Articles by Bill Asher

Work in the Time of COVID-19

f corporations want to maintain the legal fiction that they are people, they would be wise to support the rights of actual people. Because one right that corporations ask us to defend for them—the right of freedom of speech—is the same right they happily deny their own workers. Thus do public rights vanish behind the […]

The Death of Motivational Speakers

efore the plague ends, expect an end to what plagues workers and capital. Expect people to stop listening to speakers who conflate passion with profundity, intensity with intelligence, enthusiasm with enlightenment. Expect motivational speakers to go the way of so many televangelists and online preachers, sermonizing to cameras instead of congregants; repenting to millions instead […]

Make America Calm Again

n a room that had housed the telegraph came a telegram to the nation. The message was clear, the messenger confident. Thus began the first of 30 radio addresses from the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thus began the president’s fireside chat on a crisis that threatened the health of the […]

Bullsh– in a China Shop

or good people to believe in the innocence of evil people, for true believers to believe in the goodness of evildoers, for extraordinary claims to refute extraordinary evidence of evil, that takes religion—the religion of the Chinese Communist Party.  The party rewrites the gospel in real-time, turning ruins into relief missions and missionaries into martyrs.  […]

Democrats and the Tuxedo Test

FDR refined it, JFK romanticized it, LBJ relaxed it, Richard Nixon restored it, Ronald Reagan revered it, and Donald Trump continues to respect it—the tuxedo jacket. If Democrats are to retake the White House, they had better pin more than their hopes on the only candidate who looks somewhat presidential in black tie and tails. […]

The Blind Prophets of 2020

The timeline of history is like a mechanical timepiece, dependent on the advances of men rather than the autonomy of the most advanced machines. The clarity of the dates is the work of the timekeeper, of the man who thinks the start of a new year and a new decade validates the accuracy of his […]

The Lights of Hanukkah and Christmas

The lights of Hanukkah and Christmas reveal themselves in both the ratio of a spiral and the golden ratio of the curves of a candle. The lights shine from the gold of a candelabra and the glory of a chosen people. The lights shine unto all people, guiding a path to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The […]

Nancy Pelosi’s Wow! Signal

If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants to retain her gavel, she should use her megaphone. She should speak into her papier-mâché trumpet, so she may change sets before viewers change the channel. She should change the story to fit the season, or switch the plot and production, because Frank Capra’s most political film is […]

The Trial of John Roberts

The four-minute walk from the Supreme Court Building to the north wing of the Capitol represents not only a change of venue but a transfer of power. Between the time Chief Justice John Roberts leaves his marble palace and enters the people’s house, in the time it takes him to walk 290 feet from his […]

Quentin Tarantino’s
Film of the Year

The best film of 2019 is a fairy tale about 1969. The film ends with words of beginning. The film elides the end of five lives by giving viewers the ending they deserve. The film ends with the start of the title card: “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood.” The film is […]

‘The Irishman’ Stinks

Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is an Irishman without wit, charm, charisma, comedy, tragedy, or drink. He reeks not of whiskey, but of AirWick®. He induces the phantom smell of pine, so as to lessen the stench of piss. He looks like a man—an old man—who stinks, who bears the odor of infirmity and incontinence, who absorbs […]

‘The Mandalorian’ Is
Must-See TV

The gust of wind. The glare of ice. The glint of metal. Between the elements outside and the forces inside, between the opening of a door that dilates like an iris and the turning of a camera that acts as an eye—between panning the room and focusing on a stranger with his back to the […]

Dispatches From the Administrative State

When a member of the military pulls rank on a ranking member of Congress, when he politicizes his service by admonishing a public servant, when he acts as if the ribbons pinned to his jacket are more legitimate than the pin every congressman wears, when he uses his uniform to command attention—and attempts to commandeer […]