Rising S, Vivos, and the Booming Bunker Economy

“I’m not one of the paranoid kinds of people,” Michael, the 51-year-old owner of a construction company, told me this spring.

But who doesn’t look at the state of the world these days and get a little paranoid? It’s not just the virus and the economic collapse. It’s the protests, the fires, the cyberspying, the border shutdowns, the freezer trucks full of bodies, the disinformation on television—the sense that we are living with the economy of 1928, the civil society of 1968, the politics of 1868. “I don’t see a good outcome, whether he wins it or someone else wins it,” he said, talking about President Donald Trump. “It scares me. I’ve got two daughters. I think about all the sex rings they’ve been cracking down on,” he added. “Our country has almost got the qualities of a third-world country.”

When we spoke, that fear had driven him to

Read More

The Dangerous Naïveté of Coastal Elites

Before any of its characters appear on-screen, HBO’s Coastal Elites introduces itself with a genteel red font that bears a striking resemblance to The New Yorker’s proprietary typeface. Within minutes, viewers are introduced to Miriam (played by a characteristically engaging Bette Midler). A former New York City public-school teacher, Miriam delivers breathless denouncements of President Donald Trump directly into the camera, pausing only for enthusiastic asides about NPR tote bags and the joys of being Jewish. She yearns for a simpler time when the political climate was more civil: “Those people from Nebraska and Ohio and Alabama—I’d fly over them, but I’d wave!”

If Miriam sounds familiar, it’s because she’s supposed to: She and her four monologuing co-leads are meant to be a collective embodiment of American liberalism gone wrong. Their provincialism is the real ill plaguing the country, Coastal Elites argues—never mind the ravages of COVID-19, … Read More