January 15, 2019

Will Red Sox Eat Cold "Hamberders" At White House On February 15?

The Red Sox - winners of the 2018 World Series - will visit the White House on Friday, February 15.

The one sure thing about this visit is that Mookie Betts, David Price, Alex Cora, and everyone else associated with the Red Sox (including those from various "shithole" countries) will be shunted to the side as mere bit players to the event's Most Indispensible Person: Donald Trump. His pathological need to be the center of attention means that every event he attends must be all about him.

As I noted last month, I am absolutely against this bizarre practice of having the conquering heroes brought before the king and feted at the castle. I do hope, however, that the Red Sox are provided with a lunch a few steps above what the Clemson Tigers - national college football champs - were forced to choke down on Tuesday.

As Rachel Leah of Salon reports:
Boxes of McDonald's Big Macs and Filet-O-Fish, along with burgers from Wendy's and Burger King, stacked on silver trays, alongside fast food salads and a bounty of McNuggets. Fries and Domino's pizzas provided variety. Handfuls of sauce tubs piled inside grand gravy boats; the room's dim lighting aided by candlelight from gold candelabras. ... Trump, in his uniform of an ill-fitting coat ... grinned at the fast food feast before him as he told reporters that it was a spread of "great American food." ...

Adam Serwer from the Atlantic tweeted, "there’s a certain cleverness to the fast food ... at the White House as a metaphor for Trump presidency as false advertising and underwhelming results."

Championship athletes are usually served a meal from the White House kitchen, but due to the government shutdown, Trump decided to go in a different direction. ...

"If it's American, I like it. It's all American stuff," Trump told reporters, as if the fast food needed clarification on its origins. "300 hamburgers, many, many french fries — all of our favorite foods." [In a tweet early the next morning, Trump would lie and claim there were 1,000 burgers.]

"I thought this was a joke," one athlete can be heard saying in a video from the dinner. ...

To be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with fast food, but anyone who indulges knows there is a hierarchy, and McDonald's sits squarely at the bottom. ... [L]eave it to Trump to have even abysmal taste in fast food. ...

[T]he president boasted of the value meal dinner as a success on Twitter, inflating the amount of food and even initially misspelling hamburgers as "hamberders." He also repeatedly emphasized that he paid for the meal, out of his own self-professed billion-dollar pocket. ...

Trump's banquet serving his own drive-thru favorites only further proved his unmatched ability to center himself regardless of the occasion.

Helen Rosner, The New Yorker:
[S]erving a meal of fast food at a fancy gathering is not inherently a bad idea. ... No less glittery an event than the Vanity Fair Oscar party has served In-N-Out burgers to its throngs of the gorgeous and powerful. ... [But] if you hire In-N-Out and Shake Shack to do the catering at your event, they show up in person and sling their burgers fresh.

Trump's bulk order, on the other hand, was a dinner fighting against the odds. One imagines those poor sandwiches steaming limply inside their cardboard boxes on the drive to the White House, and during the fuss over arranging them on their silver platters ... and properly lighting the gilded candelabra. Then came the photo shoot: Trump, centered beneath a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, flinging his arms out behind this table of quick-serve abundance, in a gesture that's equal parts ownership and invitation. There is a particular awfulness to McDonald's or Burger King once it's gone cold. By the time America's greatest collegiate football players arrived ... to pick up porcelain plates and work their way through this cardboard buffet, the French fries would have grown cold and mealy, the burger buns soggy, the precise half slice of American cheese on each Filet-o-Fish sandwich hardened to a tough, flavorless rectangle of yellow.

Trump, in typical form, spun Monday's catering as ultimately the fault of his political opponents ... Trump, a purported billionaire, made a big deal out of the fact that he paid for the fast food out of his own pocket. ... "We went out and we ordered American fast food, paid for by me," Trump boasted to the reporters gathered before the fast-food spread, grinning his fast-food grin ... "Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza. Three hundred hamburgers. Many, many French fries."
Before the event, Trump told reporters that the meal was for "very large people that like eating."

January 5, 2019

Happy New Year

A belated Happy New Year for 2019!