Style

Thing Tank

A review of the week in things

FIRST THE BAD NEWS

The New York Times is under fire for its seemingly soft-focus profile of a young white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer in Ohio. (If that feels like too many words, you can also just say “[expletive] Nazi.”) Outraged readers shared the thing anyway, pointing to the “he does this, he does that” tone of the profile as recklessly normalizing a depraved ideology by way of telling us more about the subject’s muffin pans, pasta preparation, and pending nuptials than investigating the psychological prat fall that leaves miserable dweebs like this fancying themselves superior to anything. “The point of the story was not to normalize anything,” wrote Times national editor Mark Lacey, “but to describe the degree to which hate and extremism have become far more normal in American life than many of us want to think.” Yup. It’s been a full year, guys. Got some racist idiots out there. We know. 

ZERO CHILL

Elsewhere in features that nobody asked for, as someone whose insides twist into rage knots every time I fall within even distant earshot of “Let it Go,” it’s with a heavily lopsided mix of empathy and ecstasy that this writer observes the widespread anguish of Americans forced to sit through “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” the 21-minute “short” tacked onto the front end of Disney’s critically acclaimed “Coco” that’s going over with moviegoers like an ice cube down a turtleneck. Twitter critics have described the bucktoothed snowman’s unsolicited holiday-inspired musical romp as “slow poison,” “absolute torture,” and a fraught signal that “@Disney just couldn’t let brown people have their moment.” I see it as just punishment for all of you making “Frozen” so popular in the first place. No “Coco” for you until you finish your “Frozen.” We can sit here all night.

THAT STINGS

In an apparent attempt to discredit the Washington Post, a woman approached the newspaper falsely claiming to have been impregnated as a teenager by Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, but was quickly exposed by the paper as a plant from “activist” Internet troll James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas. It’s the latest embarrassing faceplant for O’Keefe and his ragtag band of meddling kids, who would have gotten away with it if weren’t for their profound incompetence.

WRECK THE HALLS

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On a new holiday episode of “Stranger Things,” the White House suffers an infestation of creepy stalagmites pushing through the floors and the porous fabric of our reality from the nightmarish death realm of the Upside Down ... what’s that? Pardon me for just one second here; getting a note handed to me. My apologies. Apparently, those are just Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations. In addition to triggering lucid memories of that dream you keep having where your dead aunt beckons you through a wintery forest while growling a Norse hymn you can only understand in the dream, the First Lady’s designs are ... uh. Hmm. Nope. All I can see is the dream now. Can someone please put on “Let it Go"?

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MICHAEL ANDOR BRODEUR

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MBrodeur.