I woke up this morning, which is always a blessing, but it felt even more so today. Like many Americans, I’d gone to bed to thoughts of the president launching a nuclear war with North Korea. Yesterday, he’d seemingly threatened one, crossing his arms and telling a reporter, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Lying in bed this a.m., I came across a compelling theory, by Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star. Dale cited a number of instances of the president using the phrase “the likes of which the world has never seen” — in 2012 about spikes in the price of corn, in 2016 about the size of a Chinese fort in the ocean, and just minutes before the North Korea quote, about his stance on border security.
The argument is that the president has a hyperbolic pet phrase, which means in itself very little:
Without the “like the world has never seen,” Trump’s remarks about “fire and fury” could conceivably have been taken to mean any kind of military strike. With the “like the world has never seen,” the comments are an unmistakable threat of nuclear annihilation.
If one chooses to believe it’s the former, a writer at Politico argues, then Trump is not so different than past presidents.
Here at The FADER, we’ve been having some discussions lately about our place when it comes to straight political coverage. Some feel that, in a bleak world, it’s incumbent upon us to provide a space outside of the horror, where readers can think about everything other than, for example, looming atomic destruction. Others see music as intrinsically connected to the "outside world" — as commentary, both implicit and explicit — and believe we should engage politics head-on.
As editor, I’m supposed to know where we fit in and have the conviction to make it so. Truthfully, I go back and forth. We’re always going to publish stories that challenge racism and sexism and transphobia, and often the best way to tell those stories is by talking directly to activists, academics, and critics — to be responsible people in media not just by writing artist profiles that contain social justice sub-themes, but by being explicit. And we're always going to write posts about things that simply make us smile.
Right now, I know four things. There’s a rash on my side that won’t go away, and a disturbing amount of debt attached to my name. But I'm not dead yet. I'm here, and because I'm here I can tell you all to listen to “Otter Pop.”
So listen to “Otter Pop.”