theorists. Clinton is not being considered as a candidate, but then maybe that’s exactly what they want you to think. (New York Post)

  3. Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips famously challenged Biden for the Democratic nomination, saying the president was too old for office. When Bari texted him after the debate, asking him for comment, he replied: “Gandhi said to speak only when it improves upon the silence.” Well, almost two weeks later, Phillips is ready to improve upon the silence. “If this has been vindication, vindication has never been so unfulfilling,” he said yesterday. (Politico

  4. Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, said Tuesday that the Iranian government has been providing financial support for the anti-Israel demonstrations on American college campuses since October 7. “We have observed actors ties [sic] to Iran’s government posing as activists online, seeking to encourage protests, and even providing financial support to protesters,” she said. (National Review)

  5. On Monday evening Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician, released a letter explaining the repeated visits to the White House by Walter Reed neurologist Dr. Kevin Cannard. He stated that Cannard had office hours at the White House Medical Unit and was seeing senior staff and other officials. If the explanation was so banal, why did Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refuse to give any further details about Cannard’s visits to the White House during Monday’s press briefing? (CBS)

  6. Ashish Jha, who was Joe Biden’s White House Covid czar, now says that “in the long run” vaccine mandates “bred a lot of distrust and were harmful.” But he also maintains they saved a lot of lives. That’s wrong, argues Vinay Prasad. (Vinay Prasad’s Observations and Thoughts)

  7. A $1 billion donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies to Johns Hopkins University means medical school will be completely free for the majority of students. Anyone from families earning less than $300,000 will be eligible for the gift. Memo to any billionaires reading: more of this kind of philanthropy, and less for hustles like Ibram Kendi’s anti-racism center. (CNN

  8. World leaders are assembling in Washington, D.C., for a NATO summit that marks 75 years of the defense pact. There’ll be a new British prime minister there, and Joe Biden’s big boy press conference. This essay by Caitlin Flanagan, published last month, on “the rotary phone of geopolitical alliances” is a better read than any dreary preview of the stage-managed set piece. (The Atlantic

  9. This week, the late Canadian writer Alice Munro’s daughter wrote about how she was molested by her stepfather when she was nine, but her mother decided to stay with him. The news has Munro fans asking: How could she have behaved so callously toward her daughter? It also has them revisiting a short story written by Munro shortly after the author learned of the abuse. (Slate

  10. Financial struggles could be a sign of dementia. New research analyzing credit score reports and Medicare data finds that one year prior to diagnosis, average credit card debt increases by more than 50 percent. (Fortune

In 2019, BeReal was launched as a social media platform to counter the artificiality of Instagram. On the app, users are given two minutes’ warning to post a shot of themselves and their surroundings, limiting their ability to present the most flattering version of their lives. And lurking is discouraged: you can see other people’s posts only if you yourself have posted that day. It had its moment in the sun, but then the fad passed. Now the app has been sold at a much lower valuation than it would have earned in its heyday, and its days may be numbered. 

This news came as a great disappointment to Free Press intern Jonas Du, an avid BeRealer (is that what they’re called?), who sees the app’s demise as a disappointing truth about what we really want from these platforms. Read Jonas on the fall of BeReal and why, as he puts it, “we get the social media we deserve.” 

→ MAGA for the masses: For the last eight years, Donald Trump has ignored a basic rule of politics: always expand your base and appeal to as many supporters as possible. Well, if the new Republican Party platform is any indication, Trump is finally taking this conventional advice about elections. 

The new document, out this week, is far briefer than past platforms and reads like MAGA for the masses. It’s dedicated to the “forgotten men and women of America.” Trump has used the phrase since 2016, but it was made famous after a 1932 radio speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 

As one might expect, the document emphasizes immigration, Trump’s signature issue. And in some cases the language is extreme. For example, in the all-caps section at the end of the platform’s preamble, it promises to “STOP THE MIGRANT INVASION” and to “CARRY OUT THE LARGEST DEPORTATION OPERATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY.” 

While in 2016 those views would have sounded radical and dangerous, the country has since moved closer to Trump on the issue. An Economist/YouGov poll from June, for example, found that only 29 percent of registered voters approved of President Biden’s immigration policy, with 64 percent disapproving. That poll also found that 29 percent of registered Democrats disapproved of Biden’s immigration policy. 

