Weekly Review — November 22, 2016, 5:16 pm

Weekly Review

White nationalists celebrate Trump’s election, and Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote margin of victory climbs to 1.7 million.

WeeklyReviewAvatar-Sherrill-WPPresident-elect Donald Trump announced several high-level appointments to his administration, naming Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo, who has called for the death penalty for Edward Snowden, as director of the CIA; Alabama senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who was denied a federal judgeship in the 1980s for making racist remarks, as attorney general; former Breitbart News editor Steve Bannon, who staffers said “aggressively pushed stories against immigrants, and supported linking minorities to terrorism and crime,” as chief strategist; and Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who has said that fearing Muslims is rational, as national-security advisor.[1][2][3][4] “Great,” said former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke.[5] The president of the Czech Republic urged Trump to appoint his ex-wife Ivana as an ambassador, and Trump’s 35-year-old son-in-law, Jared Kushner, explored the possibility of a White House position, despite a federal law banning presidents from hiring their family members.[6][7] It was reported that Trump is considering appointing former Texas governor Rick Perry as secretary of the Department of Energy, which, as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2011, Perry promised to eliminate.[8]

A San Antonio judge presiding over a naturalization ceremony told new citizens that if they don’t like Trump as the president-elect, they “need to go to another country”; Kansas secretary of state and Trump transition-team member Kris Kobach suggested that Trump was amenable to creating a registry for Muslim immigrants; and Trump’s chief-of-staff appointee, Reince Priebus, suggested that immigration from certain Muslim regions of the world would be temporarily halted.[9][10][11] The Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., hired a “director of diplomatic sales” to attract foreign dignitaries, and Trump denied an allegation from a reporter in Argentina that he had asked Argentine president Mauricio Macri for permission to build a new office building in Buenos Aires.[12][13] Syrian president Bashar al-Assad referred to the incoming Trump administration as a “natural ally,” President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines called Trump’s victory “well-deserved,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an told U.S. anti-Trump protesters to “show some respect,” and the leadership of North Korea said it did not care who won the election.[14][15][16] Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote climbed to 1.7 million votes.[17] “Heil victory!” shouted the attendees of a white-supremacist gathering celebrating Trump’s election in a federal building a few blocks from the White House.[18]

The vice foreign minister of China refuted Trump’s previous claim that climate change was a hoax invented by the Chinese government.[19] Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits against his for-profit college, Trump University, after being accused of unfair business practices, false advertising, fraud, and financial elder abuse. “Resolution of these matters,” said a spokesperson, “allows President-Elect Trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation.”[20] Trump used his Twitter account to attack negative coverage in the New York Times, to criticize the television program Saturday Night Live for being biased and unfunny, to complain about audience members booing vice president-elect Mike Pence at a performance of the historical hip-hop musical Hamilton, and to promote a story about how he saved a Ford automotive plant that was, in fact, never in jeopardy of closing.[21][22][23][24] An analysis found that “fake news,” or propaganda, websites generate more traffic on Facebook than major news outlets, and Oxford Dictionaries announced that the word of the year was “post-truth.”[25][26]

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It has become something of a commonplace to say that Mike Pence belongs to another era. He is a politician whom the New York Times has called a “throwback,” a “conservative proudly out of sync with his times,” and a “dangerous anachronism,” a man whose social policies and outspoken Christian faith are so redolent of the previous century’s culture wars that he appeared to have no future until, in the words of one journalist, he was plucked “off the political garbage heap” by Donald Trump and given new life. Pence’s rise to the vice presidency was not merely a personal advancement; it marked the return of religion and ideology to American politics at a time when the titles of political analyses were proclaiming the Twilight of Social Conservatism (2015) and the End of White Christian America (2016). It revealed the furious persistence of the religious right, an entity whose final demise was for so long considered imminent that even as white evangelicals came out in droves to support the Trump-Pence ticket, their enthusiasm was dismissed, in the Washington Post, as the movement’s “last spastic breath.”

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Just after dawn in Lhamo, a small town on the northeastern corner of the Tibetan Plateau, horns summon the monks of Serti Monastery to prayer. Juniper incense smolders in the temple’s courtyard as monks begin arriving in huddled groups. Some walk the kora, a clockwise circumambulation around the building. Others hustle toward the main door, which sits just inside a porch decorated in bright thangka paintings. A pile of fur boots accumulates outside. When the last monks have arrived, the horn blowers leaning out of the second-floor windows retire indoors.

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As he approached his death in 1987, the photographer Peter Hujar was all but unknown, with a murky reputation and a tiny, if elite, cult following. Slowly circling down what was then the hopeless spiral of ­AIDS, Peter had ceaselessly debated one decision, which he reached only with difficulty, and only when the end drew near. He was in a hospital bed when he made his will that summer, naming me the executor of his entire artistic estate—and also its sole owner.

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The truth—that thing I thought I was telling.—John Ashbery To start with the facts: the chapter in my book White Sands called “Pilgrimage” is about a visit to the house where the philosopher Theodor Adorno lived in Los Angeles during the Second World War. It takes its title from the story of that name by Susan Sontag (recently republished in Debriefing: Collected Stories) about a visit she and her friend Merrill made to the house of Adorno’s fellow German exile Thomas Mann in the Pacific Palisades, in 1947, when she was fourteen. It seemed strange that the story was originally …
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