This is an email from Everyday Drinking, a newsletter by Everday Drinking.
To New Beginnings
Instead of Champagne last night, I opened a weird dry Oregon gewürztraminer. It seemed a fine way to toast the strange times we live in.
In 2018, I published a very long travel feature in the Washington Post Magazine, in which I visited a number of the Trump vacation properties around the world — including the hotels in Panama and Vancouver (both no longer operating), the golf courses in Scotland, the ruins of the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the winery in Virginia. The editors wanted me to draw some sort of conclusion “through the eyes of a travel writer” about the weeks I spent in Trump World. So at the end of my 10,000 words of travel writing, I suggested:
But what if all that happens is that the country becomes more like his vacation properties? What happens if, after all the shouting and crying and offending and accusing and bragging and deregulating and delegitimizing, America’s reputation simply becomes defined as relentlessly mediocre? Perhaps in the great Golf Digest-like ranking of nations, the United States drops from being one of the top countries to being, say, the 46th or 54th best in the world.
While I’m proud of that feature, there is a certainly touch of naivete in hindsight. All I can say is, even in March 2018, we knew it would be bad…just how bad was really the question. On this 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, with a new president and a new beginning, we can finally begin to assess the damage and to recover and move forward.
Planet of the Grapes is about drinks and travel and food — and usually light on politics. But that doesn’t mean we don’t think about things, Nietzsche over pesto, mindfulness and rebirth over pour-over coffee, colonialism, slavery, and American hegemony over rum. In today’s newsletter, I’d like to highlight a few of our deeper reads.
— Jason Wilson