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Fire and Fury

In a sense, Fire and Fury - the book everyone is talking about - is a classic picaresque.

Wolff’s characterization of Trump is almost affectionate: Wolff clearly enjoys writing about him as a protagonist and finds him amusing. The book has very little to do with political partisanship; Wolff writes from a place that’s well outside the Blue Church/Red Religion schism. There’s nothing in Fire and Fury to indicate that Wolff is a disappointed HRC supporter intent upon revenge. Insofar as the authorial persona makes any kind of appearance in the book at all, one gets the distinct sense that Wolff is enjoying Trump’s trajectory. In fact, the book actually reminds me quite a bit of that book by that other Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Wolff is particularly illuminating when it comes to analyzing Trump’s difficulties with Big Media. There are two different theories about Trump, Wolff points out:

In the one reality, which encompassed most of Trump’s supporters, his nature was understood and appreciated. He was the anti-wonk. He was the counterexpert. His was the gut call. He was the everyman. He was jazz (some, in the telling, made it rap), everybody else an earnest folk music. In the other reality, in which resided most of his antagonists, his virtues were grievous if not mental and criminal flaws. In this reality lived the media, which, with its conclusion of a misbegotten and bastard presidency, believed it could diminish him and wound him (and wind him up) and rob him of all credibility by relentlessly pointing out how literally wrong he was.

The media, adopting a “shocked, shocked” morality, could not fathom how being factually wrong was not an absolute ending in itself. How could this not utterly shame him? How could his staff defend him? The facts were the facts! Defying them, or ignoring them, or subverting them, made you a liar—intending to deceive, bearing false witness.

As we all know, trench warfare eventually developed on both sides of that particular divide.

Fire and Fury describes political events, but as I say, the tone of the book is apolitical. That hasn’t prevented it from becoming the eye of a political hurricane, of course. Red Religion partisans seize upon Wolff’s past reputation for playing loose with the facts. Look! In his very own Author’s Note, Wolff actually admits that he’s not sure how much of what he’s written is true!

But what Wolff is really saying is that he can’t be entirely sure about the veracity of the sources he quotes. We can assume those sources include Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer, and Trump himself (who does not have a good reputation for “veracity.”) In the subsequent media storm that greeted the book’s publication, Wolff noted that he has all his sources on tape.

I would say Wolff has been very, very careful to color inside the lines with this one. There isn’t one new claim in the book. It’s all been said before although admittedly, without such a richness of colorful status detail.

Ya gotta wonder about Wolff’s access. How the hell did he manage to get in so close? To get these people to talk to him? To hold dinner parties that they attended? (How, for example, was Wolff able to recreate in such microscopic detail the conversation between Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes that took place in a Greenwich Village townhouse on January 3, 2017? Simple! He hosted the party!)

To understand this, you have to understand something of Trump’s own background. For decades, Trump has been trying to catch the eye of a certain type of press! Michael Wolff is exactly the type of reporter that Trump has been trying to get attention from since Trump’s Studio 54 days when he was logging weekly calls to The Post’s Page Six. Truman Capote would have been even better, but alas! Truman is dead.

The publication of Fire and Fury really should be a dream come true for Trump!

So, why isn’t it?

Well, because (1) Trump really isn’t very smart, and, (2) now Trump's President.

You will note that Wolff’s access came to a screeching halt at just about the time that John Kelly became Chief of Staff.

One can only imagine the General’s reaction when he discovered that the schmoozy, amiable, amoral Wolff had had practically unlimited access for 200 days!


In other news, it is fuckin’ cold, and it’s supposed to get even colder. Like temperatures are supposed to be -15° Fahrenheit tonight and that’s before the wind chill factor is added.

Is there any reason at all to leave the house before the middle of March?

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org/696953.html. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2018 07:28 pm (UTC)

I've been listening to the 'Fire and Fury' audiobook ..... mmmmmh, tasty.
Jan. 6th, 2018 07:36 pm (UTC)
It's a good book, isn't it? :-)
Jan. 6th, 2018 08:16 pm (UTC)

It's difficult to put down.
Jan. 7th, 2018 03:54 am (UTC)
The left's "facts" are not all 100% real. There is no such thing as "settled" science.
The right's facts are not all 100% real
Jan. 7th, 2018 02:07 pm (UTC)
Wolff is describing political events, but he doesn't take political sides. I mean, it's clear by the end of the book that he thinks Trump is awful, but one gets the sense that he would have been just as happy to write a completely laudatory Trump book.
Jan. 7th, 2018 06:30 am (UTC)
I am fascinated by the whole circus surrounding Wolff's book, and especially Trump's (that stable genius!) tweets this morning. As I was reading about how Wolff managed to ingratiate himself into the West Wing, I was reminded as well of Capote. And he has the tapes.
Jan. 7th, 2018 02:11 pm (UTC)
You might enjoy the Wolff book. (I remember you like history.) If you're comfortable PMing me your email address, I can send you a Kindle copy of Fire and Fury.
Jan. 9th, 2018 06:14 am (UTC)
Thank you for the kind offer! As we speak, a hardback book is winging its way to me. My favorite reading platform!
Jan. 7th, 2018 05:10 pm (UTC)
OT: I notice that your "originally posted at" Dreamwidth link does not update. I checked your last few LJ posts and they all have the same link, to a DW entry from April.
Jan. 7th, 2018 05:45 pm (UTC)

I actually post from DW these days since LJ's scrapbook function is all screwed up, and I do a lot of photo posts.

You can always find me there. :-)
Jan. 7th, 2018 09:14 pm (UTC)
Oh I do, but you might want others to find you there as well (or to lure them there) :-)

(I thought the updating was perhaps the other way around, because I saw your latest post here but did not see it on DW yet. But I may have overlooked it.)

Edited at 2018-01-07 09:15 pm (UTC)
Jan. 8th, 2018 10:08 pm (UTC)
It was a pretty good book, rather sympathetic to Donaldus Rex if you ask me.
Jan. 8th, 2018 11:05 pm (UTC)
If you ask me, too. :-)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )