In the room

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Here’s a weird predicament in writing a column in 2019: Do you address the elephant in the room? Everyone knows it’s there. Everyone is already talking about the elephant. Everybody has a fully formed opinion about the elephant, and everyone thinks they know what everybody else thinks about the elephant. We know the smell of his dung.

The elephant, of course, is Donald Trump.

Some writers—our Bruce Van Dyke springs to mind—have fully embraced their inner pachydermatologist. Bruce is happy to comment on every mendacious speech, every aggrieved tweet and every twist of the investigations. If you miss Bruce’s sage wisdom on Nevada roadtrips and classic rock records—you’re not alone. I sometimes wish he’d write about something else too. But I understand: Sometimes, it’s hard not to write about Trump.

And this newspaper has a local focus. I should write about something local. Population continues to boom, fueling a housing crisis. The new guv just snagged a Reno city council member for a state job. The UNR men’s basketball team is having an exciting season. The weather is wooly.

But we’re three weeks into the federal government shutdown, and I can’t stop staring at those photos of Trump standing behind a huge spread of McDonald’s and Wendy’s grub, bedecked with golden candelabra. He was hosting the college football champs, Clemson University. Apparently, the White House cooking staff isn’t allowed to work, either, so he sprung for the food he really wants—figuring it’s what college athletes want, too.

We’re living in that alternate timeline from Back to the Future II, when Biff becomes a millionaire.