(Once in a while, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)
Who’s your date today? No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein. (We're going to be discussing this book at our Reading Through It Book Club tomorrow night at Third Place Books Seward Park. You should join us at 7! It's free, and no purchase is necessary to talk about the book. Alcoholic drinks are available.)
Where’d you go? I went to Next Level Burger, the new veggie-only burger bar at the Whole Foods on Roosevelt.
What’d you eat? I had the "sausage" (tempeh) bacon burger, the tater tots, and a peanut butter shake made with coconut milk. Here are some pictures:
How was the food? I want to be clear: I am a carnivore, but I love fake meat. I will often choose fake meat over real meat, when given an option. I love vegetarian restaurants. That said, everything about this burger was pretty damn dry. I want a burger — veggie or no — to have some juice to it, or at the very least a little sauce. The only part of this burger that was not dry was the fake cheddar cheese, but there wasn't enough of that to make up for the mouthfuls of dry fiber I was biting into. If you're interested in Next Level, I'd suggest getting a saucier burger to start — maybe the BBQ Bleu or something like that. The tater tots were great; I found them to be perfectly crispy and very tater-totty. The shake had a good, drinkable consistency — I hate a too-thick shake — but the coconut milk wasn't the best blend with the peanut butter. I'd suggest getting the soy milk if you're choosing a peanut butter shake. Altogether, I liked Next Level better than, say, Veggie Grill, but if you're looking for non-meat options, you should stick with Seattle's many independent vegan or vegetarian restaurants, because the chains still don't have the formula down yet.
What does your date say about itself?
Donald Trump's takeover of the White House is a dangerous escalation in a world of cascading crises. His reckless agenda--including a corporate coup in government, aggressive scapegoating and warmongering, and sweeping aside climate science to set off a fossil fuel frenzy--will generate waves of disasters and shocks to the economy, national security, and the environment. Acclaimed journalist, activist, and bestselling author Naomi Klein has spent two decades studying political shocks, climate change, and "brand bullies." From this unique perspective, she argues that Trump is not an aberration but a logical extension of the worst, most dangerous trends of the past half-century--the very conditions that have unleashed a rising tide of white nationalism the world over. It is not enough, she tells us, to merely resist, to say "no." Our historical moment demands more: a credible and inspiring "yes," a roadmap to reclaiming the populist ground from those who would divide us--one that sets a bold course for winning the fair and caring world we want and need. This timely, urgent book from one of our most influential thinkers offers a bracing positive shock of its own, helping us understand just how we got here, and how we can, collectively, come together and heal.
Is there a representative quote?
The trouble is, to understand Trump you really have to understand the world that made him what he is, and that, to a very large extent, is the world of branding. He reflects all the worst trends I wrote about in No Logo, from shrugging off responsibility for the workers who make your products via a web of often abusive contractors to the insatiable colonial need to mark every available space with your name.
Will you two end up in bed together? Obviously, yeah, since we're talking about it at the book club tomorrow. (Join us! Bring your friends!) But I sure did feel weird reading about brands in the middle of one of the biggest brand takeovers in recent memory: Amazon's swallowing of Whole Foods. The next time I read Naomi Klein in public, it's going to be at a nice, locally owned spot that better reflects the values of her books.