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Millennials have dinner parties, they just don’t call them that

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Traditional dinner parties might be a thing of the past, but millennials are still getting together to eat. | Getty Images/Maskot

Like many things millennials “killed,” the dinner party has simply adapted for the post-recession era.

When hosting a dinner party, Martha Stewart suggests starting to cook and prepare food at least a week in advance. You should have a theme, she says, and all the details of your party — every course of the meal, the decor, the cutlery — must match the theme.

Emily Post’s granddaughter, Lizzie Post, suggests sending out paper invitations in the mail, because email has too many ads. She also advises that if your apartment is too tiny, you should just rent another apartment for a day, Post told Elle Decor.

For people in 2019, these rules sound antiquated to the point of being absurd.

In 2012, New York Times writer Guy Trebay lamented that the dinner party was dead. “The seated dinner, with its minuet of invitation and acceptance, its formalities and protocols, its culinary and dietary challenges, its inherent requirements of guest and host alike is under threat, many say.”

He’s partly correct: The classic seated, multi-course, formal dinner party, with its china and linens, its cocktails and boeuf bourguignon, is dead. Most young adults today — specifically, millennials, who are in their mid-20s to late 30s by now — don’t have the money, time, or space for the types of elaborate dinner parties their parents and grandparents might have hosted decades ago. Dinner parties were once a way to show off your wealth and social status, but millennials hit by the Great Recession have neither.

That doesn’t mean dinner parties have become obsolete in 2019: They’ve just evolved. Millennials prioritize friendships, so they still value gathering with their friends and loved ones over food and drinks, but they’ve changed the playbook to adapt to our post-recession economy. That means formal dinners served on china with a roast and martinis have been replaced by having friends over to your apartment for chili night and White Claws. The cornbread might get a little burnt, some people might have to sit on the floor, but the important thing is getting together with friends and enjoying each other’s company — not stressing out about tablescapes and etiquette.

“I think the millennial dinner party now equates to casual but well thought out: good group of like-minded friends; easy-going cooking; BYO approach; on-point music on the record player in the background,” says Alisha Miranda, a 33-year-old writer in Philadelphia. “Most importantly, it’s about low-key chill vibes.”

Nikki Rappaport, a 32-year-old marketer in DC, agrees. “I don’t even know what a formal dinner party would entail for me and my friends,” she says. “To me ‘formal’ means, dishes prepared hours in advance, elegant plating and linens, multiple courses, and a clear divide between host and guest. My friends and I don’t really have the time — in planning or in hosting — to make our gatherings more formal. And honestly, it just doesn’t sound as fun.”

When it comes to cooking inspiration, Instagram-happy 30-somethings today don’t look to Julia Child or Martha Stewart — they look to Alison Roman, whose first cookbook Dining In was a hit in 2017, when some of the recipes went viral on Instagram. Roman’s forthcoming second cookbook, Nothing Fancy, focuses more specifically on recipes for dinner parties. But Roman is clear about her philosophy: “I have always been allergic to the word ‘entertaining,’ which to me implies there’s a show, something performative at best and inauthentic at worst,” she says. “But having people over? Well, that’s just making dinner, but you know, with more people. Unfussy food, unfussy vibes, and the permission to be imperfect.”

“To do that formal entertaining — that’s a lot of pressure. You’re performing, it’s an event. You have to do a lot of preparation, and you have to have the right kind of tools and the budget to pull it off,” Roman tells Vox. “But having people over can be as regular as you want it to be. No matter where you live, no matter how big your kitchen is, no matter your budget, you can definitely invite people into your home and share food with them. Nothing should prevent you from doing that.”

How dinner parties became a signifier of class, wealth, and sophistication

The dinner party isn’t a modern invention; it has ancient roots, going as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held massive feasts with dozens of guests. “People have gathered together over food for as long as we’ve been human, but what exactly that looks like has changed considerably depending when and where we look,” says Julia Skinner, a culinary historian and founder of Root Kitchens, a food history and fermentation organization, over email.

More recently, there was a shift toward dining rooms in the home for smaller, more intimate dinner parties — and they were also a sign of wealth: “The permanent dining room set as we know it didn’t appear until the Early Modern period. Dining sets gradually became smaller, as wealthy folks favored more intimate gatherings and as shifts in economics meant that the middling classes could also afford a home with a small room (rather than a great hall) dedicated to eating.”

And then came the fancy silverware: “The Victorians added a lot of specialty tableware to their dinner parties, as part of the many, and often subtle, social norms that dictated who was part of the group — and who was not,” Skinner says. “Things like special lettuce and pickle forks, for example, as well as separate plates for every single possible food, specialty glassware, different spoons for every course.”

