This week journalist Farhad Manjoo attempted a noble experiment – taking a week away from news about Donald Trump. In his weekly New York Times column Manjoo describes an eye-opening discovery he made during the week – Coverage of Mr. Trump may eclipse that of any single human being ever.
That’s a pretty bold statement. Manjoo is frank that he has no scientific way to back up his claim that Donald Trump may be the most talked-about man in all of history. But he does have analysis from an organization called MediaQuant to support his theory. According to MediaQuant Trump received $817 million worth of media coverage in a single month, almost double his closest competitor, Barak Obama. previous
I did my own semi-scientific investigation into Manjoo’s theory. Logging into Google Trends I compared searches for “Trump” to searches for “Jesus.” On the whole, over the past five years, people searched for “Jesus” 25% more often than they searched for “Trump.” But starting in 2015 that changed dramatically. In the week of the November 2016 election searches for Trump hit an all time high with “Trump” getting almost eight times more search traffic than “Jesus.” Plug in “God” instead of “Jesus” and you see the same trend, suggesting that Donald Trump is literally more popular than God.
Why, though, is Donald Trump on everybody’s lips and everybody’s mind? Does he command respect, admiration, awe or fear? Not for me. I think he’s a boob. A schmuck. A grifter. An unalloyed asshole.
Columbia University law professor Tim Wu might have an answer for us. In an episode of the Kai Rysdall, Molly Wood podcast Make Me Smart Wu explains how our attention has been commoditized over time. The Church, political parties, private entrepreneurs have all clamored for a share of the public’s interest and attention. Wu elaborates the inexorable conquest of public attention in his book The Attention Merchants.
“If my book is successful it foretells…if I would have been a genius I would have written this in the book…that there will arise,” Wu says in the podcast, “a lord of the attention merchants who uses the techniques of commercial media, of celebrity, of reality television and social media which jump over the media and reach the people directly, using this to accumulate political power transforming politics as we know it into part of the entertainment industry.”
Donald Trump, if Wu is correct, is this man who for whatever reason is able to demand our attention, sucking it like a vampire from our hearts, feeding off of it and growing bigger by the day. In some ways it was inevitable that such a man should arise. Many prophets from George Orwell to Saint John the Apostle have predicted this time would come. Trump simply had the means to be the right man at the right time coupled with a disposition to stop at nothing until he gets the attention he feels he deserves.
Back in November I wrote a blog post suggesting that Trump doesn’t seek political power, he seeks our worship. Judging by the enormous amount of attention he continues to get I’d say that he’s getting exactly what he wants.
I’m taking a break from the regular topics of this blog (camping, hiking, adventure, urban design, etc.) Instead I’m going to start praying.
It was hard to have a prayer time this morning. My mind was jumping like a monkey. I’m stunned that Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. I’m not going go into all the reasons I think this is a terrible thing, at least not now. I want to consider what can be done.
I really believe that a Trump presidency will be ruinous to the country, that terrible things will happen soon and they will last for a very long time. If the American public wants to offset a tragedy we will have to take action right away. We will have to be smart, organized and effective.
And for that reason I plan on doing nothing. At least I’m going to make an heroic effort to calm down and focus on prayer.
The Kingdom of Heaven is bigger, more important and longer lasting than the institutions of man. “All flesh is grass” says the Bible. Donald Trump will come and go. The U.S. government will come and go (possibly sooner rather than later, *gasp*). But the Kingdom of Heaven will remain.
There is work to be done folks. And I think the work starts on our knees. It’s not going to be easy – not for me. I am a fantastically lousy pray-er. But if I’m going to go “all in” on something, what better than something that’s a sure bet to last?
#1. Traveler Tip: Stash Money in An Empty Pen (and Then Hang on to That Pen)
From Instructables (via Lifehacker) comes this handy tip – use an old pen barrel as a makeshift money safe. It’s a clever idea…except that success hinges on a second tip that isn’t included in the Instrucable – how to find a missing pen.
#2. Hide Valuables in the Kids’ Room, Really?
This was once a good strategy – put the jewels in a ratty teddy bear. But these days with tablets and Playstations being in demand, the kids’ room isn’t necessarily the haven from burglars it once was. (Via cammy)
#3. Don’t Keep Valuables Anywhere in the Bedroom
Tape an envelope of cash under the bed? The bed and the sock drawer are the first places a burglar will look. (Via Senior Voice)
#4. Don’t Stash the Cash in the Medicine Cabinet
You might not think a burglar has any interest in you antihistamines or hemorrhoid cream – and you may be right. But a criminal might head straight for your medicine chest looking for opioids and find a cash bonus. (Via SavingAdvice.com)
#5. Pretty Much Anywhere a Blog Tells You to Hide Money
While researching this post it seems like many of the “best places to hide money at home” are just as likely to be some of the “worst places to hide money” according another blog. Some things burglars look for – book safes, electrical outlet safes, fake canned goods and cleansers.
If you want to know a safe place to hide your cash, ask a thief. The answer is – leave money out in the open. Kind of like taking a mugger’s wallet with you when you travel, some decoy cash might keep a thief from searching until he finds your secret stash.
Who plans a crummy vacation? If you’re like most people you check out the travel guides, Google the internets and browse through the Pinterests looking for the best places to vacation.
That kind of thinking is only going to leave you disappointed.
Instead I say shoot for the worst travel destinations and if they turn out better than you expected, well you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth.
So here you go, some of the worst places you can stay:
Tonopah Clown Motel, Tonopah Nevada
Delightful circus-themed motel and the only rest stop in 250 miles.
What makes it so bad? Clowns. Clowns everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of clowns. Oh yeah, did I mention that next door is a graveyard.
San Onofre State Beach Campground, San Onofre, California
Sunny beaches, amazing bluffs, far from mad Los Angeles Traffic.
What makes it so bad? Tiny, cramped campsites. No showers. All within a mile of a nuclear power plant. A nuclear plant that closed because it was leaking. And still houses over 4,000 lbs. of nuclear material all in shouting distance of a major earthquake fault.
Townhouse Motel, Tupelo Mississippi
What could be better than a stay at the birthplace of the peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwich?
What makes it so bad? “…and there was a puddle of blood outside our front door.”
Tipi Village Retreat, Marcola, Oregon
Beautiful setting, top-notch amenities, close to wine tasting.
What makes it so bad? Airbnb price is $1735…for a night in a tent…actually two nights minimum.
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Experienced staff, views are beyond amazing, personal attention galore.
What makes it so bad? You’re 2,000 frickin’ feet off the ground, sleeping in a hammock that’s pinned to a granite wall using a couple of titanium toothpicks. Any questions?