White Freedom

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Kanye West’s ignorance and Uncle-Tom freedom:

In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of Trump, had never heard of the travel ban. “He don’t know the things that we know because he’s removed himself from society to a point where it don’t reach him,” T.I. said. West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, pussy grabbers, and fuck you anyway, bitch; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.

Read Coates’s entire criticism on The Atlantic.

Dean Butler Responds to Recent Allegations

Dean Henry N. Butler:

Any accusation that the Federalist Society has had undue influence on the law school is unfounded. While we are pleased to receive recommendations from many sources, decisions on faculty hiring and student admissions and scholarships are independent and strictly the purview of the law school’s faculty and administrative leadership.

Read his complete response at the Law School website.


Matthew Barakat writes for AP:

The newly released emails are heavily redacted and do not expose the donor, but they do show that Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the conservative Federalist Society, is described as a representative of the donor.

Emails between Leo and the Mason law school’s dean, Henry Butler, show Leo inquiring on behalf of law school applicants and expressing approval of faculty hires.

In one email, Butler informs Leo of a unanimous faculty vote in favor of hiring a new member of the law school faculty, to which Leo replies “Great!” The faculty member later went on leave to join the Trump administration.

In a 2015 email, Leo informs Butler about a student prospect who has been working at RAGA, the Republican Attorney General Association, and who is looking to apply to Mason’s law school. Leo asks if Butler will meet the prospect and Butler replies, “Absolutley! (sic) I will work with the admissions office to make sure we get together.”

I have sold my soul to the devil. Even though I don’t share its conservative view, I am doing fine as an employee. I just don’t bring up politics at work.

Nhồi sọ

Hôm nọ xem Facebook thấy clip của một bé gái trình bày “Anh là ai” của Việt Khang. Tuy phát âm khá ngọng nghịu (vì bé sinh ra ở Mỹ) nhưng hát rất mảnh lực trong chiếc áo dài vàng ba sọc đỏ. Mẹ của cháu là bạn học cùng trường trung học với tôi. Định viết comment vài câu nhưng không muốn gây chuyện hoặc chia rẽ “dòng máu anh hùng.”

Lúc còn ở trung học, mẹ cháu mới đặt chân đến Mỹ. Lúc đó em chắc 18 hoặc 19 tuổi. Với mái tóc ngắn duyên dáng và mình dây nên có rất nhiều anh muốn theo. Trong đó có một đứa bạn chơi chung trong nhóm. Thằng này chịu khó mỗi ngày lái xe đến tận nhà đưa đón em đi học. Từ lúc hai đứa cập nhau chúng tôi thường đi chơi chung sau giờ học. Vì cô ta hơi nhỏng nhẻo nên hay bị chúng tôi chọc. Sau trung học tôi không biết hai đứa sao lại chia tay. Tôi cũng khong6 hỏi.

Giờ gặp lại trên Facebook em đã có chồng và hai con. Thấy em post lên nhiều vấn đề chống cộng. Chắc em đã từng trải qua những gì đã xẩy ra lúc còn ở Việt Nam nên có cái nhìn như thế. Lúc tôi đi Mỹ chỉ 11 tuổi nên không biết gì cả. Sau này qua Mỹ càng nghe nhiều về những việc chống cộng tôi càng hoài nghi. Như việc càng bảo tôi tin Chúa tôi càng không tin. Tôi muốn mình tự tìm hiểu những vấn đề ấy cho bản thân.

Mỗi một người có một lý tưởng riêng. Chống cộng hoặc tin Chúa là do tự mỗi người quyết định. Tôi chỉ mong cháu bé được tự quyết định lấy cho bản thân mình mà không bị cha mẹ hoặc bất cứ ai nhồi sọ.

Linh viết đúng với tâm trạng và lối suy nghĩ của tôi về gánh nặng của những đứa con Việt sống ở Mỹ. Chúng ta cần không nên trút hết những gánh nặng đó lên tụi nhỏ. Tụi nó sinh ra và lớn lên trên mảnh đất tự do hoà bình thì biết gì về chiến tranh của bốn mươi mấy năm trước.

The Uncomfortable Truth

Adam Conover on “Michelle Wolf Did What Comedians Are Supposed to Do”:

Comedy has no rules, per se. But in my 15 years of writing and performing, I’ve come up with a few guidelines that I find helpful:

  1. Be funny.
  2. Tell the truth.
  3. Make people in power uncomfortable.

By that math, in her performance at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday night in Washington, Michelle Wolf did exactly what a great comic is supposed to do. She made the crowd of assembled journalists, politicians and guests laugh; she made them squirm; and she made them gasp in astonishment (and yes, a little delight) when a sharp sliver of the truth cut a little closer to the bone than they were expecting.

I don’t know it for a fact, but I know it is true that Wolf received so many negative criticisms because she’s a woman who happens to be damn good at roasting politicians. From pussy-ass President to ball-less Speaker of the House to neck-circumcised Republican Majority Leader, she did not hold back.

Exposing the Obscenity of the Trump Era

Masha Gessen:

Wolf’s routine burst the bubbles of civility and performance, and of the separation of media and comedy. It plunged the attendees into the reality that is, in the Trump era, the stuff of comedy. Through her obscene humor, Wolf exposed the obscenity of the fictions—and the fundamental unfunniness of it all. Her last line, the most shocking of her entire monologue, bears repeating: Flint still doesn’t have clean water.

Gessen’s assessment of Wolf’s performance is spot on.

Roast ’Em Up

Michelle Wolf was killing it at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Her roasts were spot on. They sparked controversial because they stung like a motherfucker. What she delivered was the meticulous art of roasting. If you find her jokes offensive, you just have a brittle-ass soul. Props to Michelle. You did it, my sister.

Rod Rosenstein’s the Art of Survival

Eric Columbus explains Rosenstein’s strategic moves:

By surviving, Mr. Rosenstein has preserved not just his job but also the integrity of an investigation into, among much else, possible wrongdoing by the president. Like the bamboo that bends but does not break in the wind, he has shown a flexibility that may have helped preserve our institutions despite the raging storm.

Read the article to find out how “Mr. Rosenstein had set a trap for Mr. Trump, into which the president eagerly jumped.”

Truth vs. Loyalty

Masha Gessen draws a fascinating comparison between Comey and Trump:

The true subject of “A Higher Loyalty” is the goodness of James Comey. The premise is that a man whose value is truth is superior to a man whose value is loyalty, and Comey’s understanding of “truth” is as basic as Trump’s understanding of “loyalty”: he believes that there is such a thing as “all the truth” that exists outside of history, context, and judgment.

Comey’s Karma

In his recent interviews (with Terry Gross on Fresh Air and David Remnick on The New Yorker Radio Hour) to promote his new book, A Higher Loyalty, James Comey defends his decision to call out Hillary Clinton’s “extremely careless” use of email to let the people know the integrity of the F.B.I. He could have just said case closed and no further comment was needed. Why was he trying to defend the integrity and honesty of the F.B.I.? The reputation of the Bureau has never been compromised. Robert Mueller has not said a word in public and no one is questioning his integrity. He also spoke up about the reopening of the email investigation close to the election. Whether he admits it or not, Comey had tipped the election to the guy who ended up fired him. That is something he has to live with for the rest of his life.