The Set List for the Band Playing at Trump’s Climate Retreat Speech: From “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” to “Burning Down the House”

Today the United States joined two other countries in refusing to take part in the Paris climate accord. Syria and Nicaragua. What great company to be in.

Before Trump made his announcement in the Rose Garden, the White House had a band warm up the crowd. Later, McSweeney's sarcastically published their setlist. Burning Down the House. It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine). I Melt With You. Coal Miner's Daughter. Find all 14 tracks below.

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  • Slartibartfarst says:

    As a reader of your blog from DownUnder, I have enjoyed reading it in my bazqux feed aggregator for about a year. You often publish useful educational/cultural material that I am interested in and that I also pass on to my 15½ y/o daughter to follow up on. I enjoy reading the blog and what seem to be slightly insular American views, because they provide a different slant to what one might get from an Aussie blog.

    However, I am also apolitical, and have a low regard for politicians and politics. Because of this I find the constant stream of political bias (e.g., anti-Trump posts/references) somewhat tedious – e.g.; as in this seemingly “infantile” (as my daughter put it) post.
    I consider that the editor(s) is(are) probably letting themselves down with rubbish like that and it is likely to put some of your readership off, the readers quietly voting with their feet/eyeballs, and you’ll never know.

    It’s been particularly bad over the duration of the US presidential election (and I could understand that), and since. I expected that it would probably settle down post-election, but it doesn’t seem to have done – quite the reverse.
    However, I really do think that you need to get over it and move on. The 45th president was elected democratically in what is arguably the most democratic and free nation in the world.

    I’m not sure whether you are paid to promulgate a political bias (propaganda) – and I would quite understand if you were, of course – but if not, or if you don’t like the result of your democratic process, then I would politely suggest that you focus on changing the ruddy process, rather than boring the pants off of the rest of us disinterested parties with this silliness. Your blog is otherwise generally very good (and my daughter agrees). Sorry to seem critical, but I have rather lost patience with this behaviour, and I don’t want to keep finding I’ve just been wasting my time reading a politically-inspired post rather than something of real educational/cultural value.

    • Dan Colman says:


      I would suggest two things to you.

      1.) The number of political posts has been few. If you care to actually review the archive, you would find that to be true.

      2.) We’re not in the business of trying to please the greatest number of people, and especially not any one individual. If you don’t like the bent of the site, visit other sites. Or, better yet, create your own. Then your readers can tell you how to run it.


  • Slartibartfarst says:

    Thank you and I appreciate your taking the trouble to reply to my comment. I did say “Sorry to seem critical”, and that “Your blog is otherwise generally very good (and my daughter agrees).” I was not trying to tell you how to run your blog either, but merely wanting to suggest that maybe “you’ll never know” how you were potentially turning keen readers off from your blog if you embedded politically biased content into your blog. Whilst I am unsure what “business you are in”, I do understand the relevance of your request for financial support where you say “Support Us. We’re hoping to rely on loyal readers, rather than erratic ads. Click the Donate button and support Open Culture. We thank you!”

    I would say that I and my daughter were becoming loyal readers. Like the parson’s egg – I find your blog is good in parts – but in my view, mostly good.

    I’m not sure “how many” political posts was an issue for me, as it was rather the implicit/explicit political bias that I found redundant. Maybe I naively expected discussions regarding “open culture” to be objective and apolitical, and had not appreciated that I should accept an inherent political bias in the blog (if that is the “bent” that you refer to).

    However, the post “The Set List for the Band Playing at Trump’s Climate Retreat Speech…” did seem to be a tad gratuitous and an infantile political jibe – as my daughter noted – with only a tenuous connection to a culture’s music. As she pointed out to me, it was not something she would get any marks for if she referenced it as supporting any kind of a valid argument in her critical thinking class. So it was kinda me being at fault, as I was the one who had originally directed her to read your blog as she could probably learn a lot from it – e.g., all the listed books and other resources, including the K-12 resources, and including also the thinking that went into the blog posts.

    “How will it benefit me if, when I read this stuff and am looking for objective facts/truth about all aspects of culture, I can’t be sure that they aren’t just pushing some barrow that I might assume in my ignorance to be true, but is just propaganda?” she asked, then added, “How is this a better use of my time than going to the local library?”
    Top of her class, she was born in 2001, so is just at the tail-end of the Millennial generation, and she can at times be quite difficult to argue against. Questions everything.
    But maybe you are right, and she and I, with a hunger for objective truth and knowledge, are not really proper members of what you might consider to be your blog’s target audience, and so I am speaking out of turn. If so, then I repeat my apology for seeming critical. I assure you it was intended to be constructive rather than simply negative.


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