Slate Plus

Days of Wine and Mooches

The Slate Plus Digest for Aug. 4.



Hey Plus, it’s that time again. Remember Anthony Scaramucci? That was a more innocent time, right? It felt like we lived in a younger, more vigorous America, when the White House communications director could call up a reporter and talk about a senior adviser fellating himself and someone else would get fired? Let’s take a look back at that golden age, with Katy Waldman’s Mooch retrospective. Now let’s look ahead: Does the Mooch’s ouster mean the John Kelly era will be a time of calm and order? Nah.

Rare “Trump is right about something, kind of” story: Just because he makes dumb analogies, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong to slam his generals’ Afghanistan plan. On the other hand, this is no time to be sanguine about his foreign-policy plans.

Longtime Slate readers will remember Robert Wright’s column the Earthling. If you, like me, have wondered what Wright would have to say about the Trumpocalypse, you’ll find the answer on Isaac Chotiner’s I Have to Ask (podcast, transcript). Buddhism is involved, but don’t let that stop you from clicking.

Facebook may have finally figured out how to beat both fake news and its own terminal uncoolness.

Dahlia Lithwick asks if this is the week the GOP’s affair with Trump finally crested?

“Often, writers who shoot for dream logic in their writing wind up producing work that’s like listening to someone describe their dreams. The experience of Sam Shepard’s work is like actually entering someone else’s mind during REM sleep.”

Michelle Goldberg reads the leaked transcripts of the president’s phone calls with his fellow heads of state: “ ‘It is you and I against the world, Enrique, do not forget,’ Trump says, appearing to believe, as he so often does, that the leader of a nation he has repeatedly insulted nevertheless likes and respects him.”

Meanwhile, let’s get excited for 2020, when Democrats are betting hard-bitten voters will rally around … a private equity executive.

Not From Slate

While the liberal media is obsessively following Twitter, the far right has taken over YouTube.

Jonathan Chait’s close-reading of Trump’s phone call with Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull is funny/terrifying in the contemporary manner.

From the New Yorker magazine, a deeply reported story about what happens when the state separates children from their parents. From the popular website, an essay on the “large adult son” meme. Both worth your time.

Steve Bannon ran a company that paid Chinese workers to play video games.

Why is “taking a selfie” our contemporary image of happiness?

Thank you for your Slate Plus membership, which makes our journalism possible. I will be on vacation next week so your Slate Plus Digest will probably be better written and more artful.

Gabriel Roth
Editorial director, Slate Plus

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