The Trump GOP platform also leans into other popular issues. It says the Republican Party opposes men playing in women’s sports, a position in sharp contrast to Democrats, who have championed trans rights. Here too, Trump’s party is playing the percentages. A 2023 Gallup poll found that 69 percent of Americans say transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in sports only against other athletes of their same birth sex. 

Other parts of the platform clearly show an effort to expand the MAGA base. Consider its promise to cut taxes for workers and not to tax tips, an important issue for the restaurant industry. 

And after Democrats successfully framed the Republican pro-life position as extreme and as opposed to any and all abortions—even procedures that would save the mother’s life—Trump’s new platform softens some of these more restrictive policies. After trumpeting the fall of Roe v. Wade in 2022, it continues, “After 51 years, because of us, that power has been given to the States and to a vote of the People. We will oppose Late Term Abortion, while supporting mothers and policies that advance Prenatal Care, access to Birth Control, and IVF (fertility treatments).” 

Trump’s new platform also provides an alternative governing plan to the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025—a far more conservative agenda that Democrats have sought to tie to Trump. That document, for example, called for slashing much of the administrative state and the eventual abolition of the Education Department. 

On July 5, Trump posted his disdain for the project on Truth Social. “I have no idea who is behind it,” he wrote. “I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal.” 

Now, when reporters ask the Trump campaign about its governing agenda, he can point them to the 16-page Republican platform instead of denying any connection to the Heritage Foundation’s 922-page wishcasting document

And, in this respect, you could say that Trump has made political platforms brief again. —Eli Lake

→ The rot at Columbia: Front Page readers will recall the story of the derogatory messages about Jewish students sent by Columbia administrators to one another on a group text. The college has reassigned three of the administrators embroiled in the scandal and has allowed one to remain in his post. Here’s Free Press intern and Columbia student Jonas Du discussing the case on Fox & Friends yesterday: 

→ Take the hot takes out of horror: Friday night, I wasted the evening on MaXXXine, the final installment of Ti West’s slasher horror trilogy. It was bad enough that I whispered, “Oh brother, not this,” to my husband. Bad enough that nobody in the movie theater even shushed me, even after the fourth time I did it. 

Set in Hollywood in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanic Panic, MaXXXine’s elevator pitch is this: What if the Satanists were real, and led by a televangelist? Its point: the scariest thing about the 1980s was the rise of the Moral Majority. The film demonizes the Christian right in the most extreme and ham-fisted way.

Given the story is about a coked-up porn star trying to break into the mainstream movie industry after murdering a serial killer in self-defense, it’s strange this movie needs to make a political statement at all. A horror film like this should not attempt to say anything profound about society, but alas, this is the world its distributor, A24, has given us.

I blame this on the success of another A24 film, The Witch (2015), Robert Eggers’ folk horror film about a young Puritan woman who rejects the rigid patriarchal society she was raised in to join a coven so she can “live deliciously.” It was a good movie, and whatever point Eggers was trying to make about society was subtle. Unfortunately, since then, the film industry has bombarded us with artsy horror films trying to do the same thing. That is, comment deftly on the world—and failing.

Horror movies are not supposed to be a vehicle for hot takes. There was Midsommar (2019), a deranged flick obviously about MeToo, which ends with the protagonist ritually sacrificing her shitty boyfriend in a neo-pagan Swedish commune. The worst was The Menu (2022), a horror-comedy that’s ostensibly about a murderous chef but actually a class film about snobby elites and the subjugation of the working class. If the viewer is afraid, it is of being beaten over—and over and over—the head with that point, for the entire 107-minute runtime.

However, we shouldn’t forget Barbarian (2022), about an Airbnb occupied by a serial killer and his inbred monster daughter. Of course, the real monster is America, for abandoning Detroit, but also maybe gentrification, and landlords.

When I got to the movie theater on Friday, I just wanted to be frightened. Please, Hollywood. Make horror movies scary again—or don’t make them at all.
River Page

Eve recommends Kindly Inquisitors by Jonathan Rauch: Although it’s 30 years old, the book speaks so clearly to today’s loss of old-fashioned liberalism. There is no right not to be offended, nor should there be! 

Jordan recommends James by Percival Everett: It’s the story of Huckleberry Finn as told by his enslaved raft partner, Jim. With a touch of humor, James paints a very different picture of their journey—and of being enslaved—with quite the surprising ending. James himself turns out to be an erudite and perceptive man, much different from Twain’s portrayal. Read it, enjoy it, learn from it!

What do you recommend? Let us know!

Oliver Wiseman is a writer and editor for The Free Press. Follow him on X @ollywiseman

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