If you happened to pick up the Times Sunday “Styles” section this weekend, perhaps you noticed that the framing of the long profile of Wendi Murdoch felt a little familiar. We learned that Murdoch “has emerged with her own independent career.” She is, it continues, “a world-class networker, collecting powerful friends and brokering connections. She hosts annual dinner parties with powerful women, hosts book parties for friends, and regularly holds get-togethers.” How did she come by this newfoundreputation?
“Until the cream-pie incident, she’d really been branded the classic younger wife with a tinge of racism and stereotyping,” said Andrew Butcher, a former senior communications executive at News Corporation. “That turned everything around forher.”
“It seemed to finally give the marriage legitimacy,” headded.
In short, Wendi Murdoch — beautiful, social, and far younger than her powerful husband — is not a trophy wife, we are meant to understand, and all it took was a little cream pie to get us to notice. And yet the whole rehashing of the ways she’d been tagged one by other people seems a subtly undermining way of going about pointing thatout.
If that framing did indeed seem less than fresh, maybe you read the “Style” section’s April profile of Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey, the “pretty young second wife” of Paramount Pictures’ CEO, who, we were cautioned, should not be underestimated because of her youth and goodlooks.
But don’t call her a trophy wife. Mrs. Grey may have a Lilliputian figure, but she has big ambitions for a fashion studio and vintage clothing line that she runs from this town’s trendy shoppingdistrict.
How big? Asked that question the other day, she picked up a copy of Salvador Dali’s 1942 autobiography, “The Secret Life of Salvador Dali,” and pointed to a passage: “At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily eversince.”
Because trophy wives never open vanity fashion lines, you see. Nor do they get involved in projects like thisone:
In December, Italian Vogue posted on its Web site an over-the-top video profile of Mrs. Grey. It began with text reading “Meet the Princess of Bel-Air” and depicted her as a self-involved one-percenter riding in a chauffeured sedan and fixated on what to wear while walking thedog.
“I’m taking my role as a wife and a lover and a stepmother very seriously, meaning I want to be really, really good at it,” she said to the camera, sitting on a bathroom counter in a short robe and smoking a cigarette in a Marlene Dietrich pose, her makeup heavy and her head wrapped in a redscarf.
Or then there’s the recent profile of Trudie Styler, or, as the Times headline declared, “More Than Mrs. Sting,” a romp through Styler’s socialite life and presidential ogling, that ends on a wistful little note meant, it seems, again, to undermine the whole premise of thearticle.
From time to time, Ms. Styler has been asked to imagine what her life would have been had she not married Sting. “I have no idea,” she said, then added after a beat, “For sure, I would have had a life in which I would be in the drivingseat.”
The paper’s refusal to profile decorative wives of the rich and famous without nodding at their brain power and ambition might date back to 1995, when the paper of record declared that among the rich, “the days of the old-fashioned trophy wife — long on glamour, short on resume — are on the wane.” But is that actually the old-fashioneddefinition?
Consider a 2007 profile of Fred Thompson’s then-40-year-old wife Jeri Kehn Thompson, whose “youthfulness, permanent tan and bleached blond hair” were described alongside this rather bald question: “Is America ready for a president with a trophy wife?” The piece (“Will Her Face Determine His Fortune?” as if his hot wife were the main problem with Thompson’s candidacy) explained: “Although it often has a pejorative spin, the term originally meant the second (or third) wife of a corporate titan, who was younger, beautiful and — equally important — accomplished in her own right, which describes Mrs. Thompson.” The paper, at least there, wants us to return to a different, original (kinder?) meaning of trophy wife — one that, in the more recent profiles of not-trophy-wives Murdoch and Huysentruyt, seems to have been reimagined onceagain.
The “Style” section, after all, needs to be able to have it both ways to pull in readers for profiles like these — gossipy fun that has at least a facade of seriousness. After all, even an old, powerful paper like the Times isn’t above trotting out a few fluffy, superficially attractive pages a couple times a week. But don’t call it a trophysection.
Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh announced Sunday morning that he is running for president as a Republican, challenging President Trump in the GOP primary race. “Friends, I’m in. We can’t take four more years of Donald Trump. And that’s why I’m running for President,” Walsh tweeted. “It won’t be easy, but bravery is never easy. But together, we can do it.”
The Tea Party favorite sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for an interview airing Sunday morning, in which he explained why he decided to enter the race.
“I’m running because he’s unfit; somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative,” Walsh said. “The country is sick of this guy’s tantrum – he’s a child.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh responded to the announcement by telling ABC News: “Whatever.”
These aren’t the second thoughts you’re looking for
Reporter: Mr. President, any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?
President Trump: Yeah, sure. Why not?
Reporter: Second thoughts? Yes?
Trump: Might as well. Might as well.
Reporter: You have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?
Trump: I have second thoughts about everything.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, after Trump’s answer was widely reported: His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.
President Trump asserted on Saturday that he has the authority to make good on his threat to force all American businesses to leave China, citing a national security law that has been used mainly to target terrorists, drug traffickers and pariah states like Iran, Syria and North Korea.