By the mid-century period, that era of housewives throwing glamorous dinner parties, the precedent had long been established. As the post-war economy boomed and the middle class grew, it became increasingly more common for people to entertain guests in their homes, and that period of prosperity brought with it “an expectation that the food will be pretty substantial and that it most likely will be served in courses,” Skinner said.

McMansion Hell blogger Kate Wagner also wrote about the American obsession with formal entertaining spaces and dining rooms in Curbed last year: “Elite houses, from the domus of a Pompeian politician to the Palace of Versailles, from Biltmore to McMansions in subdivisions named Biltmore, have always maintained a separation of formal and informal space. … One of the simplest reasons so many clamor for formal spaces is because they are a signifier of wealth and prestige, a sign of having ‘made it.’”

 Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images
Clara Booth Luce and other attend a dinner party in 1956.

And for many, those beautiful dining rooms, and the elegant dinner parties that take place in them, are aspirational, Wagner writes: “We think our spaces will create the lives we want: If only we had a great room with an expansive deck, we could finally host big, sophisticated, straight-out-of-Mad Men parties.”

All of this is to say that as the dinner party evolved over modern history, the ability to throw a dinner party became a signifier of class status. Hosting a dinner party required having a home big enough to host gatherings and comfortably seat people at a dinner table, the money to supply guests with several courses of food and alcohol, the time to prepare elaborate meals, and the disposable income to furnish your home with sets of formal dinnerware, stemware, candles, table decor, and all the other trappings of formal dinner parties. Having a dinner party was a way to show off your extensive social connections, your wealth, your place in society. It was a sign of having good taste — which is ultimately all about class anxiety.

Post-recession millennials don’t have the money to buy big houses, fancy furniture, or china

Meanwhile, it would be an understatement to say that millennials have some financial anxiety.

Many of them graduated college during the Great Recession and entered the worst job market in 80 years. Three out of four millennials have some kind of debt, and a quarter of millennials have more than $30,000 in debt. A recent study found that millennials are more likely to be worse off financially than their parents’ generation.

Millennial home ownership is also at a record low, and they are increasingly living in tiny apartments instead of buying homes (seriously: more American households are renting than at any point since 1965). And the problem isn’t limited to just major cities like New York and LA — rents are rising all across the country, including smaller towns and cities.

The shift towards rentals and apartments over buying spacious single-family homes means very few millennials have the physical space for a 12-person reclaimed wood dining table, or room for a dinner table at all.

“No one I know has the space or the time to devote to what a formal dinner party entails,” says Elizabeth Gerberich, a 25-year-old living in Austin, Texas. “I don’t know anyone who owns a dining table that can comfortably fit more than three people at a time because no one I know has an apartment with an actual dining room.”

And aside from a sheer lack of square footage, millennials’ mounting debt and stagnating wages also mean they have less disposable income to spend on furnishing their homes with the accoutrements of fancy dinner parties of the past: dining room furniture, fancy china place settings, cloth napkins, crystal stemware, and fancy silver flatware.

 John Rawlings/Conde Nast via Getty Images
Formal china, like the tea set pictured here, was common in the middle of the century — not not anymore.

In 2017, the Washington Post reported that Pottery Barn had suffered four consecutive quarters of declining sales — and the company had discovered that one major reason for its sluggish sales was that millennials’ tiny apartments were too small for Pottery Barn furniture. In 2016, the Washington Post reported that millennials were increasingly preferring to use paper towels at the dinner table instead of buying napkins.

In the New York Times, Guy Trebay noted that “Few … still see the point in accumulating china, silver and crystal at all. ... Prime real estate once allotted to the staples of the bridal registry at Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue flagship have now been supplanted by cases of leather accessories.”

Boomer parents also report having a hard time giving away their china to their millennial children, because they simply don’t want it. That lack of space once again plays a role here — they have less storage space to hold such heirlooms (have you ever seen a china cabinet like Mom’s in a 500 square foot apartment?), and they also move more often and don’t want to be weighed down by heavy furniture through every cross-country move.

Millennials value friendships, and love entertaining — just don’t call it that

Despite the lack of space, money, and formality, today’s 20- and 30-somethings still love to entertain — they just would never call it “entertaining.” They’re not having formal dinner parties to show off their wealth or their class status — because they don’t have any. But millennials deeply value friendships and social connections, and they prioritize getting together with friends.

