December 11, 2018

We expect vicious anti-Trump bias on CNN and MSNBC and other so-called news outlets.  We can choose to tune in or not (I choose not; the bile and misinformation there is too pervasive).  What gets to me is the anti-Trump infection that is now unavoidable because it has spread throughout our culture, rotting late-night TV (and comedy overall), daytime TV (exhibit A:  “The View”), on-campus dialogue, editorial pages, fashion magazines, entertainment publishing, the film industry, most of the music industry, and just about everything else.  Some sort of slam at Trump is now essentially obligatory.  I now include...(drum roll, please)...detective novels.  And articles about detective novels.

Now, I love detective novels and am a particular fan of ‘40s-and-’50s-era film noir, but I admit I haven’t read THE FERAL DETECTIVE, the eleventh novel by Jonathan Lethem.  Dallas Morning News culture critic Chris Vognar tells me all I need to know about this book, though, in his December 9 article about Lethem and his approach to the story that uses extensive quotes from the author.  It has inspired me to slip into my own role as “culture critic” and reiterate how sick I am of seeing Trump-hatred turning up EVERYWHERE.

Commentary continues below advertisement

As Lethem tells it, he was blithely starting work on his new novel when something unexpected happened:  Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election.  Suddenly, he just didn’t care about writing any more:  “How could I possibly begin that book, or any book, today?”  What would be the point of going on?  What could he do?  The only way he could continue was to make the protagonist of his story, Phoebe, “the perfect vessel” for his own “sadness and rage.”  He assumed Phoebe would be even more outraged “because she was a woman.”  Over coffee with Vognar in New York, he said, “She [Phoebe] had something like my female friends’ and my wife’s sensation, that this was in their faces and pulling the rug out from under their idealism about human beings and gender even more violently than I personally felt.”


As I say more and more often these days, give me a break.  Obviously, Lethem is assessing the views of all women by looking at his wife’s leftist New York friends.


Vognar explains, “Phoebe...serves as Lethem’s voice of political distress.  She has left her job with the New York Times, largely because the editorial board agreed to meet with Trump.”  Or, as the character refers to him, “the Beast-Elect.”  So, this character actually leaves her job with the NYT because her superiors at a NEWSPAPER are going to take a meeting with the future President of the United States.  Considering that she then partners with a “gumshoe” to help solve a case, I have to ask:  how can Phoebe, with her mindless anger, reflexive responses, confirmation bias and closed-mindedness, possibly make a good detective? 


“THE FERAL DETECTIVE,” Vognar writes, “ a work of what will eventually be categorized as Trump-era fiction...[The book] offers a cockeyed meditation on lost ideals and age-old hostilities drawn across gender lines..[it’s about] an angry woman on a mission.  And a desert full of lost ideals.”


We’re deluged with hyperbole such as this today because Donald Trump won the election against Hillary Clinton –- a woman, but an eminently unlikable, dishonest and secretive woman who has skirted laws for many years in a variety of ways that would put you and me in prison.  I (along with most people who lean right) would love to see a woman ascend to the Presidency, but not that woman, no way in the world.  I’m willing to put up with Trump’s cringe-worthy tweets if that’s what it takes to keep that woman and her cronies --- male, female, whatever --- away from power.  And I’m sick of encountering tripe like this that assumes I, as a woman, must be upset that she lost.  On the contrary, I'm relieved.  Maybe it’s time to write just one novel that reflects that, although I imagine it would have to be self-published.




Leave a Comment

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.

Your Information
Your Comment
BBML accepted!

Leave A Comment

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.

Your Information
Your Comment
BBML accepted!

Comments 1-8 of 8

  • Amelia Little

    08/04/2019 05:56 PM

    Even clear into Aug 2019, I avoid political shows (which I deem all msm media to be--they don't report news--except false/fake stories) except Huckabee and Life, Liberty and Levin. I watch some of Hannity, Tucker and Ingraham--but as soon as they start in with all the unhinged montages of msm--I turn the channel. The crime channels, Food channel--no politics on those, thank goodness!!! As for books--I only liked true crime books-the selection has decreased since the death of Ann Rule.

  • Kristy Nickell

    12/12/2018 10:55 AM

    The reason why Trump Derangement Syndrome seems to be everywhere is because the left understands something that very few conservatives have a handle on. When you control the media, the entertainment, the government, the educational system, and high profile business in a counry, you control the country. So even if the true die-hard leftists are a very small fraction of the population, they are intentionally in control of everything necessary to make the average person think they are everywhere and to therefore sway public opinion in their favor because conservatives FEEL outnumbered. Conservatives desperately need to learn this!! We sat back and did nothing while they quietly gathered up everything they needed. Trump is a God-sent stop-gap to give us some time to get our act together, and we had better do it!

  • charlotte keene

    12/12/2018 08:56 AM

    Please read "the President is Missing" James Patterson and Bill Clinton. Did not mention Trump by name, but read between the lines and you know who it truly is about. Great book, lover Patterson's books, but Bill Clinton was not the selling point.

  • Dawn Street

    12/12/2018 12:33 AM

    I love detective stories and murder mysteries but this is one author I will be avoiding!! I am so sick of Trump Derangement Syndrome and the craziness it springs from.

  • Theresa Bates

    12/11/2018 07:50 PM

    No one should ever assume that just because I'm a woman, I admire or would like to see as president a woman as vile and unworthy as Hillary Clinton. No one should ever assume that all women are "pro choice," "pro-Hillary," "pro-anything else [fill in the liberal leftist leaning blank]". That is assuming that we are all a bunch of ewes following blindly along a line designed to suck us in to some sort of false solidarity. I'm really sick and tired of the liberal media assuming all women think alike. Their female friends agree with them; they do not agree with me. Those crazies on The View are just angry about nearly everything, and their behavior is so inappropriate. I wonder what is in their contracts that prompts ABC to keep them on the air despite their declining ratings. As far as I'm concerned, they were never hired, so -- I guess they can't be fired. I do not watch them on purpose, but I've seen enough of them while sitting in waiting rooms that I gotta say, those people in whose waiting rooms I was sitting are lucky they still have tv's.

  • Rayetta K Osburn

    12/11/2018 03:44 PM

    It is brainwashing....Is this from Orwell too ?

  • Jerri Miller

    12/11/2018 10:53 AM

    I agree, I "would love to see a woman ascend to the Presidency, but not that woman, no way in the world." I want the first woman President to be someone I can be proud of, and that younger women would want to emulate.

  • Sharon Evans

    12/11/2018 10:06 AM

    Laura, This article reflects my feelings exactly. I could not agree more!