Apparently staff writer Nick Paumgarten wrote this New Yorker piece on Joe Biden’s secretary of state nominee Tony Blinken a week and a half ago, but we didn’t notice.

Thankfully, the New Yorker tweeted it out again today (and it’s also in the December 14 print edition, if you’re interested):


When Joe Biden tapped Antony Blinken, a veteran of the Obama and Clinton Administrations, to be his Secretary of State, a quick batch of thumbnail bios noted that he was a “guitar aficionado.” Did this mean that he was a connoisseur of the object itself—a collector of fine guitars? Or that he knew a lot about guitar players? Or that he was an ace player himself? The clickbait-industrial complex quickly discovered that Blinken had a Spotify page, with two singles he’d recorded two years ago, under the handle (and pun) Ablinken. So here was another dad-rocker Pro-Tooling his sideline musings and chord changes into presentable foist-it-on-your-friends form. As someone with connections, money, and letterhead, he’d had help along the way. He’d played with Alex Chilton, from Big Star, and Grant Hart, from Hüsker Du, and Jeff (Skunk) Baxter, the session whiz known for his work with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, as well as for his expertise in the field of missile defense. Blinken was also in a band with a couple of journalists and the former Obama spokesman Jay Carney. They had a bad-pun name (Coalition of the Willing) and a nice-ring-to-it genre (wonk rock). The Spotify tracks were called “Lip Service” and “Patience.” Jokes wrote themselves, as they will. One sensed, in the spasm of media excitement at this bit of late-boomer geek normalcy, the giddiness, in microcosm, over a restoration at Foggy Bottom.

This is Pulitzer material, folks.

The hardest-hittingest.

That was very generous of you, Mary.

Been a lot of that going around lately.



‘Is this satire?’ NPR is off to the races, angling for a primo position in Pete Buttigieg’s lap (even S.E. Cupp is rolling her eyes)

‘Democracy dies in airport terminals’: WaPo tells NPR to hold their beer while they kiss Pete Buttigieg’s backside