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all right friends, we're almost there, the pizza is here, and so in (serious) gratitude to those of you all who chipped in already, and confident that others might join those ranks as we go along, let's do this: Chris Christie's LET ME FINISH - the live-tweet review experience
nothing is more alpha than starting your memoir by getting fired on page 1*

*Omarosa did this first
[does an immediate search for further occurrences of "grown-up" in the book, sees the phrase used to describe ... Paul Manafort]
we need a special word for that uncanny valley that yawns between "so stupid this might have actually happened" and "the usual self-aggrandizing Trump memoir lies"
courtiers trying to strike a delicate balance between flattering the emperor and insisting on their own indispensability to him has been a common trope of late imperial palace memoirs since at least the Byzantine era [starts opening veins with a pizza cutter]
(1) Christie's transition plans were literally thrown in the trash, LOL owned

(2) looks like somebody wants a job back ...
among other things, Christie suggests that, if only Trump had not fired him, he would have delivered "a border wall and a merit-based immigration policy."

a good place to stipulate: Chris Christie is a wretched man with heinous politics. I feel like we'll return to this theme!
oh, fuck you man, for so many reasons here
would it surprise you to know that Christie despises Jared Kushner ("the kid") whom "Steve Bannon, hotshot, big-balls campaign executive" was constantly having to carry water for? (you can hear Christie sneering through all this)
I take back everything I ever said about the practice, bring back dueling immediately and have these two assholes walk paces on the WH lawn ASAP
we *really* need a word for that undecideable quantum state hovering between too stupid and just stupid enough to be real
this is already almost unbearably insipid. "catching baseballs and the politics bug"? WTF?
and that's the introduction.

key theme: Trump would have gotten everything if only for the wicked viziers who couldn't handle our beautiful synergy

grade: C-
All right, on to the obligatory "formative youth experiences" chapter(s). NGL friends: we're blowing thru this shit looking for two things only

(1) Citizen Kane Rosebud moments


(2) Freudian primal scenes

... speaking of which
FTR, he's crying about starting to go to school. but don't worry, in time, and in words that sound totally unstilted, true, and real, "I came to love school: the academics, the athletics, the friendships, and all the rest of it."
so what you're saying here, Chris, is that your worries about Trump & Bannon dismissing you like "an errant child" kinda Hit The Real eh?
(sparing you many pages of Family Romance-style genealogy stuff, which even the ghost writer probably fobbed off on an intern or Ancestry.com)
I have no words here
when you have a Good Brain
aannnnd you don't need to know much more about Chris Christie's youth beyond the fact that he still resents (1) a NJ diner that instituted a minimum purchase charge on orders and (2) a kid (whom he names) who was a better catcher, took his place on the team, and wound up in MLB
shockingly, as a college student, Chris was an ambitious student government kid, and "more conservative" than any professor on campus, including the political science department. let those who have ears to hear, hear.
looks like it's time for some traffic problems in Fort Memory
why are any of us reading this shit, you may ask? good question!

also: I am dubious about this granularly remembered supposedly IKEA furniture in 1986, but I guess it's possible, IKEA first came to the US in '85
theme alert!
the book picks up pretty quickly from there, such that, suddenly, after a pathos-dripping encounter with Bruce Springsteen on an airplane, it's early 2001 and Christie is US AG for NJ.
this whole section (4 Chapters)

theme: I love politics, I am good at politics, my wife justifiably hates me, also I love Springsteen, who is introduced, like a pistol on an end-table in a Chekov play, just waiting to go off and own him

grade: D-
let's just pretend that didn't happen!

so anyway, Christie meets Trump for the first time after Trump's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry (who Christie says, admiringly, would've been called "a dame" in the 1950s) gets them to have dinner together. it's a, uh, vivid scene
nifty tidbit: after the dinner, Trump blows off a pair of random tourists who want to take a photo with him by saying, "Sweetheart, let’s do this next time we get together." and then disappearing in a limo. nice!
Trump later gets Christie and his long-suffering wife a table at Le Cirque for her birthday, then pays for their meal; Christie, who is still a Federal employee, is thus in a dubious position. he mails Trump a check, and then this happens.
I am not sure whether or not I buy all of that above. but this bit - where Trump calls Christie to gossip after NJ Governor Jim McGreevey resigns due to a sex scandal, rings so plausible (and gratuitous) it's painful
the Christies go to Donald and Melania's wedding, where Chris observes Bill and Hillary Clinton for the first time, and volunteers this totally not overdetermined description of the latter
the chapter about Charles Kushner being a sleazy, conniving piece of shit is about what you'd expect, and largely already public record, no text screenshots necessary
the AG chapters

key themes: I had some nice meals, and Jim Comey got a better ghostwriter

Grade: yawn
this scene takes place as Chris deliberates running for governor; let's hope for his sake Mary Pat's changed her stance since!
OK a kind of delightful scene here, at the 21 Club, during one of their regular "couples dinners" with Don and Melania, when Don reveals to a very uncomfortable CC who his soon-to-be son-in-law's dad is. worth remembering here - these people all deserve each other!
celebrating his election to governor, Christie takes time out to tell the people around him about the biggest danger facing Successful Politicians who Dream Big: Fake Friends.