A 2012 Wharton study found that millennials rank friendship as one of the greatest determinants of success in life, second only to health. And it makes sense: As millennials are increasingly delaying marriage and children, their relationships with friends play a more important role in their lives. It was millennials, after all, who popularized Friendsgiving, the tradition of hosting a casual Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

Gerberich says that for her, dinner parties are usually potluck style sitting around someone’s coffee table. “When my friends and I gather for dinner, we all make food and bring it to someone’s apartment where we sit around the coffee table — either on the couch, the floor or a variety of chairs — to eat,” she says. “Usually the person hosting makes the main dish and others bring sides and drinks. None of us regularly make food for more than one or two people, so when we gather for dinner, we’re often making dishes like chili or empanadas that we wouldn’t make just for ourselves.”

Caitlin Zinsser, a 37-year-old human resources professional in the Chicago suburbs, says that her friends dub their informal gatherings “Crappy Dinner Parties,” or CDPs for short. Many of her friends have children, and lack the time to spend hours preparing formal meals. “Our house is never perfectly clean, and our good friends don’t care. They help themselves to beverages since they know where everything is in the kitchen,” she says. “We take turns preparing and cooking our dishes together while others play with the kids. It’s chaotic, but so much less stressful. As working parents, it’s hard to make time for friends — so these dinner provide a monthly opportunity to see our dearest ones without worrying about childcare, the expense of a meal’s worth of extra groceries, and tons of cleanup — everyone pitches in.”

The millennial version of a dinner party is more likely to involve cheap beer or spiked seltzer than hand-shaken martinis, and simple, easy-to-cook food like sheet pan chicken or instant pot tacos, with an assortment of snacks picked up at the Whole Foods antipasto bar — olives, cheeses, hummus, chips, dips. It’s not about impressing or keeping up with the Joneses by serving coq au vin and fussing over cocktails all night — it’s about keeping it simple and low-stress, making do with what you have, and enjoying the company of the friends you love.

Rappaport also observes that formal dinner parties, for millennials, “seem like too much of a hassle (and would stress me out!) and [are] not the point of why I want to have dinner with my friends — which is to have some quality time together, make some good food, try new things like a new cocktail or recipe, create a fun night together, and not be so stressful or create a giant mess at home that I wouldn’t want to do it again.”

Roman describes this dinner party philosophy well in the introduction to Nothing Fancy, which comes out on October 22; for millennials, it’s the exact antithesis of the aspirational mindset Wagner described in Curbed that led to the rise of formal entertaining spaces in homes. “This is not about living an aspirational life; it’s about living an attainable one,” Roman says.

 Getty Images/Hero Images
Dinner parties in 2019 are often more collaborative, low-key affairs — like potlucks.

Roman tells Vox: “Cooking for people is really a kind gesture. And it speaks volumes about your priorities and what you care about and how you want to spend your time,” she says. “And it doesn’t have to be a thing that causes you anxiety or stress. It should be a thing that promotes wellbeing, and love and joy, and a state of relaxation. It shouldn’t make you feel inadequate, worrying about, oh, is my apartment nice enough? Do I have matching silverware? Am I gonna fuck up this rib roast? It should be like — no, I’m doing a nice thing for people that I like, and they’re coming over and I’m feeding them and that’s enough.”

A big part of the new dinner party mindset is embracing the messiness of real life, and abandoning perfectionism, she added. Mistakes happen, and that’s okay. “I’ve had people over where I’ve burnt something so bad that you couldn’t eat it so I ordered pizza. I’ve invited more people over than I could feed and then we had to basically eat like, garlic bread for dinner, which is delicious. You just gotta make do with what you have, and have a really good time doing it.”

“Because remember why you’re there: you’re there to have fun with people that you love and that you care about. And as soon as you lose sight of that, it’s negating the purpose of having people over to begin with.”

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Dadster
5 days ago
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So what to do with Grandma's China and silverware?
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There Is A Lot Of Speculation That John Bolton Is The "Second Whistleblower"

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There Is A Lot Of Speculation That John Bolton Is The "Second Whistleblower"

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

I knew that John Bolton was going to be trouble the moment President Trump hired him.  Nothing good was ever going to come from having John Bolton as National Security Advisor, and fortunately Trump rejected almost every major recommendation that Bolton made during his entire tenure.  If Trump had gone along with Bolton’s agenda, we would probably be at war right now. 

Being so close to the levers of power and being unable to move his agenda forward time after time was very frustrating for Bolton, and since he was fired by Trump he has been on a “revenge tour”.  But would Bolton go so far as to completely betray Trump by becoming the “second whistleblower” regarding the controversial phone call with the president of Ukraine?  There is now a lot of speculation among conservatives that this could be the case, and so far Bolton has not publicly denied being the “”second whistleblower”.  That doesn’t mean that Bolton is guilty, but if I was President Trump he would be the number one suspect on my list.

