I have no interest in watching the movie The Post but I’m loving this review.



Did you, folks, read this story about the allegations against Aziz Ansari? I’m sure the young woman is sincere. She’s completely lacking in sexual agency to the point that this is painful to read. It’s like the real-life version of that notorious short story in the New Yorker we discussed recently but life is so much worse than fiction.

Fake Art

A Russian oligarch lent his “collection of unknown works of Russian avant-garde art” to the Fine Arts Museum in Ghent, Belgium. Formerly unknown works of Malevich, Kandinsky, Popova, Rodchenko, and many others! It sounded too good to be true. And, of course, it was. When the exhibition opened, it turned out that all of the paintings were completely fake.

In the 1990s, unemployed artists created hundreds of these fakes on the orders of the nouveau riche. What’s sad is that an important European museum should be so trusting in its dealings with clearly dishonest and shady characters.

The Foam

There was a similar situation in Ukraine for over 20 years. Ukrainians, especially from my Eastern part of the country, would go to Russia as illegal immigrants, to work for a pittance with no worker protections, live in horrible conditions, and send money back home. I have cousins and an aunt who did that. 

Then the war started and this practice was tamped down a bit. And now Ukraine is finally developing an economy of its own. People start tiny businesses. There is actual manufacturing. There is a lot of artisanal work. The tourist industry is getting a shot at existing because there is now an actual hospitality sector. Things are so so SO far from perfect but at least now young people in Ukraine aren’t all hopeless and looking to the future of being an illegal maid in Moscow as the pinnacle of achievement.

The point I’m making is that maybe it’s not necessary to take the approach of “we moved 30% of all Salvadorans here and it didn’t work. So let’s move 30% more and see if that goes better.” Or maybe it is. Maybe there’s truly no hope for El Salvador or Haiti. Twenty years ago I was convinced there was no hope for Ukraine, and I was wrong. 

What I hope, though, is that we could have a discussion. Is it really the best idea to dismiss whole regions as completely hopeless and just move people out of there for good? Is there really nothing better for countries like El Salvador? When will be the time to stop foaming at the mouth and start discussing this? Do people really think that posting pictures of Auschwitz on social media is somehow helping Haitians? 

I’m waiting for the foam to recede and for normal, meaningful conversations to start.  

The Real El Salvador

El Salvador, by the way, is “one of the most dangerous places on the planet.” A full one third of Salvadorans don’t live in the country. They live in the US. The economy of El Salvador is heavily dependent on the money immigrants send back from the US. 

MS-13, a terrifying criminal gang of Salvadoran immigrants, originated in LA but has spread all over the US. There is now a significant branch of MS-13 even as far as in Toronto, Canada. Among many other things, MS-13 is collaborating with Mexican drug cartels that are feeding the opioid epidemic in the US. They are also very active in the field of human trafficking, weapons sales, and child prostitution.

Of course, as bad as things are in El Salvador, they are a lot worse in Haiti. 

El Salvador

It’s interesting that El Salvador is being completely erased from the shithole controversy. Its population is inconveniently not black and tends to consider itself white. Plus, there’s an even more inconvenient issue of MS-13. So now its “Haiti and some African nations.” 

It’s very similar to how the discussion of the Brexiters’ anti-immigrant sentiments completely obviates the tensions over the presence in the UK of a large Polish immigrant community. Poles are even whiter than Salvadorans. It’s hard to get any whiter than Poles. So they are erased from the narrative because they simply don’t fit the convenient slogans.