Last night, I went to an enjoyable event that was held in an odd, interesting old-world complex with a wide-range of off-beat barbecue, as well as cheese, beer and wine, shoe-shining and tile-painting facilities, along with live music, and more nooks, stairways, patios, balconies and paths than one would expect in such a small, seemingly-contained venue.
One of the more interesting parts of the evening was spending a lot of time talking to a tech journalist from Amsterdam who covers, as he put it, washing machines. ("There are two of us in Holland," he said. "Me and the other person.") What stood out was how insightful he knew American politics. I couldn't tell you who the president of The Netherlands was, but he knew details and minutiae. When I brought up the Trump interview on CNBC where he told reporter Maria Bartolomo that he had just bombed Iraq, and she had to correct him that it was Syria, he fellow knew about it and had seen it. No wonder it's the Dutch whose "America First...us seond" video was the first, started the trend and remains the funniest.
He watches Stephen Colbert's show the most, likes Samantha Bee, knows of John Oliver and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, but says he doesn't have time for them all. It is not shocking that he thinks Trump is an idiot and a narcissist -- not as a descriptive phrase, but specifically a disease, having known and worked with clinical narcissists in the past.
Our conversation was long, involved, and I left very impressed. When I see all the ignorance of so many on Twitter and elsewhere who get their information from "Fox News" and InfoWars and Breitbart, and are actually, factually wrong and ignorant about many realities in their own country, it's pretty remarkable to come across those from other countries (and I've spoken with a lot) who have such an strong awareness of news and politics in the United States -- even if they don't understand how Trump could happen here. Not to worry, I tell them, I'm not quite sure myself..
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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