1. The @benyt piece from last night highlights Michael Wolff's seeming revelation about Steve Bannon doing p.r. consulting for Jeffrey Epstein & also asks about Wolff's own habit of hanging out with the likes of Epstein. There's more to this story.
2. Bannon doing p.r. work for Epstein raises more questions than answers, frankly. As @joshtpm notes, Epstein could have hired anyone in crisis management & that's not part of Bannon's skill set. Wolff's own relationship with Epstein suggests something more.
3. Wolff's Epstein ties are numerous. They met in late 1990s (Wolff's starry-eyed account part of 2007 New York magazine report), in 2003 Wolff organized an attempt to buy New York magazine with partnership of Epstein & Harvey Weinstein.
4. There's also the curious fact that Wolff tried to publish an Epstein-shaped piece on Epstein in New York. @AlexYablon has an illuminating account of trying to fact check that piece.
@AlexYablon 5. All of which is to suggest that there is much more to the Epstein/Bannon/Wolff story. Some more thoughts and pieces of the puzzle here: jeetheer.substack.com/p/clubby-monst…

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More from @HeerJeet

10 Sep
1. It's interesting to compare this New York Times op ed by Sami Sadat claiming Afghan forces betrayed by USA with this New Yorker account Sadat as a commander. ImageImageImage
2. There's nothing new, of course, with the Times giving op ed space to alleged war criminals (paging Doctor Kissinger). But the larger issue is that on Afghanistan, the media's go to experts are either USA military or American allies in Afghan government
3. The Western media covered Afghanistan the way it often covers the global South: with westernized, USA-aligned urban voices being elevated. Big problem in a predominately rural country where USA-led coalition never won allegiance of hinterland.
Read 4 tweets
24 Aug
1. The Green Knight is turning out to be a very divisive, polarizing movie. 87% positive among critics in Rotten Tomatoes but much more contentious among viewers (I've heard a fair bit of grumbling). I personally loved it but worth asking why.
2. The title and origins in chivalric romance might lead you to expect a rousing historical epic, but Green Knight offers a very cold, severe, distant past, a damp world lit only by fire, think Barry Lyndon.
3. Like some other recent films, Green Knight plays an insider/outsider game of trying to engage in film history (specifically Scorsese) while also reaching a wider audience. As Joker was to Taxi Driver, so Green Knight is to Last Temptation of Christ.
Read 5 tweets
16 Aug
1. What are the long term implications of the American right's flirtation with Orbanism? Tucker Carlson's shows are interesting in suggesting there is a mass audience for this politics but I think the longer lasting impact is going to be in cadre formation among elite.
2. Before Orban, there was Franco. A significant subset of National Review right, led by William F. Buckley's brother-in-law L. Brent Bozell, exalted the Spanish fascist as offering a viable and desirable alternative.
3. Bozell broke with Buckley and has been unfairly relegated into sidelines of history, but he represented an important, innovative branch of right that has had a lasting legacy: the integralist right (now joined by Protestant theocrats).
Read 4 tweets
12 Aug
Counterpoint: climate change is real.
I'm trying not to be glib about this. It's true that all human societies (or all animal societies for that matter) have faced crises since time immemorial. But in last century there is novel development of civilization ending problems: nuclear weapons & climate change.
Doom-mongering is bad, yes. But climate change (especially in context of nuclear armed states to fight future wars in resource wrecked world) really seems like something bigger than humanity has ever faced. And to date, species isn't doing a good job on it.
Read 6 tweets
11 Aug
1. The cult of Orban on the right has many sources, one strand of which is religion. Long before Carlson's pilgrimage to Budapest, white evangelicals were hailing Orban as a savior who figured out how to overcome the dreaded "demographic winter" of white decline.
2. "Demographic winter" is shorthand for the fear that the richer (white) countries aren't having enough babies and so will have to take in more immigrants. It's a big source of anxiety among white evangelicals
3. Orban has shrewdly courted white evangelicals, seeing them as a bridge to GOP and thus American foreign policy. In 2017, Orbán hosted in Budapest a meeting of the World Congress of Families, an important religious right group.
Read 4 tweets
10 Aug
1. With the Reactionary International, lobbying $$$ plays as much a role as ideology. Arthur J. Finkelstein, Paul Manafort & Roger Stone are emblematic figures who discovered the synergy you can get from acting as a bridge between USA right & foreign autocratic counterparts
2. It's hardly an accident that Tucker Carlson's dad is bigwig in firm that represents Orban. Not that there is a direct quid pro quo but rather that there is a small shared social world where lobbyist & right-wing media overlap.
3. An interesting precursor to the current Orbanolatry is the Pinochet cheerleading of the 1970s/1980s. One key example is William F. Buckley setting up with Nena Ossa (an agent of Chilean regime) the ostensibly private American-Chilean Council.
Read 6 tweets

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