4. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House — Michael Wolff
week four — 19.1
To date: 164 KM
I read this like the train wreck that it is, and then set it aside because it rekindled the paranoia and/or revulsion I have at the prospect of visiting the United States, all the while planning a short few days relaxing in Palm Springs. I just returned a few hours ago, still aglow no doubt from the full body scan I received for trying to leave the country to return to this one. A ton has been said about Wolff’s book, much of it critical of Wolff’s style of journalism — what I learned was called “back-door” back around journalism school day one. We could have a discussion about rights and multiple wrongs, but that seems boring. Most of the book’s criticism (that isn’t centred on Wolff’s method) seems to stem from readings of the released excerpts rather than an actual reading of the book, and the voracity of those excerpts. Missed in all this is the framing found in Wolff’s Author’s Note at the beginning that I think is paramount to properly understanding the book. He writes:
Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.
Many (most?) critics read excerpts, clearly having never read the Author’s Note, and declared all or part of the excerpt untrue and therefore the book as a whole must be rubbish, sufficiently satiating the Trumpian right that was [also] never going to read the book anyway. It’s not great writing and most of the bombshells were excerpted before the release, but it’s entertaining as an insight into what was going on for the first 100 days or so, or at least what those dumb enough to spill on- and off-the-record (PS – off the record doesn’t exist) to Wolff believed was going on. And that’s enough about that.
As you can see from my numbers this week I didn’t have much of running week because my physiotherapist put the fear of breaking my tibia in half and never being able to run again if I insisted on running with this medial tibial stress whatever so I didn’t run a whole lot — just Friday and Sunday in the warm, dry, breezy Palm Springs air i.e., the polar opposite of what’s been going on in Vancouver. The Forerunners First half is two weeks away, and after barely managing a 5 min/km pace for 10 KM this morning rusty doesn’t begin to describe how I’m feeling. My second offically-timed half marathon is my slowest; this February First Half will be my fifth 21.1 and is in contention for that dubious distinction.