Friday links! Kulturkampf edition

Donald Trump quotes over images of Lucille Bluth

One of the most reliable depressants of the past nine months has been thinking about the kind of system Donald Trump rises to the top of. What sort of milk do we swim in, if he is the cream? The ready explanations are that America is a nation of morons, hucksters or, most alarmingly, both. It’s scary to consider. The fear we are talking about here is fear of culture. Conservatives have conspired with centrist newspaper columnist to make “culture war” the call of the nincompoop, but we do care where our culture goes, don’t we? There must be ways to make it better, such as reading, and probably ways to make it worse, such as stepsibling-themed pornography. Today is Friday, and kulturkampf is raging whether we enlist or not. Won’t you take a picnic basket up the hill with me?

First, the good news: President Trump said that building a wall along the Mexican border is “the least important thing we are talking about.” The bad news is he said so to Mexican president Peña Nieto while begging him to shut up about not paying for it. In leaked transcripts of his early diplomatic calls, Trump seems not to practice the art of the deal so much as beg for favors. He urges Nieto to stop publicly denying that Mexico will pay for the wall, even though one day earlier he tweeted that they would. “Just go along with my lie because it isn’t important” is not the message I want my president to bring to world leaders.

What is it about people who grew up rich that makes them such aggressive negotiators? It’s almost as though Trump owed his reputation not to his sense of deals but to his sense of entitlement. In their blithe disdain for other people’s opinions, his transcribed speech sounds like dialogue for Lucille Bluth. This is not my idea. Some genius at Buzzfeed superimposed quotes from Trump’s calls on images from Arrested Development. It is perfect

And I just threw up. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but typing is over. Sorry guys! I have to go throw up again.

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