The Week When President Trump Resigned

Trump resigned the presidency already — if we regard the job as one of moral stewardship, if we assume that an iota of civic concern must joust with self-regard, if we expect a president’s interest in legislation to rise above vacuous theatrics, if we consider a certain baseline of diplomatic etiquette to be part of the equation.

.. He abdicated his responsibilities so thoroughly and recklessly that it amounted to a letter of resignation. Then he whored for his Virginia winery on the way out the door.

.. Trump knew full well what he should have done, because he’d done it — grudgingly and badly — only a day earlier. But it left him feeling countermanded, corrected, submissive and weak, and those emotions just won’t do for an ego as needy and skin as thin as his.

.. On Tuesday he “relinquished what presidents from Roosevelt to Reagan have regarded as a cardinal duty of their job: set a moral course to unify the nation,” wrote The Times’ Mark Landler

.. Did he place the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, on the same “moral plane” as those who showed up to push back at them?

“I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane,” Trump answered.

.. he never in fact wanted or set out to be president, not as the position is conventionally or correctly defined.

.. He revealed that repeatedly as he rejected the traditional rules and usual etiquette, refusing to release his tax returns, bragging about his penis size, feuding with the Muslim father of a fallen American soldier and electing puerility over poetry at nearly every meaningful moment.

.. All that time on Twitter wasn’t principally about a direct connection to voters. It was a way to stare at an odometer of approval and monitor, in real time, how broadly his sentiments were being liked and shared.

.. Applause. Greater brand exposure. A new layer of perks atop an existence already lavish with them. Utter saturation of Americans’ consciousness. These were his foremost goals. Governing wasn’t

.. He made clear that conflicts of interest didn’t trouble him, drawing constant attention to Trump properties

.. members of Congress who met with Trump about the repeal-and-replace of Obamacare were aghast at his ignorance of the legislation and of the legislative process itself.

.. A president is supposed to safeguard the most sacred American institutions, repairing them if need be. Trump doesn’t respect them. He has sought to discredit and disempower the judiciary, the free press, the FBI, the Congressional Budget Office. He even managed to inject politics into, and pollute, the Boy Scouts. This is the course of a tyrant.

.. I kept coming across variations on the verdict that he had “failed to lead,” and that phraseology is off. “Fail” and “failure” imply that there was an effort, albeit unsuccessful.

Jennifer Garner’s Good-Girl Image Has Become Her Business

Jennifer Garner hasn’t been a major movie star in years. So why are gossip magazines so invested in her?

.. good girls praise their husbands and their children on social media. They don’t cuss publicly. They have two glasses of wine, max. Good girls might have a job, but nothing in a power position. Good girls have domestic hobbies. Good girls don’t wear earrings that are too big or skirts that are too short or heels that are too high. Good girls use Match.com or eHarmony but never Tinder. Good girls might not be regular churchgoers, but they definitely believe in God. Good girls got him to put a ring on it. Good girls go to bars only in packs of other good girls. Good girls don’t want to talk about that one time they ended up in bed with someone they didn’t know. Good girls aren’t necessarily liberal or conservative, but they don’t think it’s very nice to talk about politics on Facebook. Good girls are legion. They’d never dream of making another woman feel bad about herself. And yet they so often do.

.. Fox argued that the idea of the “good girl” was one of three ways of controlling women’s submissive place in society.

  1. The most extreme and obvious way is through seclusion, in which women are not allowed entrance into the male spheres of society.
  2. The second is protection, in which women are allowed access, but only with a male chaperone or guide.
  3. The third, Fox argued, is normative restriction, in which women are ostensibly free, but still highly controlled — only the control comes from within, through the internalization of how a proper, acceptable, happy woman should act, look, and speak.
  4. And the primary way women have historically and contemporarily restricted themselves is through adherence to the idea of the “good girl.”

