paper trail

A Pro-Trump Intellectual Journal; the New School's Don DeLillo Conference

Don DeLillo

A Sense of Direction author Gideon Lewis-Kraus has written a fascinating story about an intellectual journal inspired by Trump. It began in February 2016 with the blog The Journal of American Greatness, described by its founders as the “first scholarly journal of radical #Trumpism.” JAG folded before the election, but when Trump won, the contributors were faced with a dliemma: “What would it even mean to form an intellectual vanguard in the service of his ideas? On the one hand, with Trump in power, they presumably felt they might be able to exert some influence. On the other hand, Trump was inconsistent, impetuous, and bragged that he didn’t read.” Nonetheless, a handful of JAG’s staff have gone on to found a successor publication: American Affairs. Lewis-Kraus analyzes the new magazine’s political vision, and wonders, pointedly, if it can, while refusing to offer deep analysis of Trump’s policies, succeed at becoming a voice for the right-wing intellectual vanguard.

Later this week, the New School will host The Body Artist, a conference devoted to the work of Don DeLillo. Panelists include fiction writers and critics Joseph Salvatore, Matt Bell, Olivia Kate Cerrone, Anne Margaret Daniel, John Domini, John R. Keene, Albert Mobilio, Tracy O’Neill, and Ed Park.

Kuki Gallmann, the author of the bestselling book I Dreamed of Africa and one of Kenya’s most prominent conservationists, was shot over the weekend, after sending out a series of tweets in which she expressed alarm about the armed men who had invaded her ranch.

In an attempt to avoid conflicts of interests, first daughter Ivanka Trump has decided to not go on a reading tour to promote her new book, Women Who Work, which is scheduled to be released on May 2. She has also announced that she will donate all of the proceeds to charity. This is in keeping with other authors who have had close connections to presidents in the past: Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton both gave royalties earned from their books to charities. (The Huffington Post points out that President Trump himself said that he would donate proceeds from his book Crippled America to charity, but that he later disclosed that he earned as much as $5 million from sales of that book.)

Oprah Winfrey has denied charges that the HBO movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks exploits the story of the real-life Lacks, a woman whose cervical-cancer cells became the basis for a number of drug breakthroughs. Winfrey is the executive producer of the film, which is based on the book by Rebecca Skloot, and also plays the lead role. “Do I think the Lacks family should have been paid for all of those cells by all the millions of drug companies in the world who have used those cells…of course they should have,” Winfrey told Page Six. “Do I think that it’s now my responsibility or HBO to compensate for that, no. It was our job to bring the story to light and it is a shame that they were never compensated.”