The Seventh Circle of Zeitgeist

Every time a reporter has emailed me in the last few months, subject line, “I want to talk to you,” it’s been unclear what they’re emailing about. I have to reply, “Is this about a) Gawker/Thiel/Hogan, b) Jared Kushner/Donald Trump, or c) virtual reality?” Sometimes it’s fun feeling like you’re in the middle of the Zeitgeist, but this is just bizarro-land.

I discovered last week that an ex of mine is Trump’s ostensible pick to run the FDA, which is good news in the sense that he’s very, very smart–in fact, one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met–but maybe not good news for the FDA, in that he’d probably enjoy dismantling it. (Nonetheless, congrats, B.)

This week, it looks increasingly likely that Trump’s pick for SCOTUS is potentially William Pryor. Who I interned for in college! In the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. That said, I had lunch with him once but otherwise, we didn’t have a lot of interaction. Bill was a Tulane law grad and several of the people clerking for him were Tulane students. He was super conservative, a hardcore Federalist, charismatic, and the youngest AG in the country at the time, so the far right was pretty enamored with him.

I worked in the environmental division, putting together a policy memo on chemical weapons disposal related to a stockpile near Anniston, AL. (In retrospect, I’m almost surprised the AG’s office even had an environmental division given the state’s current stance on most environmental issues, which is more or less, “climate change doesn’t exist, and everything is fiiiine.”) It was a fun summer, though, and I learned quite a bit. (Perhaps most importantly, I learned that I did not want to be a lawyer.)

Conventional wisdom at the time was that Pryor was too conservative to ever make it to the federal level, but he did. I guess there really is no too conservative anymore. (I’d say the core Trumpists would probably draw the line at actual Nazis, but it seems that they haven’t.)

So if Elon Musk is right and we’re all living in a computer simulation, I feel like whoever designed mine must have watched Zelig.