it's almost like he's pitching another audience here - too bad Don can't read and also doesn't care!
you know you're reading a book in the Trump WH Memoir Canon when there's an obligatory scene where some asshole relates they TOTALLY would have gone BEAST MODE on this other dude but OTHER PEOPLE held him back
the bits on NJ politics are surprisingly thin (or thankfully so depending on your perspective). we spend more time on the mortgages the Christies paid for their apartments in the '80s than we do on the state budget! no doubt it's all lies too but I'll defer to my NJ friends there
on to my man's presidential ambitions in '11/'12, and this grotesque scene featuring David Koch, sundry billionaires, and Henry fucking Kissinger. tl;dr: Kissinger knows Good Brain when he sees it!
"It was hard not to be moved by outpourings like this—the billionaires in New York, the Reagan crowd in California."

kill me please
I will say this about Christie's book: it certainly doesn't sneak anything past the audience it knows is going to skip the first 2/3 of it
reflecting on Hurricane Sandy, and his reception of President Barrack Obama, who came to survey the damage, Christie volunteers: I'm Sicilian, I know hugs, that weak shit was no hug
I suspect that this is as good as my man is going to get all book
something I did not know: Trump first introduced Christie to the existence of lap-band surgeries in '05, telling him: "Forget about whether you’re going to die of a heart attack or a stroke. Forget that. You gotta look better to be able to win.” make of that what you will.
the fort lee traffic shit feels like a lifetime ago, but reading this I can't help but have the dim sense that his ubiquitous use of the passive voice .. is a little ... off
oh god once these names once somehow mattered to me: Bridget Kelly, Bill Stepien. now gone, gone, lost in time, like tears in the rain
wow, who could have anticipated that the way to understand this whole mess was bad advisors subverting the pure best intentions of their boss! goddamn Fake Friends strike again! don't you agree, donald? donald? are you there, donald? it's me, chris!
LOL both Christie's own son and George Bush approached Christie at the height of the scandal, quietly, to ask him if he had actually done it LOL
I just can't process the dense thicket of blame shifting and narrative reframing that are the Bridgegate chapters, I can't, I'm sorry, they're so bad. just remember this, which is my only takeaway: his own son had to ask him if he was guilty.
part three, the governorship and bridgegate chapters (too man of them)

theme: let me tell you about my blue fleece, do you remember that, it was big for a while

grade: not even worth it
now this is the vapid vindictive pap people will buy the book for!
TFW Donald Trump has more faith in you than your own family
Kissinger again! During the Republican primaries, Christie writes, "I was even receiving monthly tutorials from Henry Kissinger, who seemed happy to school me like I was one of his long-ago Harvard graduate students."

Christie is such a sadsack dupe sometimes it's almost sad
[extremely $500 an hour psychoanalyst voice] Freud writes of the Navel of the Dream, the core unconscious fantasy or fear that eludes easy interpretation or even awareness itself. This ... is not that.
[nodding so vigorously my neck snaps] this totally happened, for sure, during the RNC debates, 100% no question, as described here
this episode - John Kasich calling Christie after Christie dropped out in '16 - is *golden*.
they're on the campaign trail together now, Christie having endorsed Trump after Trump supposedly begged him to. it's boring but this scene is *chef's kiss*
the first time Christie meets Jared, Trump summons Christie (on his anniversary!) to a meeting wearing gym gear, orders bacon for him, and then ignores the debate prep Christie specializes in. the micro-dynamics of dominance playing out here are amazing
reminder: Chris Christie is a bad person with heinous politics

also, given that: when Chris Christie uses the same weak-ass euphemisms as Bob Woodward, maybe we should re-evaluate the place of Bob Woodward too
Christie is upset with people "vilifying" and "demonizing" Stephen Miller, saying it's "unfair."
"At the very end of March, another grown-up arrived. At sixty-eight, Paul Manafort had certainly been around."

