The Zeitgeist Chronicle: July 24-July 30
This week is all about loyalty. Trump attacks Jeff Sessions over it, LeBron & Kyrie feud because of it, Trump’s new Communications Director practices it, and Kendrick & Rihanna rap about it.
Welcome to the Zeitgeist Chronicle. Every week we catch you up on the past week’s most interesting pop culture and news events. Sometimes it’ll be what everybody’s talking about, other times it may be something that’s not being talked about, but should. This week:
Trump v. Sessions
Last week, Donald Trump participated in an interview with The New York Times. Overlooking the fact that Trump has often referred to The New York Times as “failing” or “fake news” and still opted to do this interview, he took the opportunity to, among several things, bash Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who he appointed. This week, he continued the criticism, targeting Sessions in — as you would probably expect —tweets.
As with most things involving Trump, this goes back to Russia. Back in March, Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, which essentially acknowledges a potential conflict of interest. After Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey, it then was up to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint someone to head an independent investigation. That man was former-FBI Director Robert Mueller, who’s been a thorn in Thump’s side ever since, pushing him to the point of wanting to discredit him.
Trump now blames Jeff Sessions for Mueller’s investigation, believing that Sessions should not have recused himself, as his recusal ultimately resulted in his current predicament, even admitting he wouldn’t have appointed Sessions had he known he would recuse himself. Trump values and expects unquestioned loyalty, so the “beleaguered” Sessions (Trump has the best words!), to him, committed the heinous act of not taking a bullet for him.
LeBron v. Kyrie
Like Trump v. Sessions, this feud is also about a perceived lack of loyalty. Late last week, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Kyrie Irving had requested a trade and wanted out from LeBron’s shadow, listing the Knicks (he’s from New Jersey), Wolves (to play with Jimmy Butler), Spurs (even though his alleged desires are counter to Spurs culture), and Heat as desired destinations.
Word then got out, via ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, that LeBron was furious with Kyrie, and “would be tempted to beat his ass.” LeBron, in a Trump-like act, sent out a tweet saying the report was “#NotFacts” (i.e., #FakeNews). He also posted an IG video, which appears to be the NBA’s go-to way of subtweeting people now, of him listening to a new Meek Mill track about having a heavy heart.
Kyrie, who was amidst an extended tour of Asia with Nike Basketball, then posted an IG video of his own, on the flight back to the U.S., singing “I’m Coming Home.” Many read this as a shot at LeBron, who’s 2014 return to Cleveland was often backed by the same song. Of course, he was actually returning home after being away, but, in my experience, if something can be read in two different ways, it was most likely intended to be.
Inside the weeks of dysfunction surrounding Kyrie's trade demand
Over the years, LeBron James has become something of a social media savant. He uses it to shape narratives, raise…
Anthony Scaramucci: Communications Director; Trump Loyalist?
Last week, trump appointed Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci as his new Communications Director, a decision that led Press Secretary Sean Spicer to resign. In his introductory press conference, he heaped the following praise on Trump:
- “He’s an amazing politician.”
- “I’ve seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I’ve seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on. He’s standing in the key; he’s hitting foul shots and swishing them, all right? He sinks 30-foot putts.”
This week, Scaramucci came out guns blazing, targeting all the White House “leakers”, especially Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who he believes to be the main culprit. The following quotes are from his now-legendary interview with the New Yorker:
- “What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.”
- “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock…I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”
Scaramucci is clearly quite the character (most people with nicknames tend to be) and he seems to have pull, because Priebus resigned shortly after, with many believing Scaramucci is being groomed to be Chief of Staff, although Trump has already appointed a replacement. Scaramucci, however, did lead to the best quote of the week, from Seth Meyers, who gave a succinct and perfect description of him:
“He’s a human pinky-ring.” — Seth Meyers, on Anthony Scaramucci
All of this, then, makes the music video Kendrick released this week rather timely, relevant, and poetic.
“Tell me who you loyal to. Do it start with your woman or your man? Do it end with your family and friends? Or you’re loyal to yourself in advance?” — Rihanna
“Tell me who you loyal to. Is it money? Is it fame? Is it weed? Is it drink?
Is it comin’ down with the loud pipes and the rain? Big chillin’, only for the power in your name” — Kendrick Lamar