Miss Uncongeniality

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There it was—the classic Hillary charm. Close to a month had passed since the Democratic frontrunner answered questions from the press. So this week, when reporters were invited to gawk at the spectacle of Clinton sitting with “everyday Iowans,” Ed Henry of Fox wanted to know: Would the former secretary of state take a moment to respond to inquiries from non-stage-managed reporters?

Newborn Terror

Gary Locke

Ever since my son was born ten months ago, I’ve been thinking of a scene from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

The valiant crew of the starship Enterprise has commandeered a Klingon bird-of-prey for their return to planet Earth. Spock, the Vulcan science officer who has just come back from the dead—it’s a long story—is on the bridge, where he is moni- toring interstellar communications. His longtime friend Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the ship’s doctor, approaches him and sits down.

Hillary Rodham Romney

mittlary

Hillary Clinton is moving so quickly to the left that it’s hard to keep up. Her aides are telling the New York Times she wants to “topple” the One Percent, she’s pledging solidarity with union bosses over lunch meetings at Mario Batali restaurants in Midtown, she supports a constitutional amendment to suppress political speech, she’s down with a right to same-sex marriage, she’s ambivalent over the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she’s calling for an end to the “era of mass incarceration,” she wants to go “further” than President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty. It’s called pandering, but the press is too frazzled or sympathetic to call her on it. There’s desperation to Clinton’s moves, an almost panicked energy, to close the gap between her and her party’s base. If Elizabeth Warren called for full Communism, Clinton would be at the barricades the next day.

Tear Down These Tariffs

Ports of Los Angeles

Now she knows how I feel. In a statement posted to her campaign website, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts laments that the Obama administration has kept secret the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—TPP for short—the decade-in-the-making free trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries that will soon be put to a vote in Congress. “If the American people would be opposed to a trade agreement if they saw it,” she writes in bolded text, “then that agreement should not become law of the United States.”

Benghazi, Bergdahl, and the Bomb

AP

President Obama strode to the lectern in the Rose Garden Thursday to announce a “historic” agreement between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The preliminary deal made in Lausanne, Switzerland, the president said, “cuts off every pathway Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.” I hope he’s right.

James Baker’s Zombie Foreign Policy

James Baker J Street Facebook

Jeb Bush is cleaning up a mess he helped create. It’s a distraction from what he’d rather be doing, which is building an “aura of inevitability” around his soon-to-be presidential campaign. He’s spent the past week distancing himself from the speech that one of his foreign policy advisers, former secretary of State James Baker, delivered to the annual meeting of J Street, the liberal fringe group that pushes tough policies against Israel.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Women

The Hobson-Lucases / AP

The critic James Wolcott is peeved. “Mitt Romney’s fateful decision this January not to pursue the presidency for a third futile time deprives those of us in the bleachers of a rare-ish opportunity to watch a representative of the 1 percent in plastic action,” he writes in Vanity Fair’s April “special issue” on “the age of money.” There are few chances, Wolcott avers, to observe in public a member of the financial and social caste that rules America. “It is not often we get to study how a scion moves, behaves, and simulates reflective thought under changeable conditions.”

Everything’s a Problem!

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Note: A few weeks ago, the backlash against the Oscars—the scourging of Patricia Arquette for her post-Oscars speech in favor of pay equality, the wailing over Graham Moore’s failure to be gay while considering suicide as a teen, and so much more—broke my brain. I started seeing problems. Problems were everywhere. So many problems! Too many to recount here, in fact. So I set up a tumblr! I’ll still continue writing this post once a week or so here. But if you want to keep on things that are problematic—such as The Dress and Back to the Future and White Dudes Trying to Write—then you should keep your eye on EverythingsAProblem.tumblr.com.

The “white savior trope” is one of the most confounding elements of modern cinema. It takes many forms—Kevin Costner trying to save a black child from being raised by inferior black guardians, Kevin Costner teaching a team of Hispanic kids how to run, Kevin Costner educating American Indians about how to defend themselves, etc.—but the idea is always the same. An enlightened, amazing white person sees something wrong with a minority and tries to fix said minority.

This is, needless to say, very problematic.