Discover more from Recommentunde
Hurriquake and the most Indictable President Ever
Plus, I'm in the New York Times... in print!
Got some good use of my rain gear
We survived the hurricane / tropical storm / aggressive drizzle. As an East Coast native, I was ready for this Hilary storm. Every grocery store I passed Saturday looked like a scene from an apocalyptic movie, with long lines and huge crowds, and everyone buying two of everything in anticipation of Hurricane Hilary. I did my part, stocking up on mezcal and bacon, and Sunday morning I started sweeping out the rain gutters near my home alongside a few neighbors. In the end, this did not feel like a major storm to me. Part of me is glad. Less damage. Fewer injuries. No loss of life. But I also feel like the news was hyperbolic about this Endtimes Storm, and I want someone to just be real about it: this wasn’t what we were told it was. For a perspective on the storm from ridiculous Angelenos, check out this and this. (I’m the type of person who goes out in a storm pretty much all the time. See my old TEDxMidwest talk about helping shovel out part of Lakeshore Drive in Chicago during an epic blizzard).
Regardless of the specifics of this storm, the weather in general keeps getting more intense, but thanks to filming Season 2 of America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston, my PBS series, I’ve got plenty of rain and other gear. We’re getting close to the premiere on Wednesday September 6 at 8 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. CT. Stay tuned for upcoming screening events. Meanwhile, check out the new teaser and my list of 10 recommended things that appeared in the New York Times arts section today. I’ve also been busy on the podcasting circuit talking about A.I. and tech, the power of connecting with nature, and the value of interpreting “citizen” as a verb. A few recent favorites include: The Rich Roll Podcast, Doing Well, Feeling Fine, and Puck’s own The Powers That Be.
Here’s what else is grabbing my attention lately:
It’s the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, which means lots of celebrations, memorials, and coverage. The Ringer has a great conversation with Dr. A.D. Carson, associate professor of hip hop at the University of Virginia, who’s also a dope rapper in his own right.
I’m cautiously celebrating a legal victory in Montana where sixteen young people successfully sued the state, alleging that Montana’s energy policies violate their constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment.”
I’m getting a lot of joy from the satirical cultural investment services newsletter. The creators describe it as “late capitalism's finest analysis of cultural assets for the discerning gentrifier,” providing the highest in clout R.O.I. Their “sell” recommendation on kale is actually worth reading.
And now, for the main event…
Trump Fatigue & the Slow Arc of Justice
A fourth indictment of the former president doesn’t appear to be moving the needle on public opinion. But it is finally providing an accounting, if not accountability, of Trump’s most pernicious crimes.
You’ve heard by now that former president Donald Trump is facing 91 felony charges in four separate criminal indictments. Take a moment. Breathe. Let that sink in. Like many Americans, I was raised to feel a healthy skepticism towards the U.S. political system, its representatives, and the myriad ways that power is used, abused, and flows asymmetrically through our government. The cliché notions that “all politicians lie” and that “all presidents break the law” are baked into our culture. But on a day-to-day basis, do we imagine that our politicians, no matter how unscrupulous or cynical, are committing actual, criminal, go-to-prison crimes? Crimes that result in a trip down to the local courthouse? Nah.
Yet here we are, with a former president entering and exiting courthouses across the country. He’s getting arraigned, pleading not guilty, and awaiting trial dates like someone on Law & Order (or like the estimated one in three Americans who have some type of criminal record). It’s beyond disappointing—after all, presidents are supposed to represent the best of what our country has to offer—and so we should find it utterly and completely surreal.
But for some reason, the news doesn’t seem to be sinking in with your average American. While slightly more than half of registered voters say Trump should be indicted for trying to overturn the 2020 election, the most grievous of his four recent indictments, only about 20 percent of Republicans feel the same way. And I admit, I’ve found myself becoming numb to the news, myself. How can that be, when we’re living through what will surely be one of the crazier chapters in some middle schooler’s future U.S. History textbook? (Well, maybe not in Florida.)
Read the full version in Puck for insights I got from Nsé Ufot, former head of the New Georgia Project, the poetic justice of Rudy Giuliana being charged under the RICO statute, and a reminder that this is about many more people than Trump. To quote old school In Living Color, this is a c-o-n spiracy!