January 21, 2017 (Saturday)

by Yule Heibel on January 20, 2018

I’m in a tiny hotel room in Cambridge, where I’ll be staying till tomorrow. Yesterday, in between exercising, getting cleaned up, having breakfast, packing for the weekend, and boxing up the electronics I was taking into Cambridge for [company’s] free e-cycling offer, I listened to and watched Trump’s inauguration.

It was surreal – on several fronts. First, I wanted to hear the NPR coverage, but that’s radio, so I livestreamed the visuals on YouTube (NBC, I think). Except: there was a one to two second lag between what NPR was describing in real time and what was coming across visually online. So that was weird.

Next, the commentary basically kept looking for the negatives, albeit more in what was said, not what was seen. So, for NPR, Trump’s use of the word “carnage” was really made a lot of. The visuals looked weird because Trump really looked almost sick to his stomach – until, that is, he got into his speech. Michelle Obama looked positively venomous, like she wanted to kill someone (anyone in the Trump family, it seemed). George W. Bush looked like a happy monkey (seriously), and Bill Clinton looked slightly addled. Hillary Clinton kept up a seasoned front. Trump seemed more interested in talking to Ivanka, who sat to the right of Melania, who in turn was to the right of Trump. You have to wonder about Ivanka’s ambitions, and if she didn’t contribute a lot to hatching Trump’s presidential ambitions. Melania certainly didn’t look thrilled by them, although she did flash moments of real pride in her husband, I thought. Well, the speech was very populist. It did have some dark tones (the “carnage” thing, and empty factories littering the land “like tombstones”), but it was populist in a way that can’t sit too well with establishment Republicans.

Of course social media was in freakout mode. I briefly went to Facebook and saw at at least four posts retailing the media story that “the White House” had removed all references to LGBT rights and climate change from the website, and that Melania Trump was selling her jewelry line (“promoting it”) there (on the White House site). Turns out that the jewelry thing gets mentioned as part of her official biography as First Lady (there’s no link to her website, though), and Snopes pointed out that the other material (LGBT & climate change) was Obama’s own, which migrated over to his new website, and that the Trump administration would now be repopulating the White House website with its own stuff as it accrues. But oh no, let’s just all panic and freak out. Ridiculous.

Anyway. In to Cambridge, parked for free (all weekend: score!) in the Marriott / public garage at Kendall, got the e-waste upstairs, sneered at the Googlers who work in the building and could be seen riding the elevators as the day was ending (and who all seem to be 13 years old – ageist, moi?), then took the T to Harvard Square to check in to Hotel Veritas. Eventually we went out for a bite (Daedelus), checked out Adams House (but didn’t go to the party), walked a few blocks down Mass Ave (past the old Dolphin, now a sushi restaurant), before going back to the hotel for an early night. In a Tibetan / Himalayan-themed shop I bought some incense which just sends me. It’s nice being in Cambridge for a bit, not worrying about driving home late at night.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: