Within 20 minutes of arriving at the Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, I was attacked by a bird.
Boat-tailed grackles, common scavengers of Florida’s coasts, are known for their arrogant hijinks—stealing fries right off people’s plates, and all that. They’re also rapidly losing habitat because of global warming. Was it ironic that this grackle had chosen the Trump resort as a place to nest—a machine that requires incredible energy, named after a president that’s supporting historic cuts to environmental regulations—or did it make perfect sense?
In coming to a Trump resort, I’d fantasized of infiltrating the belly of the beast, of exposing the dark contradictions that fuel luxury tourism; the even darker machinations of the Trump Organization; and the complicity of those branded products and places that choose to keep the Trump name. I imagined a vacationland of excess, golden columns and gaudy chandeliers; tuxedoed servants spinning amongst the tokens of capital run amok.
published in Affidavit, August 27, 2018