paper trail

Ambivalent fan-fic about Donald Trump; Amy Schumer's come-hither book cover

Amy Schumer

On June 19, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a mock syllabus for a college course called Trump 101. This in turn inspired a number of professors to write a letter, calling the Trump syllabus “highly objectionable,” “intellectually dishonest,” and “irresponsible.” The letter points out that the CoHE syllabus has no books by writers of color, and that it “fails to include works on sexism, racism, whiteness, immigration, xenophobia, Islamophobia, or nativism.” Now, at the Public Books website, historians N. D. B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blain, who sought out advice from more than 100 scholars, have posted a far more thorough Trump Studies syllabus, which acts as both a response to the CoHE syllabus and an invaluable tool for anyone interested in “the past and present conditions that allowed Trump to seize electoral control of a major American political party.”

In a piece of fiction for—wait for it—the New York Times, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie imagines a day in the life of Melania Trump. Melania has the hots for her Pilates instructor (a black woman who Donald thinks should be teaching hip hop) and hates but bravely tolerates the prissy, scheming Ivanka. Donald struggles to get it up: “He kissed her, eager and dramatic and sweaty as he often was . . . and then fumbled and shifted and suddenly got up and said he had a phone call to make. Only then did she understand what had happened. They did not talk about it, but for a few days he had sulked and snapped, as though it were her fault.”

“The disconnect between the bluster, the bravado, the bombast, and this insecure, thin-skinned, hyper-reactive child” also interests the writer Mark Singer, whose 1997 New Yorker profile of Trump was an understated coup. VICE interviews Singer about his interactions with Trump and shares this excellent anecdote: “When the profile was collected in a book of Singer’s work, Trump denounced the writer in a letter to the New York Times Book Review, a piece of publicity that boosted the book’s sales. In gratitude, Singer sent Trump a thank-you letter and a check for $37.82, and Trump replied with a missive that called Singer a ‘TOTAL LOSER’—but the self-proclaimed billionaire also cashed the check.” Read the repackaged profile, and Singer’s fresh insights about the candidate, in his new book Trump and Me.

Upending expectations, Amy Schumer bares her entirely ink-free back on the cover of her forthcoming essay collection,The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, for which she received an advance of $8 million.

Gizmodo presents a richly illustrated book review of Dark Night, a memoir by television and comic book writer Paul Dini. Best known for his work on Batman: The Animated Series, Dini faces real-world demons in this graphic account of a long-ago mugging.