Let’s start with the facts as we have them at this hour.  It is being reported that a “second whistleblower” has come forward, and that he is being represented by the same legal team that is representing the “first whistleblower”.  The following comes from Breitbart

On Sunday’s broadcast of “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos opened his show with a report proclaiming a second “whistleblower.”

Stephanopoulos said, “Good morning. Welcome to ‘This Week,’ a week of head-snapping developments. The first key witness testimony to Congress. the first release of text messages from administration officials confirming the pressure campaign or Ukraine outlined in the original whistleblower complaint. That public request from President Trump calling on China to investigate Joe Biden. A new request for documents from Vice President Pence. This morning more breaking news. ABC News has learned that the legal team representing the first whistle-blower is now representing a second whistleblower. Attorney Mark Zaid said he is a member of the intelligence community with firsthand information on some of the allegations at issue.”

The original whistleblower hired “a former Schumer and Hillary Clinton staffer” named Andrew Bakaj to represent him, and we also know that Bakaj has given money to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

Following the revelation of this “second whistleblower”, Bakaj confirmed on Twitter that his firm is now representing “multiple whistleblowers”.

So let’s summarize what we know so far.

-We know that the second whistleblower is a “he” according to attorney Mark Zaid.

-We know that the second whistleblower has at least some “firsthand knowledge” about the call with the president of Ukraine.

-We know that the second whistleblower has been a member of the intelligence community.

-We know that the second whistleblower is clearly not loyal to Trump.

John Bolton certainly fits that profile.

Can any of you think of another potential suspect?

Of course in Washington there are always more suspects, but it is interesting to note that Trump has apparently been very suspicious of Bolton for quite some time now

One veteran political consultant in Washington tells Cockburn that Trump is afraid Bolton is the mastermind behind all the damaging leaks on his secret dealings with the Ukrainians; the whistleblower’s Deep Throat, if you will. This, he believes, is why Trump’s cheerleader in the Senate, Lindsay Graham, keeps asking who was feeding the CIA whistleblower who came forward with details of a call between Trump and the Ukrainian president (in which Trump asked for dirt on the Democratic frontrunner, Joe Biden). Graham tweeted: ‘It is imperative we find out which White House official talked to the whistleblower and why. Why didn’t they lodge the complaint?’

And thanks to The Hill, we also know that John Bolton “opposed the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky” while he was still a member of the administration…

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton opposed the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the center of an impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats, NBC News reported Monday.

Three current and former administration officials told the network that Bolton was opposed to the call because he was concerned Trump wasn’t coordinating with advisers on what to say and might air personal grievances.

John Bolton could put all of this speculation to rest by simply denying that he is the second whistleblower, but he has not done that at this point.

Perhaps Bolton thought that he could make a name for himself by being the man that got Donald Trump out of the White House, and it does seem quite likely that Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives, but Mitch McConnell is being quite clear about the fact that Trump will be protected by the Senate as long as he is the majority leader

The Senate majority leader released last week a brief video ad on Facebook, which prompts viewers to financially support his reelection campaign, and insisted that the pathway forward for impeachment proceedings to cease is with him maintaining leadership in a Republican-controlled chamber.

‘Nancy Pelosi is in the clutches of a left-wing mob,’ McConnell said in the ad. ‘They’ve finally convinced her to impeach the President. All of you know your Constitution. The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority, with me as majority leader.’

As long as McConnell refuses to move from that stance, it will be almost impossible for pro-impeachment forces to get enough votes to convict Trump in the Senate, and that means that Trump will almost certainly remain in the Oval Office.

But the endless coverage of this impeachment process by the mainstream media will stir up hatred on the left like never before, and it is setting the stage for utter chaos when the Republicans in the U.S. Senate vote to protect Trump.

It doesn’t take a genius to see how all of this is going to play out.  But the mainstream media will continue to breathlessly cover this process 24 hours a day, and they will put relentless pressure on Republican senators in an all-out effort to get some of them to crack.

No matter how this drama plays out, this is going to be a very ugly chapter in our history, and our political system will never be the same again once it is over.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/07/2019 - 09:59
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Dadster
11 days ago
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Oh wow, how appropriate if true.
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The difference between Nixon and Trump is Fox News

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Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Sean Hannity interviews U.S. President Donald Trump before a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on September 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Fox News shields President Trump. But his love for their conspiracies might bring him down.

On Tuesday night, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera spoke to Fox News host Sean Hannity, on Fox News, about the role Fox News would play in protecting President Donald Trump from impeachment. “You know, if it wasn’t [for] your show, Sean, they would destroy him absolutely,” Rivera told Hannity, who, when not hosting his television and radio shows, informally advises Trump. “You are the difference between Donald J. Trump and Richard Nixon.”

