“America used to be a global leader in brainless entertainment, particularly featuring explosions, boobs, and weightlifters, but since Trump’s election Hollywood’s been in a funk and spent years trying to bury its baser instincts and reinvent itself as Highbrow and Caring. This resulted in a thousand iterations of self-serious films straining to make the miserable entertaining (Bill Maher’s take on the perfect modern Oscar hopeful was The Immigrant Who Shat in a Coffee Can).

“Of all the negative by-products of Trump’s election, one of the most subtly destructive was alienating America from the one thing we’ve consistently done well, the lowest common denominator. For no good reason, politics has made a big chunk of the country wary of Cheez Whiz, mud wrestling, commercials about pickup trucks carrying other pickup trucks up mountains of boulders, and a hundred other mindless awesome things in our blood.

“This country sucks at highbrow, we’re great at stupid, and since there’s nothing more stupid than stupid highbrow, we’ve spent the last half-decade exporting the most embarrassing conceivable content on a grand scale. This has just made everybody, left and right, more uptight and pissed at each other. When we get back to embracing shark panics, Hang in There Baby office posters, and weightlifters/models blowing each other out of the sky with billion-dollar weapons, my guess is we’ll all start feeling better. Thank you, Tom Cruise, you lunatic. You’ve helped the healing begin.” — from Matt Taibbi‘s latest Substack essay.