TGIF. Let’s get to the news.
→ Inflation slows as rates keep rising: The Federal Reserve has increased rates ten times in a little over a year, and for ten months in a row now, inflation has been slowing down. I’m no economist (I have to say that but know that in my heart and mind, I absolutely am an economist), but this. . . is good? Things seem good, right?
→ Trump’s town hall: There he was, back in form on CNN, which in turn was back with a nice ratings boost, with 3.3 million people tuning in. You can watch the highlights here. The main critique people have is with the crowd, a group of Republican voters who cheered Trump and jeered the moderator, Kaitlan Collins. Me, I thought everyone did a great job of playing their roles. Trump got in one of his old but still alarming digs, calling Collins “a nasty person,” and had a good stunt of pulling out a sheet of paper from his jacket and reading his January 5 and January 6 tweets and Truth Social truths (?) to show that he had encouraged peace. Collins, who wore a white suit and looked fabulous, is about to get the 9 p.m. anchor slot on CNN, while her former bully Don Lemon is out of a job, which has got to be satisfying. She may be the Daily Caller’s most successful alum. With politicians and anchors like these, who needs Bravo?
We look forward to an election season of Trump vs. Collins, him lobbing increasingly bizarre insults at her as onlookers clap, her star and paycheck rising. The suits will only get brighter, and so will the teeth. The soundstage will sound more like the Colosseum each week. D.C. is a beautiful place.
→ Elon Musk, Tucker Carlson, and. . . Don Lemon? Tucker Carlson plans to relaunch his show directly onto Twitter. Elon Musk says that the company didn’t strike any kind of deal with the conservative firebrand, and then invited Don Lemon to create a show on Twitter too. It’s an interesting idea, especially as Musk weaves payments into Twitter. Why can’t premium TV play right on the platform? An idea: Don and Tuck do a show together. Genuinely, I’d pay infinite money to watch them fight every night. Like Hannity & Colmes (oh god, we were so young, so naive) on acid. In other notes: Musk seems to have tapped NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino to be the new CEO.
→ The year is on pace to be the worst ever for mass shootings: It’s a grim new milestone. The stories of these mass shootings are getting so common that I’m, for the first time, thinking for a second in crowded places like. . . how would we escape from The Grove? The Cheesecake Factory seems dangerous, right? I’m truly sick of the left-right battle here. The reality is: it’s too many guns and it’s mental illness. Both things are clearly true, and debating which one is more true is getting us nowhere. In fact, it’s making things worse.
This old FBI “how to survive a mass shooting” video is going viral again. It’s cheesy and weird, but this is the survival course we deserve:
The venture capitalist Paul Graham resurfaced this chart. Bring back mental institutions and put me in one.
→ Speaking of ways I don’t want to die: The movement to actually enforce traffic laws is gaining steam. Here’s The Washington Post appearing to agree that terrible drivers with tons of tickets shouldn’t be on the road. Meanwhile, of course, Congress has been calling any traffic law enforcement racism.
→ George Santos arrested! George Santos, the Republican congressman from New York, also known as the gift that keeps on giving, was charged with 13 federal crimes. Charges like lying to his donors and Congress, stealing from his campaign, and also collecting unemployment checks when he was employed-ish, I guess. (Is being in Congress really a job?) He pleaded not guilty and was released on a $500,000 bond, and I’m very curious what fake name he used to sign that check.
My main question remains: Who bankrolled Kitara? What deranged Republican donor decided George Santos was his guy? Confess it to us in the comments.
Anyway, spare a thought for our sweet Kitara Ravache, Our Congressman of Lip Filler and Botox, plucked from scammer obscurity, sent to Congress, now in trouble with the law. The funniest part is even the FBI informants in his office have a little of the Santos flare for drama, proving again and again that Veep was a documentary:
This office makes Fyre Festival seem like Sun Valley.
→ Americans to Egyptians: We are the race scientists here: In a new Netflix documentary, Cleopatra is portrayed as black, and Egyptian historians and government officials are upset about it.
Well, Egypt, here’s how it went. American film majors looked at Egypt and saw that it’s on the continent of Africa. That’s all we need to know!
The trouble is, Africa contains multitudes and Egyptian culture is quite distinct. (Doesn’t make sense.) And in fact, Egyptians can be pretty racist. (Impossible!) So the Egyptian state media documentary channel, Al Wathaeqya, has vowed to make their own Cleopatra documentary with their own representation of her pigmentation.
The New York Times piece on the Egyptian people’s indignation cites a historian’s argument that “although evidence of her ancestry and physical attributes are inconclusive, Cleopatra was culturally Black.” What does it mean to be culturally black, you might ask? Well, the historian gets into those weeds, namely that Cleopatra was “part of a culture and history that has known oppression and triumph, exploitation and survival.” There you go, that clears it up.
It so happens that “culturally lesbian” is how I identify all powerful women in history. Even if they weren’t technically lesbians, they were culturally lesbian. And you know exactly what I mean.
→ How long must we suffer the Bud Light fallout? How long must we be here? Bud Light sales are down 23 percent. Fine. But Bud Light discourse is up 10,000 percent week over week. The whole culture war has moved to that blighted can. We must live in a world with headlines like this one from Bon Appétit: “Hey Bud Light Boycotters, Protesting Beer Is Actually Really Gay.” And this one from National Review: “Is Anthropologie the Next Bud Light?”
Please, no. Don’t bring Anthropologie into this. Leave the white ladies to enjoy their paisley bedding and earthen mugs. Anthropologie is all the Karens have left.
→ Wanting safe subways is “bourgeois”: We have an Englishman staying with us right now, and it’s funny talking to someone from a country where liberals want, fight for, and actually expect clean, safe subways and clean, safe parks. In England and much of Europe, these aren’t controversial goals. Public transit is a point of pride, a brilliant use of public funds. Here in the US of A, for some godforsaken reason, the good liberals who run cities have decided that wanting safe subways and clean, fentanyl-free parks is right-wing and lame. Which leads us to Emma Vigeland, an influential leftist media personality, co-host of The Majority Report, a perfect representative of the movement, so here’s her full quote this week:
“I was hit, at one point, sitting on the subway by a man who was having a mental health episode. . . hit me in the face and body and it was jarring, right?” Vigeland says. “Every one of us who’s taken public transit has had this kind of situation happen. . . . And I was scared, I was hit. But my fear is not the primary object of what we should be focusing on right now; it’s the fact that this person is in pain. The politics of dehumanization privileges the bourgeois concern of people’s immediate discomfort in this narrow, narrow instance.”
Like me, Emma went to fancy private schools before she became a socialist and I became. . . whatever this is. Anyway, I love her private school-meets-American-socialism dig at the people who want safe subways: She calls it “bridge-and-tunneler anti-homeless hysteria.” Emma, I agree there are some bridge-and-tunnel vibes going on in the subway conversation. Like ugh, all these women who don’t want to be punched in the face, wandering around with ugly purses. It’s jarring!
→ RIP the Metaverse: I recently tried to enter the Metaverse, to see what’s what at the Metaverse bars. It was honestly too confusing to even login. Then I read an obituary to Facebook’s Metaverse idea in Business Insider and nothing has made more sense. Basically: Facebook had a vision that the future of social media was all of us wearing headsets and hanging out virtually. People are actually pretty happy with flat phone screens. All told, Zuckerberg put about $24 billion into the effort. One great tidbit: Decentraland, a $1.3 billion “ecosystem” for people to spend time in the Metaverse, had a reported 38 daily active users. America is the land of big risks, and we can’t celebrate the wins without also celebrating the losses, which is what I tell myself when I try on my jeans from college.