He’s half right. Fox News is playing a critical role in protecting Trump from Nixon’s ultimate fate. But it’s also played a critical role in luring Trump into committing Nixonian misdeeds.

Let’s start with what Rivera got right. Hannity may not save Trump from impeachment, but conservative media outlets have protected Trump’s presidency throughout his first term. They have done so not by winning new allies — his approval numbers remain low with everyone but Republicans — but by ensuring that Republicans in Congress, his real firewall against being removed from office, remain on his side.

Nixon needed a Fox News, and he knew it. When he won the presidency in 1968, he was not in a strong position. He’d led the popular vote by less than 1 percent, Democrats held both houses of Congress, and Nixon was convinced that the press corps was against him. He believed two things were necessary to fully exercise the powers of his new office: a strong, loyal Republican Party and a pro-Nixon media.

Getting the party on his side wasn’t hard. Nixon had earned a reputation as a party man throughout the 1960s. After losing his bid for president in 1960 and California governor in 1962, he went back out on the campaign trail in 1964 and 1966, stumping for every Republican who would have him. He did the same as president — with one exception. In 1970, despite angling to support Republican candidates across the country, he turned on New York’s Republican Sen. Charles Goodell (father of NFL owner Roger Goodell). He instead threw his support instead behind James Buckley, who ran as a member of the Conservative Party and who ultimately unseated Goodell.

Goodell’s sin? Speaking out against the Vietnam War. Nixon wanted Republicans in office, but they had to be loyal.

The other thing Nixon wanted was his own media outlet. Believing most mainstream outlets were in the tank for the Democrats, he was keenly interested in developing an alternative Republican news source. His administration had explored the idea of GOP-TV with future Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who at the time was a political media consultant. GOP-TV would create pro-administration segments and mail them out to local outlets across the country (a model that was more like Sinclair Broadcasting’s than Fox News’s). At the same time, conservative activists were also developing a scheme for a corporate takeover of CBS, hoping to transform it into a right-wing network.

Neither of those projects worked, and as the Watergate crisis mounted, Nixon was in a precarious position. Yes, he had won reelection in a historic landslide. But his propaganda machine never had much power.

Conservative media, such as it was, aggressively supported Nixon throughout the crisis, but it was simply not powerful enough to reshape the emerging consensus around administration wrongdoing or to keep Republican officeholders in line. Outlets like National Review stood by Nixon’s side, spinning every possible defense against impeachment, but they made very little impact. The dam broke; Republicans jumped ship; Nixon’s presidency ran aground.

At the beginning of his impeachment inquiry, Trump is in a very different place. He has a powerful propaganda system and a devoted Republican Party, from the base to the leaders in Congress.

The major driver of that devotion is not Trump but Fox, which has spent two decades mediating the desires of the base and disciplining the actions of the party. Rivera is hardly the first Fox News personality to note the network’s power over the GOP. Back in 2012, when Trump himself was a regular on Fox & Friends, political consultant Dick Morris appeared on the morning show to praise the network for its ability to shape the Republican primary field. After a string of candidates had appeared on the program, Morris sat on the show’s trademark red couch and observed, “You don’t win Iowa in Iowa. You win it on this couch. You win it on Fox News.”

Five years later, despite primary-season conflicts between Trump and some of the network’s heavy hitters, Fox was reworking its lineup to better match the nativist nationalism of the new Trump administration. With primetime stars Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly out, the network elevated Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, both friendly to the anti-immigrant nationalist right, to primetime.

But the network wasn’t just changing its evening programming: It was becoming a lifeline for the Trump presidency, an incubator for defenses of his policies, his crassness, and his corruption. Throughout his presidency, those defenses have quickly bounced between Fox, the White House, and Congress, creating a unified playbook that all Republicans are operating from. From the travel ban to the Kavanaugh confirmation fight to the Mueller report, Fox News and Republican leaders quickly honed in on the same talking points, then stood shoulder to shoulder against any outside criticism.

That loyalty is the lifeblood of the Fox-Trump operation. Fox News is loyal to the base and to Trump; GOP politicians are cowed into loyalty to both Fox and the president; and the president … well, the president is loyal to no one. But he is protected by those fealties — a protection Nixon wanted but never got.

So will it be enough to save him from impeachment and removal?

There have not yet been any defections within the GOP, and Fox News continues to slavishly support the president, as do the vast majority of Republicans. But the impeachment drive has altered the way that Fox and Trump function in the broader media and political environment. The defenses of Trump popping up on shows like Hannity and Fox & Friends are thin conspiracy theories (like one that suggested the intelligence community inspector general had changed the whistleblower form to allow secondhand information) that dissolve upon inspection.

