Four years ago, we launched Barf Bag shortly after Donald Trump was elected to the presidency. Jezebel’s then politics writers, which at the time included me (weirdly, the other ones have all died), felt overwhelmed by the volume and pace of the new Trumpian news cycle. We felt unable to keep up with the barrage of executive orders and the relentless racism and sexism that emerged from the White House—unsure how to cover a man who we had delighted in mocking during the election now that he had assumed real power.
In an attempt to manage, we created a political version of Dirt Bag that would cover everything from Ivanka Trump’s ridiculous attempts to position herself as an empowered feminist to hate monger Stephen Miller’s receding hairline. Staff writer Ellie Shechet christened it Barf Bag, a perfect name for the queasiness produced by the endless roller coaster of the Trump administration, a perfect name for an administration whose ideology was sickening. And so for four years, we produced Barf Bag, even as new writers took over the daily endeavor and the format slightly changed. It also became a place for our readers to share stories and elaborate on the news of the day (yes, sometimes we read the comments). Barf became a place where we could all process the relentlessness together.
As you may have guessed, this is a goodbye to Barf which is ending today. We will continue, of course, to cover politics, and cover the Biden administration with a close and critical eye (especially on abortion where Democrats should end the Hyde Amendment). We will also continue to cover the right with both the relentless mockery and seriousness that they deserve. And we’ll continue to absolutely hate Ted Cruz who is—and will always be—a completely irredeemable asshole. But the end of Trump’s presidency will, hopefully, mean that the news cycle will return to something resembling humane. Something that doesn’t demand an endless commitment to reading the news with a sickening sense of dread.
This is a precarious moment, of course. It was only a few weeks ago that our legislative chambers had to abandon their work to rioters who believe the election was stolen from them. I have no hope in a bipartisan future and am unmoved by Biden’s rhetoric of unity. Donald Trump’s legacy includes violence against the vulnerable including Black people, the poor, women, and undocumented workers. It also includes an activated angry base who has shown themselves willing to engage in further violence. It also includes three Supreme Court justices who could shred the already at-risk patchwork of reproductive rights into nothing. It’s a cliche at this point to note that the political institutions that form this country are fragile, and they’re just as fragile today as they were on Monday, but the problems will hopefully be more complicated than the endless barrage of base cruelty that the Trump administration reveled in.
Barf no longer seems to be the right way to cover these issues which demand singular attention in a (hopefully) more focused news cycle. So I leave you with our original send-off:
This has been Barf Bag.