Slate Plus

Gold Star

The Slate Plus Digest for Oct. 20.

There’s some eye-catching stuff in this week’s digest.


Does it feel as though the Trump administration landed on “militaristic authoritarianism” this week as a kind of rhetorical last resort? As though the pinball of Trump’s temperament happened to bounce into the slot marked “bereaved military families,” and now there’s nowhere for it to come out but the abhorrent assertion that one’s stake in American society is proportionate to one’s proximity to martial sacrifice? As though the boundary between the armed forces and the civilian government is being breached, in ways that risk permanent damage to our democracy, not by any coherent strategy but by a desperate scramble for temporary advantage by people who are both frightened and dangerous? Or nah? Maybe it’s just me.

From Slate

How did Jimmy Kimmel, of all schlubs, become Donald Trump’s pre-eminent cultural foil? Willa Paskin explains. Trump’s own favorite channel, Fox News, got a full day of coverage out of a single Kimmel remark—something Justin Peters discovered in the course of his current assignment, writing a pop-up blog about Fox News. (Don’t miss his deep dive into the authoritarian cheeriness of Fox & Friends.)

We all know we can’t trust a word Donald Trump says—but as Jamelle Bouie points out, we should never get used to that.

I always love reading a great critic get really enthusiastic about something and recommend it unreservedly. Here’s Katy Waldman on Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust.

The leaks suggesting a bitter clash between Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch are unprecedented. Mark Joseph Stern reads the tea leaves. (Basically it seems like Gorsuch is a jerk and everyone hates him.)

This has been driving me nuts too and I am thrilled that Haley Swenson wrote about it: STOP CALLING EVERYTHING THAT FRUSTRATES YOU “EMOTIONAL LABOR”!

If not for your membership we would not be able to fund in-depth investigations into the most urgent issues of our time.

Isaac Chotiner interviewed former Fox-er Gretchen Carlson, who would love to tell you how she felt about her years making right-wing propaganda but unfortunately can’t.

Not From Slate

Probably the best piece of writing I read this week is Lupita Nyong’o’s account of Harvey Weinstein’s harassment campaign against her, which methodically lays out the techniques Weinstein used to keep his targets off balance and vulnerable.

It’s interesting how we’ve all recently decided that Facebook is to blame for Donald Trump. How do Facebook employees feel about that?

Of all the great living pop artists, Joni Mitchell is somehow the hardest to get a bead on. Lindsay Zoladz explains why.

I won’t spoil this love story for you, but it’s literally an internet miracle.

The writer and editor Dave Bry died this week, aged 46. If you didn’t know his work, take a look at the wonderful Public Apology columns he wrote for the Awl, or his Letter of Recommendation from the New York Times Magazine.

Slate’s own Dan Kois profiled Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi for the Times Magazine, and the results are delightful.

There are a surprising amount of shenanigans going on in the online mattress sector.

Have a good weekend, friends! And thank you for your Slate Plus membership, which makes our journalism possible. See you next week!

Gabriel Roth
Editorial director, Slate Plus