That’s fine for Fox’s audience — they’re there for affirmation and talking points — but so far it hasn’t had much of an impact on the broader story of Trump coercing Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election. It’s even causing odd flare-ups on Fox News itself, as the more news-oriented anchors quietly debunk the conspiracies that the more propagandistic opiners hype. This led to a spat between Shepard Smith and Tucker Carlson that ended with the network ordering Smith, who was pushing back against Carlson’s spin, to drop it.

But an underplayed dimension of this is that Fox has actually played a role in endangering the future of the Trump White House. The feedback loop between Fox News and the White House has often been covered as an asset: Trump is the first American president to have something approaching state television, a channel that will lavish praise on him while amplifying any spin the administration offers.

But over the past decade, Fox News has become increasingly committed to fringe ideas and conspiracy theories, especially in its opinion programming. This was, after all, the network that boasted Glenn Beck’s elaborate chalkboards, Sean Hannity’s fever-brained conspiracies about Seth Rich, a murdered DNC staffer, and yes, Donald Trump’s birther scam.

When Trump won the presidency, the consequences of Fox News’s conspiracy turn escalated. Trump would rail against the deep state, Hannity would spend fifteen minutes covering it on his show, Trump would watch Hannity and grow even more convinced there was a deep-state conspiracy. Both the network and the White House were becoming untethered.

That cost of that dynamic has become clear in the current impeachment inquiry. The Biden-Ukraine conspiracy did not spring fully formed from Trump’s head. It was formulated in a political hit book by Peter Schweizer, circulated through conservative media, and then trickled into the White House, where Trump and his allies appear to have acted on it in ways that have led to the impeachment inquiry.

Within the bubble of the Fox News White House, the hunt for Biden family corruption was a fully coherent agenda, one that had the secretary of state, attorney general, and president’s lawyer traipsing around the globe to hunt down clues. But outside that bubble, it’s a very different story. Instead of a tale of the US president bravely facing down corruption, it looks like — because it is — a story of a US president enlisting foreign countries to kneecap his domestic political rivals.

That’s a reflection of the unusual relationship that Fox has with Trump: They might be his propaganda network, but he’s their most enthusiastic, credulous, and powerful viewer. They’re both, together, trapped in a world of their own making, and surprised when the rest of the country doesn’t see what they’ve convinced themselves of.

In that sense, late-stage Fox News has been very bad for Trump’s presidency. True, it may still help keep Republicans in line, preventing Trump’s removal from office. But by helping gin up the Ukraine conspiracy, it has badly, if not mortally, wounded his presidency. In the end, Trump may still face the same fate as Nixon, not despite Fox News, but because of it.

Nicole Hemmer, a Vox columnist, is the author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics. She is an associate research scholar at Columbia University and co-host of the Past Present podcast.

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Dadster
12 days ago
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Except, Drumpf is angling away from Fox, to something available on Comcast called "Newsmax" which is poaching some F0X commentators. Or at least he's buying ad time on Comcast for this thing. If things go bad and F0X divorces him, that will be the apartment he moves to.
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The Food Network thinks you’ll pay $7 a month for a digital version of the Food Network

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A screenshot of the front page of the Food Network Kitchen shows two chefs high-fiving plus inset photos of food being prepared. Food Network Kitchen will offer live and on-demand cooking shows. | Discovery

Discovery would like you to think of its new Food Network Kitchen subscription service as the Peloton for cooking.

You can find recipes and cooking videos all over the internet. So how much would you pay for a service that delivered recipes and cooking videos over the internet?

Discovery, the cable TV programmer that owns the Food Network, thinks you might pay $7 a month.

At an Amazon event today in Seattle, Discovery is rolling out a new Food Network Kitchen streaming platform that offers recipes, cooking shows, and live cooking lessons. The service, which launches in late October, will also be available for Android and iOS users.

Discovery would like you to think of Food Network Kitchen as a Peloton for cooking. Both because of the live demonstration element — it will offer 25 live classes each week, and Discovery says it will get celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay, Daniel Boulud, and ... Guy Fieri to teach some of them — and because Peloton’s spinning bike and video subscription service has proven popular with a subset of wealthy consumers.

But here’s another way to think of it: It’s part of an ongoing push from TV programmers to sell subscriptions to things that aren’t the programming they already sell to pay-TV providers like Comcast.

Food Network Kitchen will have programming that has already run on Food Network, like The Pioneer Woman. But if you want to watch shows that Food Network is currently airing, you’re still going to need a cable TV subscription (or the digital equivalent of one, like Hulu or YouTube TV).

