This Week: Mueller Time — with Seth Berman, Andrew Bacevich and David Bromwich. Listen today at 2pm on WBUR or anytime on our website.
“Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” Read it all and weep. And then score another W for Donald Trump. If not for all those leaks, tweets and court filings it might have amounted to the blockbuster the Dems were hoping for; instead, it’s been the same old sad story that we’ve normalized and become psychically numb to.
What did we know and when did we know it? Maybe that Donald Trump is an untrustworthy, paranoid, incurious, vulger, corrupt, double-dealing mobster, unfit for the presidency, but we elected him anyway, and we’ve had his number for decades? There was no crime and no conspiracy, maybe because he never wanted to be president in the first place, and the lies and deceit to stop the investigation were more about his fragile ego and a panic that a narrative about an illegitimate president would take shape. Trump’s henchmen saved him from his worst impulses (here’s the list), and we’ve known all along Mueller was never going to indict him anyway. So where are we now, and how will history treat this exercise?
Andy Bacevich mourned the things we haven’t been doing over the last two years and the investigations we didn’t launch — about the complaints and circumstances of a country that elected Donald Trump in the first place. Read his powerful piece: Seven Myths the Trump Presidency Has Destroyed.
Jump into the comments thread from this show (and the first Mueller show) and keep this conversation going. Our friend Darryn gets us started:
Towards the end of your hour long interrogation there was a moment of convergence where you all discussed the obvious: Robert Mueller was never going to do the work that our broken politics fails to do and that our Trump remedy is ultimately at the ballot box in 2020 and beyond. I don’t know if you remember this moment, but way back in 2017 you mentioned seeing a sign at one of the big demonstrations on the Boston Common that read “Democrats: You Did This To Yourself”. So we’re right back to where we’ve always been since the 2016 election- deep distrust of our prominent political parties and institutions, a fecklness Democratic Party establishment and a combative Trump who can claim triumph and vindication.
Next Week: Tree Power
Our host will be in China next week, so we’re taking the opportunity to re-run one of our favorites. Our guest, Richard Powers, won a Pulitzer this week for his novel The Overstory.
Take an opportunity to get caught up on some of our past shows: Bauhaus, Esperanza Spalding, Gene Editing, and Frederick Douglass with another 2019 Pulitzer winner, David Blight.
Aretha Franklin was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize’s Special Citation, “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”
Franklin is one of less than a dozen musicians — and the first female artist — to receive this prize; previous winners include Rodgers & Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan and, most recently in 2010, Hank Williams.
Our Aretha show, on the occasion of the film Amazing Grace, will air the first week of May. While you’re waiting, read our guest Ed Pavlic’s piece Aretha Franklin’s Soul.
We have a small cameo in Homecoming, the new concert film and documentary Beyonce’ has written, narrated, directed and produced after headlining last year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The film is also a tribute to America’s historically black colleges and universities. Beyonce’s production company reached out to us to ask to use a bit of Cornel West from our James Baldwin show (@1:40:00). It’s an incredible film, with mind-bending performances by Beyonce’ and more than 200 musicians and dancers. If anyone comes close to Aretha’s level of badass talent it’s Bey.
Open Sourcerer Darryn shared this piece from our pal Nathan Robinson who pointed out that even Karl Rove thought Bernie schooled the Fox news crowd the other night. Bring it!
McKinsey takes Puerto Rico. Masha Gessen on the Mueller Report. Ruth Wilson Gilmore and prison abolition. Jedediah Britton-Purdy on Greg Grandin’s The End of Myth. Ben Taub on Guantanamo Bay. A biography of Claude Lévi-Strauss.
That’s all for this week! Like, subscribe, follow, and consider supporting us.
❤ the OS team