Matthew Walther’s Inauguration Diary

Inauguration Trump House Democrats

This is the first in a series of inauguration week dispatches. My coverage of Cleveland, Philadelphia, and the debates last year speak for themselves, and I hope to continue that winning streak during what will probably be the second worst week of my adult life.

I say “second worst” because the worst was last week, when I got Norovirus from spinach purchased at Safeway, which serves me right, I guess, for trying to be healthy. Most of the days thereafter were a blur, but I remember that Monday was fairly normal: I came in to the office just in time for my staff meeting, drank a few Budweisers from a glass at China Garden, and read Roald Dahl.

The One Book Music Lovers Have to Read

The Beatles play a concert in Seattle in 1964 / AP

As a teenager, David Hajdu owned a large collection of “nearly unplayable” 45s that his mother acquired for him from the jukebox at the diner where she was a waitress. One of his favorites was Tommy James and the Shonells’ “Hanky Panky,” which he “treasured as the filthiest thing I had ever encountered.” Working as a music journalist three decades later, he had the chance to interview Romano Mussolini, the jazz pianist and son of Benito, who, he said, “had a standing order for Blackshirt troops to confiscate any 78 rpm records that they found in enemy encampments.” Il Duce “didn’t care for” the American swing music his troops were pilfering on his son’s behalf, but he was happy to pass the records along because “he knew they would give me happiness.”

There’s Still (Almost) Another Month of Christmas


A lot of people take me for a Scrooge, a label I am happy to embrace. I despise “the holidays” and make a point of never acknowleding Thanksgiving* or New Year’s Eve, and I refuse to say “Merry Christmas” to anyone until the evening of December 24, the earliest juncture at which I will tolerate …

Sorry, But Not Killing Babies Is Bad for Business


What does the Democratic Party stand for in 2017? The bottom lines of insurance companies? The unfettered operation of our intelligence services? Neo-McCarthyism? Let’s ask the governor of Virginia: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is promising to veto legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, saying such a “socially divisive” proposal hurts the state’s image.… McAuliffe, …

My Day With Some Nasty Women

Nasty Women

NEW YORK—“Excuse me, are you a nasty woman?”

I don’t actually say it because the lady walking her terrier looks very kind and pleasant. I’m also wary of the policeman standing next to the Taste of Home gingerbread house here in Madison Square Park, where I’ve been walking in circles up to my ankles in slush for half an hour wishing I had thought to bring boots and trying to decide whether I’m brave enough to Google “Nuva ring.” Ten minutes ago the officer took it upon himself to remind me that there is no smoking in city parks. I probably shouldn’t push my luck.

On the Rocks


Did you hear that Mick Jagger and wife or girlfriend number-I’m-not-sure had a little boy? At age 73, he’s still a little more than a quarter-century shy of the Abrahamic hundred attested by Genesis 21:5—a record likely to stand for a long while, I would guess—but still, kudos. According to the Daily Star, he has promised to pay £14,000 (an oddly specific figure, no?) in child support and buy “a multi-million dollar home” for Melanie Hamrick and his eighth child.

Buzzfeed and Late Capitalist Decadence; Or, Gay Marriage Is False Consciousness Part 454


I couldn’t stop laughing. A day after Buzzfeed ran Kate Aurthur’s breathtaking scoop about how—brace yourself—not all American Christians are Unitarians, I saw this hilarious letter written by some flunky on the business side of things at the former cat blog’s London bureau in response to employees’ attempts to unionize. Forgive me for quoting it in full: Dear …

In Which I Crow About Being Right About Trump For at Least a Thousand Words


I have been saying since last December that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. Endless amounts of scorn have been heaped on me by centrist liberals whose credulous belief in the support-exorcising power of anecdotes about Trump’s racism and sexism and their own ability to be offended is rivaled only …