The Gatherings

Baby, it’s cold outside.

We’re not sure what we expected. We’re not sure we expected anything. Coming of age in the Seventies, in liberal college-town Eugene, “protests” were such a tired tool that we mercilessly mocked each week’s low-attendance chantfest. “Moral preening” was not an expression in currency at the time, but it would have fit.

So we woke up Saturday morning, saw the initial reports of the crowd in DC: Good for them. No, really: It already looked more packed — and clearly more joyous — than the Inauguration the day before, and symbols matter a lot these days. Just ask the Hamilton cast.

And then we saw a video of the Denver crowd.

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Even Nixon Smiled

Say Jeez.

We know that Donald Trump takes his persona very seriously — he’ll watch tapes of his television appearances on mute to make sure his scowl is Just Right. It’s all about the presentation, since the substance is all sand.

And, fresh from his hostile takeover of the Twitter @POTUS account, here’s the Official Look for America’s new Fascist Era, all sunshine and optimism and—

Well, no. If this starts showing up at post offices, you’ll be forgiven for mistaking it for a Most Wanted poster.

Now I Am Become Death, The Destroyer of Worlds

Which Horseman are you?

On Golden Showers

Surf’s up!

Let’s begin with the fun part. Let’s imagine it’s true.

And now that we’ve spoiled your upcoming meal, ask yourself this:

How hard was it to imagine?

If you’re like us — God help you — the answer is clear:

Not very.

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Flooding the Zone

Trump Tower.

“Omarosa got hired at the White House,” our friend who, unlike us, prefers not to swan dive into the cesspool of American politics, told us this week.

And really, as an emblem of the horrors to come, that was as good as anything, a recognizable manifest absurdity that requires no explanation. If you know Omarosa, we can spare you Mike Flynn, and Jeff Sessions, and Ben Carson, and Rick Perry, and Secretary Exxon, and hey, how much time do you have? You get the point.

But, as we explained to our friend, this is still the Preshow. Trump holds no actual power yet. We may be getting a steady diet of announcements and tweets, but they’re still all digestible, even when they cause indigestion.

This will all change — dramatically — in two weeks. Après Obama, le deluge.

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The Cult of Persona

Even rats laugh.

If our life has been about anything, it has been comedy. Laugh-In may have been stuffed with rehashed vaudeville routines, but they were all new to our eight-year-old eyes and ears, and we tortured our father with recitations as soon as each episode was over. Mad magazine remains an enduring influence, down to our use of “department heads” on this website. The Seventies Sitcom Renaissance was ours to binge upon, capped by SNL debuting just when we were ready for it.

But our deepest love was stand-up, and we hit the sweet spot for that too, led by Cosby (sorry) and Carlin: One a master storyteller, the other a master of language itself. We didn’t listen to pop music in our teens; we bought comedy albums.

Which is why we were deeply intrigued this week when the chatter went around that Donald Trump never laughs in public.

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We Refuse to be Beaten Down

Screw kitty pix, we’re bringing out the big guns to deliver a hearty fuck you to 2016.

Debbie Reynolds, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Star and Carrie Fisher’s Mother, Dies at 84 [Variety]