The Angle

The Angle: Fascism Is As Fascism Does Edition

Slate’s daily newsletter on “New York values,” the four-day school week, and “Formation” as exploitation. 

The fascism-adjacent Donald Trump during a campaign rally on February 4 in Exeter, New Hampshire. 

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hello! Welcome back to the Newsletter Once Known as “Today in Slate.” In its new form, the Angle will share the most interesting ideas about the news each day, highlighting thought-provoking pieces from Slate as well as other fascinating stories from around the Web. 

“It was easier to write about Hillary Clinton when I hated her,” Michelle Goldberg’s essay on her long-debated decision to support Hillary’s candidacy begins. In 2016, Goldberg muses, her own position in life seems to have softened her toward Clinton. “Supporting Clinton means justifying the thousands of concessions she’s made to the world as it is, than as we want it to be,” she writes. “Doing this is easier, I think, when you are older, and have made more concessions yourself. Indeed, sometimes it feels like to defend Clinton is to defend middle age itself.”

How historically sound is it to call Donald Trump a fascist? Isaac Chotiner interviews Robert Paxton, author of The Anatomy of Fascism, who points out parallels and differences between Trump’s style of demagogery and historical fascism. One snippet from Paxton:  

I read an absolutely astonishing account of Trump arriving for a political speech, somewhere out West I think, and his audience was gathered in an airplane hangar, and he landed his plane at the field and taxied up to the hangar and got out. That is exactly what they did in 1932 for Hitler’s first election victory. No one had ever seen a candidate arrive by plane before; it was absolutely dazzling, the impression given, the decisiveness of power, of authority, of modernity. I suppose it was accidental, but wow, that is an almost letter-perfect replay of a Hitler election tactic.

It’s been a while since a New York candidate has had success on the national stage. What’s changed? asks Joshua Keating, who points out that besides Donald Trump and the Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders, the race also boasts former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and (maybe) NYC billionaire Michael Bloomberg. “The American electorate as a whole is becoming more urban, more socially liberal, and more culturally diverse,” Keating argues. “In short, America is looking more like New York.”  

Shantrelle Lewis bravely dares to question the greatness of Beyoncé’s universally beloved “Formation” video, arguing that “Formation,” while an amazing artistic achievement, is also an exploitation of New Orleans’ pain. (Zandria Robinson’s piece “We Slay, Part I,” which Lewis links, offers a counterpoint, hailing the video’s value as resistance practice.) 

A four-day school week? Wouldn’t that be a disaster for kids and parents? Not necessarily, writes Laura Moser, who looks at one tiny school district in Texas that’s trying it out. “Friday attendance will be optional, and instead of regular classes, struggling students can go to tutorials and get more individualized attention from teachers,” she reports. The new configuration would also give students who are excelling the latitude to try something new on Fridays—karate, tumbling, pottery, woodshop, or scouting. 

For fun: Andrew Kahn and Forrest Wickman put together this interactive guide to all of the improvised speeches Kanye West made to audiences during his 2013 world tour, browseable by keyword and person’s name. You’re welcome, posterity. 

See you in the future,