.. Girls are also surrounded by suggestions that they self-objectify — but only for show, and never for their own pleasure. Like Garner’s character in Alias, a good girl might put on lingerie to play a character, but only so long as she knows, and everyone else knows, that she remains a good girl beneath.

.. In order to maintain her brand’s viability — and bankability — Garner must continually prove her goodness. When her husband cheats on her with the nanny, she decides to fight for the family. When he continues to date the nanny, the family continues to go on vacations together — because it’s better for the kids. Goodness, at least in its American puritanical form, is all about suffering: The amount you endure, with a smile on your face and a “bless his heart” when asked about your husband’s back tattoo, is a testimony to just how truly good you are.

 .. When she finally filed for divorce after nearly two years of separation, “sources” emphasizedthat she wasn’t ready for dating because Affleck was the love of her life. All of Garner’s decisions — including the one to have Affleck live in their pool house, and then nearby — were purportedly in service to “the important important thing: their children.” See: the invitation for Affleck to accompany Garner when she goes to speak in the Bahamas, because, as one source told Us Weekly, “Jen feels it most beneficial for the kids to have their father present.” When the news broke that Affleck’s affair predated the dissolution of the marriage, she stayed in “mama-bear mode … putting the kids’ happiness first”
.. “She will always appear to be taking the high road,” Lainey Gossip explains. “Pleasant, keeping to herself, working on fitness with a friend.”
.. White female celebrities are a tough sell right now, but Garner — who has managed to market herself as both conservative and liberal, a good girl but not a good girl tainted by relation to Trump — fills a specific need.
.. The company employs a complex algorithm, tested across its titles and others, to determine which celebrities sell magazines at a given moment. They wouldn’t have put Garner on the cover if the data didn’t suggest that she sold. (The cover’s sales were up 18% over the week before).
.. The cover photo was not from Garner and Affleck’s recent trip to the Bahamas, but from a previous trip, two years ago, after they first publicly announced their divorce. Affleck may have accompanied Garner to the Bahamas with their children, but the magazine needed a photographic suggestion of their uncoupled happiness — so they just photoshopped a different color shirt on him and let the headline do the suggestive work.
Garner regularly provides evidence of her good-girl-ness, but when she doesn’t, the magazines and paparazzi and headline writers and “sources” do the work for her.
.. Garner might not be trying to tell other women how to live their lives, or shaming them for their inability to perform a certain type of femininity. But the salience of her image quietly does that work, regardless.

Culture Clash at a Chinese-Owned Plant in Ohio

a major culture clash is playing out on the factory floor, with some workers questioning the company’s commitment to operating under American supervision and American norms.

.. The union, which began meeting with workers in 2015, escalated its public efforts in April with a fiery meeting highlighting arbitrarily enforced rules and retaliation against those who speak up.

.. a former employee named James Martin said the company had exposed him to harsh chemicals that blistered his arms and diminished his lung capacity. (Mr. Martin lost his job for excessive absences while on workers’ compensation leave in January.)

.. But projects can suffer when investors are unfamiliar with the American regulatory and political environment, as is true for many executives in China, where labor standards tend to be less strictly enforced.

.. He said the Chinese had little interest in training, sharing responsibility with or even engaging with American employees.

.. He lamented that productivity at the plant “is not as high as we have in China,” adding that “some of the workers are just idling around.”

.. entrepreneurs like Mr. Cao often populate their factories with migrants from rural areas, whom they expect to be relatively submissive, unlike American workers, who expect a more collegial management style. “He hasn’t ever had probably this type of pressure from a work force,” she said.

.. But he conceded that “the fundamental difference between Chinese and Americans is that the Chinese have a bias toward speed; Americans like to process things, think it through from all angles.”

.. Chinese overseas investments in Africa and Asia showed a pattern of reluctance to transfer operations to local control.

.. “At the managerial level, you see that the technical staff tends to be from China,” she said. “The one local employee they hire at a senior managerial level would be the human resources director.”