If you subscribe to the idea that you get what you pay for, then Truth Social, Donald Trump’s newish free app, is a bargain. Two million regular users—a relatively modest number—drawn to the “‘Big Tent’ social media platform that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation” get to enjoy open, free, and honest global conversations such as this:
So now it comes out, conclusively, that the FBI BURIED THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY BEFORE THE ELECTION knowing that, if they didn’t, “Trump would have easily won the 2020 Presidential Election.” This is massive FRAUD & ELECTION INTERFERENCE at a level never seen before in our Country. REMEDY: Declare the rightful winner or, and this would be the minimal solution, declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately!
That was but one of 88 offerings posted there by the former president during a 24-hour period not long ago. Value for money, anyway (especially if you’re a QAnon buff). But reports suggest that this glorious golden era—and how quickly the seven months have flown by!—might be nearing its end, and that Truth Social is tracing a lazy arc toward the same gold-plated dumpster containing the moldering remains of Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, Trump University, Trump Shuttle, and (our favorite) Tour de Trump. (That last one was an East Coast bicycle race in the late ’80s. “I would like to make this the equivalent of the Tour de France,” said Trump. The inaugural Tour de Trump started in Albany and ended at the Trump Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. After a second race, the wheels came off, as they do.)
Starting even before its glitch-rich launch, in February, the platform has struggled. Recently it was barred from Google Play because of “several violations of standard policies in their current app submission,” specifically for not having “effective systems for moderating user-generated content”—thus making it unavailable to Android users, or 43 percent of the United States smartphone market.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Truth Social’s trademark application because it might be confused with a mobile app called Vero—True Social and a Christian talk-radio platform called Truth Network. (Come on, no big deal. Just add a “TM” after the name and be done with it!) And this past week, several extended deadlines failed to secure the necessary shareholder approval for a merger between Truth Social’s parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, and the blank-check Digital World Acquisitions, depriving TMTG of a $1.3 billion infusion.
Complicating matters is the fact that the Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved the proposed merger, which it continues to investigate. Digital World hasn’t given up and will hold another meeting a month from now. Its charter “allows its executives another three-month extension after this one,” reported The Washington Post. “If the merger is still not done by then, Digital World has said it could be forced to liquidate, returning all of its money to investors and leaving Trump’s operation with nothing.”
Finally, Fox Business reported that Truth Social “is locked in a bitter battle with one of its vendors”—RightForge, the conservative Internet-hosting company—“claiming that the platform is stiffing the company out of more than $1 million in contractually obligated payments.… If the allegations are true, they would suggest that Truth Social’s finances are in significant disarray, people with direct knowledge of the matter say.”
Stiffing con brio has always been essential to the art of this particular deal-maker, so … business as usual. But if time is indeed running out, no wonder those posts are coming fast and furious.
Speaking of brio, the Italian senate candidate Silvio Berlusconi has made his first TikTok video—not dancing, alas, but speaking while seated behind his desk. (Though it’s technically possible that from the waist down he was simultaneously executing a fleet-footed tarantella.) “‘Hi guys, here I am,’ the 85-year-old said,” reported The Guardian. “‘There are 5 million of you guys on this platform and 60% of you are under 30 years old and I feel a little envious (on not being young) about that,’ he added.… Berlusconi’s appearance on TikTok is strategic since Italy has lowered the age voters must reach before they are eligible to elect senators from 25 to 18, paving the way for 4 million young adults to gain the right to vote for the upper legislative chamber.”
An alliance of the former prime minister’s Forza Italia and two other right-wing populist parties is favored in Italy’s elections at the end of the month. And that casual, youthful deployment of “guys”—twice—ought to be good for a few more votes.
Six months on, where is Unboxed, also known as the Festival of Brexit? The patriotic, pan-U.K. celebration, originally called Festival 2022 when it was announced four years ago by then prime minister Theresa May as a showcase for “the best of [post-Brexit] British creativity and innovation, culture and heritage” has just released some underwhelming numbers.
“Despite being supported with £120 million [$140 million] in public funds, the so-called Festival of Brexit has fallen woefully short of hitting a target to attract 66 million visitors. Only 238,000 people have turned up so far,” reported The Times of London. “The figures emerged … as the event’s organisers were accused of using it to push ‘woke’ causes, such as gender fluidity and ‘how imperialism shaped the British garden’.” But hope springs eternal: more Unboxed events are planned, said the newspaper, “including a drag queen ‘story time’ in Birmingham ‘that celebrates the imagination and play of gender fluidity in childhood’.”
Though not, on closer inspection, only in Baden-Württemberg. According to The Times of London, Germany’s bid “to enshrine the pretzel as a national treasure by having it added to the United Nations’ ‘intangible cultural heritage’ list, alongside Neapolitan pizza, Belgian beer and French multi-course meals” is widening its scope. While the campaign to get the pretzel recognized by unesco is led by the Bakers’ Guild of Baden-Württemberg, in southwest Germany, the nation’s farming minister, Cem Özdemir, told the newspaper he’s “working to make it a cross-border initiative” that also involves Switzerland, Austria, and France’s Alsace region, “all of which,” noted The Times, “also have strong plaited dough traditions.” —George Kalogerakis
George Kalogerakis, one of the original editor-writers at Spy, later worked for Vanity Fair, New York, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of Disunion: A History of the Civil War, he is a Writer at Large for AIR MAIL