That’s because while Discovery, like every other TV programmer, is interested in selling stuff directly to consumers, its core business is still based on wholesaling its programming to the cable guys, who turn around and sell it in a bundle to consumers. And the cable guys don’t want the programmers to compete with them.

So with a few exceptions, like HBO Now and CBS All Access, most of the stuff the TV guys have started selling directly to consumers in the last few years is being marketed as add-ons for hardcore fans, like Disney’s ESPN+ or AMC’s Shudder.

Discovery hopes to get a big push from Amazon to help distribute the new service, particularly on Amazon Echo devices that have a video screen. And Amazon will have the incentive to do that because it will get some of the subscription revenue for customers who sign up through Amazon. There are other potential benefits for Amazon, as well: Food Network TV hopes that customers will use it to place orders for the ingredients they need for their recipes, and Amazon is one of three grocery services that will fulfill those orders, along with Instacart and Peapod.

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Dadster
23 days ago
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Only on South Park, though.
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Mugabe and the Continuing White Supremacist Narrative

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Robert Mugabe makes an easy hate figure for the right wing media, and the cruelty, corruption and absurdities of the latter part of his overlong rule justify much of the hate. But the slightest analysis of the media expression of this hatred reveals it to feed a variety of British imperialist tropes which persist to an alarming degree into the 21st century – that Africans cannot govern themselves and were better off under white rule and even that black people cannot farm.

The justified criticisms of human rights abuses perpetrated by Mugabe very seldom recount the atrocities perpetrated by white rule in Zimbabwe. Mugabe himself was incarcerated without trial for over ten years, in dreadful conditions, merely for speaking out against the colonial government, a fact that must have had a major psychological impact. It is also worth emphasising that Mugabe was imprisoned without trial by the British authorities of Souther Rhodesia, before the declaration of UDI – a fact I struggle to find in any of the MSM obituaries.

The accepted narrative on Mugabe in power is that for over ten years he governed well, following western economic norms and rubbing along with the white population as though they were all fine English gentlemen together, notably patronising cricket and crucially making no effort to redress white economic privilege. Yet it was this “good” Mugabe who turned on the minority Ndebele tribe, massacring over 10,000 and ousting his Ndebele deputy, Joshua Nkomo (who had arguably contributed rather more to the liberation struggle). But as this did not especially annoy the IMF or compromise the interests of British American Tobacco, western criticism was very muted. To be fair, Mugabe’s government did make notable advances in education and in healthcare in this period.

Mugabe had to stop playing the English gentleman when popular discontent at the failure of Independence to improve the economic position of the ordinary Zimbabwean led to the unthinkable possibility of electoral defeat. The dual strategy of harsh repression of critics and a populist and highly corrupt programme of land seizures was a panicked response that ushered in two decades of spiraling decline for the country.

But consider this.

In Zimbabwe, as in highland Kenya, the sub-tropical climate was suitable for white colonists and their agriculture. All of the best arable land had been ruthlessly seized by white colonists from the African population. At the time of Independence, over half of the seizures and enclosures were still within the living memory of elders.

In Zimbabwe as in Kenya, a prime cause of the tribal conflict, in Zimbabwe principally between Shona and Ndbele, was that white land seizures had broken traditional boundaries and had forced migration of peoples onto each other’s land, the parcels of which unoccupied by white farmers were ever shrinking. For the west to sneer at African tribalism when brutal western settlers were at the root of much of the conflict, is ludicrous hypocrisy.

Land reform was, and is, essential in Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s tragedy was that his desire to ingratiate with Western elites led him to accept for far too long their insistence that the white colonists keep their massive land holdings. The popular demand for the land was a perfectly natural desire for justice. That there was no dynamic land reform programme for the start, and pent-up resentment was allowed to explode into an unplanned wave of violence, destruction and massive corruption, was Mugabe’s greatest failure. Mugabe saw in the resulting situation only opportunities for personal enrichment and to consolidate his power.

Land reform in both Zimbabwe and South Africa is an urgent priority. I do not accept the argument that because it was a white settler’s grandfather or great grandfather who seized the land, legally under racist colonial land grab legislation, that the descendants now have a right to it. I also do not accept the notion that Africans cannot farm. I discuss this subject quite extensively in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo (which almost nobody has read but I strongly believe is my best book). It is ironic that climate awareness now brings more of an acceptance that traditional African smallholder farming techniques, with their emphasis on intercropping, embody thousands of years of wisdom and are much more sustainable in Africa than the western monocrop techniques of clearing and leveling vast tracts and replenishing the soil through massive use of industrial fertiliser.

