Can you believe this phenomenon? Isn't it incredible?

Even though he's still a mindless jerk who'll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes, Michael Wolff has written a pretty fun profile of Donald Trump for the Hollywood Reporter. It must have been rather astonishing for Wolff to finally meet a bigger narcissist than himself.

The big news get from the article is Yet Another Thing Donald Trump Is Clueless About, which made for excellent Twitter fodder when the article was published Wednesday: Trump, who knows about foreign policy from watching the shows, has apparently never heard the phrase "Brexit" to describe Britain's upcoming referendum on whether it should leave the European Union:

"And Brexit? Your position?" I ask.




"The Brits leaving the EU," I prompt, realizing that his lack of familiarity with one of the most pressing issues in Europe is for him no concern nor liability at all.

"Oh yeah, I think they should leave."

Wolff actually gave a far more detailed explication of the conversation on Wednesday's All In with Chris Hayes, explaining the moment of blankness that came over Trump's face and his immediate blustering reply:

Wolff explained to Hayes,

I was kind of panicked for him ... I finally had to explain, and when I said "The Brits leaving the EU," OK, he got that. But 'Brexit' ... It's probably the word most frequently used in the British press over the last six months. Nothing. Blankness.

As for Trump's immediate confident "opinion" that Britain should definitely leave the EU, Wolff explained such potentially controversial statements don't seem to take up a lot of space in Trump's head anyway:

The important thing is, he wasn't interested in giving an explanation. He was interested in moving off that topic, to talk about himself.

The same goes for Trump's denial that he'd ever met rightwing Italian politician Matteo Salvini, who makes no secret of his neofascist leanings. Never mind that the Wall Street Journal had quoted Trump as saying "Matteo, I wish you become the next Italian premier soon," or that Trump was photographed with Salvini at an April rally in Pennsylvania, a picture from Salvini's Twitter feed Hayes was only too happy to put onscreen in the intro to his interview with Wolff.

When Wolff asked Trump about Salvini, he insisted he'd never met the guy, and "didn't want to meet him." Further, Wolff says,

he doesn't particularly see similarities -- or at least isn't interested in them -- between those movements and the anti-immigrant nationalism he is promoting in this country.

But why would Trump lie about it, apart from being a transparent pathological liar who knows you know he knows he's lying? Wolff explained to Hayes that he genuinely couldn't tell whether Trump's denial was motivated by political calculation, not wanting to be associated with Salvini, or whether there's simply no more fascinating topic to Donald Trump than Donald Trump:

I can't tell you if that's his motive, or if the motive -- and I think this is just as strong -- is, "I don't want to be bothered with that now. I don't want to talk about that now. I want to talk about me right now. Why bring this up? It doesn't interest me."

Wolff certainly isn't the first journalist to notice that Trump always has to bring the conversation back to what a terrific, interesting guy he is, but this Hollywood Reporter profile is a gem of the genre:

"Have you ever seen anything like this?" he asked. He meant this, the Trump phenomenon. Circumventing any chance that I might dampen the sentiment, he quickly answered his own question: "No one ever has."

His son-in-law, New York Observer owner Jared Kushner, married to his daughter Ivanka and also a real estate scion -- but clearly a more modest and tempered fellow, a wisp next to his beefsteak father-in-law -- offered that they may have reached 100 percent name recognition. In other words, Trump could be the most famous man in the world right now. "I may be," says Trump, almost philosophically, and referencing the many people who have told him they've never seen anything like this. "Bill O'Reilly said in his lifetime this is the greatest phenomenon he's ever seen."

That notion is what's at the center of this improbable campaign, its own brilliant success. It's its main subject -- the one you can't argue with.

We get the usual stuff about Trump's obsession with polls: he can't tell you anything about technology policy, but he knows exactly how many followers he has on every possible social media platform, and Wolff can't shake the sense that Trump is always onstage one way or another, that the "real" Donald Trump is whatever Donald Trump happens to exist in any given moment, although he seems to try hard to be nicer in one-on-one conversation than at a podium.

As Wolff is leaving, he manages his other big scoop of the interview, one more variation on the theme of Donald Trump the empty designer suit:

I ask that de rigeur presidential question, which does not seem yet to have been asked of him. "What books are you reading?"

He knows he's caught (it's a question that all politicians are prepped on, but who among his not-bookish coterie would have prepped him even with the standard GOP politician answer: the Bible?). But he goes for it.

"I'm reading the Ed Klein book on Hillary Clinton" — a particular hatchet job, which at the very least has certainly been digested for him. "And I'm reading the book on Richard Nixon that was, well, I'll get you the exact information on it. I'm reading a book that I've read before, it's one of my favorite books, All Quiet on the Western Front, which is one of the greatest books of all time." And one I suspect he's suddenly remembering from high school. But what the hell.

Yeah, sure. He's rereading All Quiet on the Western Front. We can hardly wait for journalists to ask him some follow-up questions about that great antiwar classic he may have skimmed over fifty years ago when he was at military school, where he felt exactly like he'd served a tour of duty. Knowing Trump, he won't even bother looking at the Cliffs Notes, because he happens to know that's one of his favorite books, and why would you doubt him on that?

[Hollywood Reporter / MSNBC]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.

In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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