As he arrived in France for the annual meeting of the Group of 7 powers, Mr. Trump posted a message on Twitter citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 — a law meant to enable a president to isolate criminal regimes but not intended to be used to cut off economic ties with a major trading partner because of a disagreement over tariffs.
“For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Case closed!” …
The International Emergency Economic Powers Act says that if the president decides that circumstances abroad have created “any unusual and extraordinary threat” to “the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,” the president can declare a “national emergency.” This triggers special authority for the leader to regulate “any transactions in foreign exchange” by Americans.
When Biden’s stream of consciousness takes a dark turn
“None of you . . . women are old enough — but a couple of you guys are old enough,” he said during a town hall at Dartmouth College. “I graduated in 1968. Everybody before me was, ‘Drop out, go to Haight-Ashbury, don’t trust anybody over 30, everybody not get involved.’ No, I’m serious. I know no woman will shake her head and acknowledge it. But you guys know what I’m talking about. Right? But then what happened?”
The front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination referenced the assassinations of two of his political heroes, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy — who was killed while running for president.
“Imagine what would have happened if, God forbid, if Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the de facto nominee,” he continued. “What would have happened in America?”
The comment — which, as Biden’s campaign pointed out with a video, came on the 11th anniversary of Obama naming Biden as his running mate — then led to him speaking about the 1970 shootings of demonstrators at Kent State University, and a new era of activism.
In case you were feeling too optimistic about Democrats’ chances of thwarting Trump’s agenda
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just completed three weeks of radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court disclosed Friday.
The radiation therapy, conducted on an outpatient basis, began Aug. 5, shortly after a localized cancerous tumor was discovered on Ginsburg’s pancreas. The treatment included the insertion of a stent in Ginsburg’s bile duct, according to a statement issued by the court.
Doctors at Sloan Kettering said further tests showed no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. The treatment comes just months after Ginsburg was operated on for lung cancer last December. The 86-year-old justice has battled cancer in various forms over the last 20 years.
Bolsonaro may face some serious consequences for his heedless environmental policies
European leaders have reacted with growing fear and anger to the fires ravaging Brazil’s rain forest, calling it a worldwide crisis that is accelerating global warming — and one that Brazil’s leader appears unwilling to combat.
President Emmanuel Macron of France went so far, on Friday, as to accuse President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil of lying about being committed to fighting climate change and protecting the Amazon forest.
As a result, Mr. Macron said, he would try to kill a major trade deal between Europe and South America that has been years in the making.
Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years. They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won’t let that happen! We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far….
….better off without them. The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing..
….your companies HOME and making your products in the USA. I will be responding to China’s Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States. Also, I am ordering all carriers, including Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS and the Post Office, to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE,….
….all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!). Fentanyl kills 100,000 Americans a year. President Xi said this would stop - it didn’t. Our Economy, because of our gains in the last 2 1/2 years, is MUCH larger than that of China. We will keep it that way!
Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts is dropping out of the presidential race, ending a candidacy that emphasized Mr. Moulton’s centrist politics and military service but gained no traction with Democratic primary voters.
Mr. Moulton, 40, said in an interview that he had no immediate plans to endorse another candidate, but he warmly praised former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Moulton planned to announce the end of his campaign in a formal speech before the Democratic National Committee on Friday.
Mr. Moulton suggested that most of the other Democratic candidates were also laboring in vain at this point, with only a tiny few — Mr. Biden and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — remaining as real competitors for the nomination. He warned in the interview that if Democrats were to embrace an overly liberal platform, it could make it harder for the party to defeat President Trump.
China shows again that it’s willing to fight fire with fire on tariffs
China on Friday announced tariff hikes on $75 billion of U.S. products in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s planned increase, deepening a trade war that threatens to tip the global economy into recession.
The tariffs of 10% and 5% take effect on two batches of goods on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It gave no details of what goods would be affected but the timing matches Trump’s planned duty hikes.
Things are going about as expected since the U.S. withdrew from the INF treaty
The Pentagon said on Monday it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, its first such test since the demise of a landmark nuclear pact this month.
Washington formally withdrew from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) on Aug. 2 after accusing Moscow of violating it, a charge dismissed by the Kremlin.
The pact had prohibited land-based missiles with a range of 310-3,400 miles, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.
Putin told his Security Council on Friday that Russia could not stand idly by, and that U.S. talk of deploying new missiles in the Asia-Pacific region “affects our core interests as it is close to Russia’s borders”.
Pompeo gets one of North Korea’s always colorful nicknames
North Korea’s top diplomat said on Friday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a “diehard toxin” who only complicates denuclearisation talks and North Korea was ready for both dialogue and standoff.
Buttigieg’s new plan for addressing addiction and mental health issues
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Friday unveiled a $100 billion plan to expand access to mental health and addiction treatment that coincided with a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire — a state hit hard by the opioid crisis.
The wide-ranging plan calls for integrating treatment into primary care settings, increasing the number of available treatment beds, making it easier for patients to get access to medication for opioid addiction, investing in suicide prevention for veterans and addressing disparities in behavioral health care.
“For years, politicians in Washington have claimed to prioritize mental health care while slashing funding for treatment and ignoring America’s growing addiction and mental health crisis,” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said in a statement. “That neglect must end. Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal.”