Paul Manafort then promptly *falls asleep* during a one-on-one meeting with Christie, this rules
turns out Christie introduced Trump to Mike Pence (whom he had raised money for with the Republican Governor's Association). they meet, and, as they are about to leave, Pence does this:
(cracks knuckles, rubs hands together eagerly)
Jared tries to derail Christie's (tokenistic) appointment to the (ultimately irrelevant) transition team because of what Christie describes "raw feelings" about Christie's prosecuting his father
oh my
later, Trump, Christie, and Mike Flynn (whom Christie distrusts) do a pre-election national security meeting chez the FBI. this then supposedly happens, and it's gross.
Christie thinks Flynn is sketchy, an "ignorant blowhard" and an "unguided missile." when he tries (supposedly) to warn Trump about him, Trump will have none of it:

"He was with me early, He’s my first general. He’s a smart guy. He’s got a lot of experience.”
the intrigue picks up; Manafort and Jared oust Lewandowski, etc. none of this is particularly novel as best I can tell. there are also many pages of Christie trying to Show His Work on the transition team, pages both boring and pointless, since Trump ultimately ignores all of it
frankly there's a lot of Christie-Jared drama but it's salience/novelty is constrained by the fact that Christie clearly wants back in with Trump and can only push so far and tattle so much
Christie's briefly (but legitimately) given the impression that he's Trump's first pick for VP; heaven help me I'm almost gleeful waiting for the reversal
Trump strings him along even MORE LOLOL
Christie finds out when - wait for it - NJ state troopers call to tell him Mike Pence is landing in Bergen County, NJ to meet with Trump. But then *TRUMP DENIES IT FOR A THIRD TIME AND SAYS HE'S STILL DECIDING.*
time is a flat circle baby
here's Chris Christie, trying to salvage some sort of meaningless criterion of decency from the distinction without a difference that obtains between his anaphoric "guilty or not guilty?" and Flynn's "lock her up" at the RNC
"It made no sense to be engaging with Gold Star parents in this way. It was throwing gasoline on a bad story."

TFW you get to the point in a book where the ghostwriter just stopped trying
I mean, who knows what happened in this meeting, but yeah, this about Woodward is true. but yet, and I never thought I'd say this, this memoir would probably be much less boring with more Bannon.

also hey remember the wolff book? yeah I barely remember it too and I reviewed it
moderately novel: when presented with the access hollywood tape news, Christie says Trump twice insisted to those around him it wasn't his voice, and only said it was after listening to it in a room with everybody
somehow I have not grown tired of this "X did Y and Z [graf break] NOW look where they are" trope, probably because it's the only prose device of any interest in the book and Christie's targets for it are all pretty much all ghouls to begin with
the Trump WH Memoir Universe is the answer to the question, What if Rashomon but it's a bunch of right wing grifter assholes and assorted media hangers-on who all deserve each other going around in circles forever?
"Here’s the real truth: Steve Bannon is a fraud, a nobody, and a liar...[on a] never-ending mission to diminish others and rehabilitate himself."
Amazing. In a scene that is NOT OVERDETERMINED AT ALL, the night of Trump's win, on the way to announce victory in Trump Tower, Jared - who plans on destroying Christie to avenge his own dad, Charlie - has *Christie's son* take a creepy ass photo of them together
And then Jared gets his revenge: Christie's elaborate plans for the transition thrown in the dumpster - quite literally, binders of them, trashed. Yet somehow Christie *still* doesn't seem to get that the point of that gig was to neutralize him *all along.*
even despising the man, this is painful
And then - just to twist the knife - Jared and then Trump call Christie to dangle the possibility of his becoming RNC Chair - only to give it someone else. *Again.*
amazing how Chris Christie could remember and write all this selflessly I-told-you-so testimony while suspended on a actual cross
this is what all those "and now look" bits were building up to: showcasing the cruel fate of the biggest victim, America, which, had only Chris's binders been heeded, would enjoy a much more legally defensible Muslim travel ban now. what a tragedy, thank you for your service
man can we get those binders out of a landfill still? because they sound like they could have fixed EVERYTHING. save for the minor fact that, you know, everyone in the administration is a crook
sure he was, chris, sure he was.
I'm dying, this is glorious, like if Buñuel did "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"
the rest of the book really is just Christie I-told-you-so-ing on any subject imaginable, hitting the reader on the head with his one rhetorical device over and over and over
oh wait there's a forgettable chapter about that forgettable episode where this truly forgettable man was photographed sunning himself on the governor's beach, a moment I and I suspect you had entirely forgotten but Chris now wants us to relitigate, you can miss me with that man
TIL the media are the biggest Fake Friends, so glad you could find some peace Chris
"The Donald I know is smarter than that" says man with a Good Brain while en route to yet another dinner where the friend he knows so well will order red meat for him despite his doctor's orders and then own him in front of his wife.
he is really hung up about those fucking binders. almost like they symbolized something ... else. at least Chris's wife has signalled that she's OK living with a man consumed by regret, amirite?
Please Remove Me From The Trash
all right, that's it, that's all of it, thank god there isn't any more of this, the worst major Trump memoir yet. perhaps I'll have some more thoughts tomorrow, but for now, thank you all for coming on - and subsidizing - this thrilling journey. goodnight!
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