From 9/11 to 45: How Will We Remember Trump, USA?

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Whither memory: Guantanamo W. Bush paints over his legacy.

Hello from the future!

Inspired (triggered?) by last week’s commemorations of 9/11, we get a bit contemplative. How will future generations remember (or suppress) the events of the Trump era, especially the mass death of Covid-19? We discuss state-sanctioned memory in the US and China, how Trump has effectively rehabilitated George W. Bush, and Paul Krugman’s tweet threads (1, 2) about 9/11 and Islamophobia. We conclude with a listener question about how a “corporate Asian” should be.

0:00 – Yet another 9/11 anniversary provokes an imagined retrospective of the Trump era. How will we remember, or try to forget, these years under 45? Andy compares Chinese and US history and how state-sanctioned political narratives have domesticated personal memory and trauma. Tammy and Jay disagree over how we remember the 1960s, and we wonder how the explosive protest movements of 2020 will go down in history: will they be reduced to aesthetic commodity? Bonus: plugs for W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants and Agnès Varda’s Black Panthers.

47:38 – Economist and NYT columnist Paul Krugman got in trouble for Twitterasing/ retconning the Bush administration’s Islamophobic policies and wars in the Middle East as genteel by comparison to Trump. Do his arguments have any merit? Plus, Jay previews his libretto for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s forthcoming coronavirus musical (coming to Broadway in 2026), and we examine the absurd unreliability of hate crimes statistics (tsk tsk, Krugman) in the context of anti-Asian violence.

1:19:05 – TTSG listener Gestational Yuppie asks how Asian Americans should deal with their guilt for outwardly working corporate jobs while inwardly harboring leftist politics, leading all three hosts to do some soul-searching.

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