Blogging about whisky and food has never seemed very essential and seems pretty frivolous now. What has happened feels like terrible social death even though no one has died. The election results, and the events that have followed, have spurred me into more direct political engagement with my local community. I’ve come to feel the limits of the privilege that have allowed me to feel hitherto secure, as a brown immigrant with an accent (and these days, a beard), in the bits of America that I usually move in; and I’ve recognized the urgency of more than an intellectual acknowledgement of the situations of those who do not have the protections of that privilege. Moving forward in the world we live in now cannot be done, as I said on Thursday, in complacency or denial. As I also said on Thursday, it also should not foreclose a commitment to pleasure. Blogging about whisky and food is frivolous but I will continue to do it. It should not be read as a deferral of social engagement.
I will, however, be diverting more of my discretionary spending into supporting organizations and institutions who are at risk in Trump’s America. One of these institutions, as a number of people have pointed out, is serious, investigative journalism. A number of you have probably already done this but subscriptions to publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post, Mother Jones etc. are more essential than ever. Both to make sure that we have the information we need in this Humpty Dumpty world (when Trump uses words like freedom and “bringing people together” they mean only what he wants them to mean) and to keep them in business.
I’m Indian—my country elected an autocrat as well on the last go-around (one who was already a genocidal maniac) and, as my friends who still live in India remind me, curbing press freedoms has been a hallmark of the Modi regime. It’s already beginning to happen here as Trump’s contempt for journalism, expressed so clearly during his campaign, continues unabated. For (far) less than the price of a bottle of whisky or a nice meal out we can help essential publications. A subscription to a year of Mother Jones, for instance, costs only $12. This too is a form of political engagement and a necessary one. And if you have recommendations for other magazines and websites that do good work please write in below.