Virtually every NYT culture story injects Trumphitler into the mix. They just can’t help themselves (“Billy Joel’s Got a Good Job and Hits in His Head”). After sustained Q&A about his musical past and present, the reporter (Rob Tannenbaum) throws out this question from left field:
NYT: As a student of history, is there anything in American life that compares politically to the Trump presidency?
JOEL: I get worried that we’re in the Weimar Republic stage, when Hitler got to rise. I don’t want to overreach, because I know Republicans will make hay with that. But there’s a lot of neo-Nazism going on.
NYT: Your grandfather started one of Germany’s most successful textile businesses before the Nazis expropriated it and he fled the country. Your father fought in World War II. Neo-Nazism is a personal issue for you, yes?
JOEL: My father’s family left Germany in ’38, after Kristallnacht, but they couldn’t get into the United States. There was a quota on European Jews, and if you couldn’t get in here, you were shipped back, then you were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz — which is what happened to my father’s family. They were all [killed in Auschwitz], except for my father and his parents. So this anti-immigrant stuff strikes a very dark tone with me.
People feel disenfranchised. They feel like they’re losing their power base, or their importance in American culture. America is becoming browner. Well, that’s how the world is. But I’m a libtard.[Laughs] What do I know?