Jeff Pearlman

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Killing to feel tough

In case you missed this, Iran just launched a bunch of missiles at some U.S. bases in Iraq. Not too many details are known, but it was a certain retaliation for the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week.

This is not good.

It’s also what happens when you elect a president who is consumed—in every possible way—with proving how tough he is. From the very beginning of his business career. Donald Trump’s obsession have taken two forms:

• Money

• Image

I get the first. Don’t appreciate it, but get it. The second one, however, is transparently sad. Donald Trump created The Donald—smart businessman who vanquishes opponents and fires anyone who can’t get the job done. He struts into conference rooms, slams down phones, swats people away with folded newspapers. He’s fuck you and step back and get out of my face.

But it’s not real. It never has been real. Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” was written by someone else. The classes at his huckster “university”—taught by others. His campaign slogan (“Make America Great Again”) was thought up by an adviser. His primary running point (Mexico and the wall) is the handy work of Steve Bannon.

It’s.

All.

An.

Image.

So, surely, after killing Soleimani, Trump lathered in the swag. He was The Man. Not like that pussy Obama, or that pussy W. Nope. The Donald finished the job. Destroyed a terrorist. Saved America.

Only, well, governing involves nuance, texture, thought, evaluation.

Without it, you’re just a fraud thug in a fancy suit.

without it, you get people killed.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life