Robert Mugabe was a man who did terrible things. But he had suffered greatly in struggling against white rule and the great evil that was the imperial legacy in Africa. His life and memory must not be allowed to feed a racist meme of African cruelty and incompetence.

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The post Mugabe and the Continuing White Supremacist Narrative appeared first on Craig Murray.

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Dadster
30 days ago
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Dershowitz: The Dangerous Stalinism Of The "Woke" Hard-Left

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Authored by Alan Dershowitz via The Gatestone Institute,

Civil liberties are in greater danger today from the intolerant hard-left than from the bigoted hard-right. This may seem counterintuitive: There has been far more violence — mass shootings in malls, synagogues and other soft targets — from extremists who identify more with the hard-right than with the hard-left. But the influence of the hard-left on our future leaders is far more pervasive, insidious and dangerous than the influence of the hard-right.

People on the "woke" hard-left seem so self-righteous about their monopoly over Truth (with a capital T) that many of them see no reason to allow dissenting, politically incorrect, views to be expressed. Such incorrect views, they claim, make them feel "unsafe." They can feel safe only if views they share are allowed to be expressed. Feeling unsafe is the new trigger word for demanding censorship.

A "woke" rally in Washington. We must always remember that it is not only the road to hell that is paved with good intentions. It is also the road to tyranny. Photo: Wikipedia.

No university student has the right to be safe from uncomfortable ideas, only from physical threats, and any student who claims to be in physical fear of politically incorrect ideas does not belong at a university. The most extreme example of this distortion of the role of higher education took place at my own university when a distinguished dean of a Harvard residential college was fired from his deanship because some "woke" students claimed to feel unsafe in his presence because he was representing, as a defense lawyer, a man accused of rape.

We often forget that the concept of "political correctness" originated in the Stalinist Soviet Union, where Truth — political, artistic, religious — was determined by the central committee of the Communist Party and any deviation was regarded as unacceptable. To be sure, there is a vast difference between how Stalin treated political incorrectness and how the "woke" generation treats it. Stalin murdered those who deviated from his Truth, while "wokers" generally shun and discredit, though there has been occasional violence from elements of the hard-left toward those who deviate from their Truth. But both produce a similar result: less dissent, less reliance on the marketplace of ideas and more self-censorship.

For many "wokers," freedom of speech is nothing more than a weapon of the privileged used to subjugate the unprivileged. It a bourgeois concept that emanates from an anachronistic white, male constitution that is irrelevant to the contemporary world. Free speech for me — the underprivileged — but not for thee — the privileged. That is what the "wokers" want. Affirmative action for speech!

The other dangerous similarity between the Stalinists and the "wokers" is that both disdain due process for those they deem guilty of political incorrectness or other crimes and sins. They reject any presumption of innocence or requirement that the accuser bear the burden of proof. These bourgeois concepts are based on the recognition of human fallibility and uncertainty. For Stalinist and "wokers," there is no uncertainty or fallibility. If they believe someone is guilty, he must be. Why do we need a cumbersome process for determining guilt? The identities of the accuser and accused are enough. Privileged white men are guilty perpetrators. Intersectional minorities are innocent victims. Who needs to know more? Any process, regardless of its fairness, favors the privileged over the unprivileged.

When I was in college in the 1950s, it was the McCarthyite right that was censoring and denying due process. It was the liberal left that was defending free speech, dissent and due process. But for some on the left, this stance was self-serving, because it was people on the extreme left who were being denied these protections. Now that it is conservatives who are being censored and denied due process on campuses around the country, many on the left have remained silent. Civil liberties for me, but not for thee.

That is why I make the controversial claim that today the "woke" hard-left is more dangerous to civil liberties than the right. To be sure there are hard right extremists who would use — and have used — violence to silence those with whom they disagree. They are indeed dangerous. But they have far less influence on our future leaders than their counterparts on the hard-left. They are not teaching our college age children and grandchildren. They are marginalized academically, politically and in the media. The opposite is true of hard-left Stalinists. Many have no idea who Stalin even was, but they are emulating his disdain for free speech and due process in the interests of achieving the unrealizable utopia they both sought. They also have in common the attitude that noble ends justify ignoble means.

It is precisely because the ends sought by the "wokers" are often noble — racial and gender equality, a fairer distribution of wealth, protection of the environment, a women's right to choose, gay marriage — that liberals find it harder to condemn them for their intolerance toward civil liberties. But we must always remember that it is not only the road to hell that is paved with good intentions. It is also the road to tyranny.

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Dadster
48 days ago
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"...we must not forget that the road to Hell is..." smoother when you ride it on the Lolita express.
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