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Jeff Sharlet on Donald Trump

Jeff Sharlet1.jpgOne of my favorite professors has a fine piece in the NYT Magazine this weekend. Professor of English Jeff Sharlet — who this space has previously profiled and also praised for his graceful style in an obituary for Pete Seeger and a depiction of Cornel West, and applauded for his support of the student publication 40 Towns — tries to get to the heart of a now enduring and still perplexing question: why does Donald Trump have such wide support? Sharlet’s genre has been called creative non-fiction, and he brings both a sympathetic poetry and a discerning eye to Trump’s campaign, which he describes as a combination of gospel preaching, self-help exhortation, and unabashed narcissism. He goes a long way in explaining why the aspects of Trump’s presentation that most shock the chattering classes seem to endear the man to his supporters.

Jeff Sharlet NYT Mag.jpg

Have a look at Sharlet’s fine writing and thinking.

Addendum: A critical alumnus writes in:

Very well written piece, but essentially a NY Times smear job. You could write a similar piece regarding any candidate, for example, play up the ignorance of economics of the Sanders supporters, the indifference to their candidate’s venality and corruption of the Clinton supporters, the religiosity of the Cruz supporters, etc.

Whatever Trump’s shortcomings, and they are many, he has touched a deep vein of concern among the public, something that our complacent elites seem incapable of understanding.


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