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Vox Sentences: The heir to the Thai throne once made his poodle a high-ranking Air Force officer

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Turns out Donald Trump (allegedly) really has assaulted a bunch of women; Thailand's king dies after a 70-year reign; Bob Dylan, Nobel Prize winner.


Trump Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
  • On Wednesday night, several (more) women came forward to allege that Donald Trump had groped or kissed them without their consent — incidents that sounded disturbingly similar to what Trump bragged about in the leaked 2005 tape released last week. [Vox / Libby Nelson]
  • The accusers say they felt compelled to speak out due to Trump's denial, during Sunday's presidential debate, that he'd ever sexually assaulted a woman. But some (male) journalists have questioned the timing of the accusations, theorizing that Hillary Clinton's campaign might have coordinated their release. [Talking Points Memo / Allegra Kirkland]
  • It is, of course, totally possible that the Clinton campaign was involved in placing at least some of the stories. But any questions about why the women didn't come forward earlier were conveniently settled by Trump himself, in a Thursday speech in which he basically invited his followers to dig into the accusers' pasts. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Trump saved his real ire for the media outlets publishing the new allegations, in particular the New York Times, which his campaign has confirmed it will sue. [The New Republic / Graham Vyse]
  • Trump won't win the suit, and the Times knows it; this letter from its counsel is the sickest burn you're likely to see on Gray Lady letterhead. [The New York Times Company / David E. McCraw]
  • But not every publication is the Times, and Trump's litigiousness and thin skin do pose a threat to less well-resourced outlets — which is why the Committee to Protect Journalists is expressing concern, for the first time in its history, about the 2016 presidential election. [Committee to Protect Journalists]

The king is dead; long live the king*

Mourners in Thailand Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images
  • Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej died Thursday at the age of 88. He'd ruled Thailand for more than 70 years. [NYT / Barbara Crossette]
  • Bhumibol was revered in Thailand, both literally (he was seen as semi-divine by many Thais, and lèse-majesté laws put strict prohibitions on insulting him or his family) and figuratively. He's credited with guiding Thailand through the 20th century, protecting it from communism, and keeping it stable in recent decades by mediating among opposing factions. [BBC / Jonathan Head]
  • His death could disturb a delicate equilibrium. Thailand has been ruled by a military junta since 2014, and its return to democracy has been unsteady. [Washington Post / Max Bearak]
  • It's not at all clear whether Bhumibol's heir, Maha Vajiralongkorn, is up for the job. He's not nearly as well-liked or well-trusted as his father, and for good reason. [The Guardian]
  • Vajiralongkorn is a "thrice-divorced playboy" — the sort of fellow who made his pet poodle a high-ranking Air Force officer and who recently disembarked from a plane in Germany (saluted by senior military officers) wearing a cropped tank top that showed off his back tats. [Foreign Policy / Siobhan O'Grady]
  • This isn't as innocuous as it sounds. When a photographer published the back tat photos, his wife, who was in Thailand visiting family, was detained. [The Guardian / Adam Ramsey]
  • Thailand will observe a year of mourning for Bhumibol, during which time it's hoped Vajiralongkorn will grow into the job (and during which time the junta will likely suspend its promised elections). [WSJ / James Hookway]

Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, and Dylan

Bob Dylan Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
  • Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. He's the first American to win it since Toni Morrison in 1993. [New Yorker / David Remnick]
  • The literary world is split over the prize. A lot of literati are sniffy at the idea of songwriting being considered literature — especially on the heels of the award being given to a journalist in 2015. [AFP]
  • This isn't just international lit snobbery. Since the 1960s, there's been a heated debate over whether Dylan's work counts as poetry. (This 1967 review by Ellen Willis is a very persuasive argument that it oughtn't.) [Commentary / Ellen Willis]
  • Luc Sante at the New York Review of Books, however, argues for people to get off their high horse: "Dylan accomplished something that few novelists or poets or for that matter songwriters ... have managed to do in our era: he changed the time he inhabited." [New York Review of Books / Luc Sante]
  • He also won the adoration of basically every prominent baby boomer in America, which has resulted in a lot of celebratory column space on the internet (see, for example, former Obama administration adviser Cass Sunstein on Dylan as "the American poet"). [Bloomberg / Cass R. Sunstein]
  • Critics who are younger than boomer age tend to be less impressed. This NME case for Dylan's overratedness was written back in 2011, so you know it's not just post-Nobel griping. [NME / Mark Beaumont]
  • Probably the most appropriate way to honor Bob Dylan, though, is to listen to songs about Bob Dylan. (For my (Dara's) money, nothing will ever be better than ex-lover Joan Baez putting both of their hearts on her sleeve in "Diamonds and Rust," but your mileage may vary.) [Gothamist / Ben Yakas]


  • Last year, more countries started working on walls and other barriers on their borders than at any other point in modern history. [Washington Post / Samuel Granados, Zoeann Murphy, Kevin Schaul, and Anthony Faiola]
  • A professional tailor explains why Donald Trump's suits fit so poorly and Barack Obama's fit so well. [Jezebel / Ellie Shechet]
  • Demand for pastry chefs is exploding, but wages aren't rising. The reason why is a problem for the whole economy. [NYT / Noam Scheiber]
  • Central areas of America's cities have grown in property value faster than anywhere else in the country. But that hasn't stopped "inner city" from remaining a synonym for poverty and dysfunction. [NYT / Emily Badger]
  • Lincoln Chafee regrets starting his presidential campaign by calling for the adoption of the metric system. Never regret that, Linc. Never regret anything. [Esquire / Luke O'Brien]


  • "It makes you want to turn off the news, it makes you want to unplug the internet or just look at cat GIFs, believe me, I get it. In the last few weeks I've watched a lot of cats do a lot of weird and interesting things, but we have a job to do and it'll be good for people and for cats." [Hillary Clinton via Tamara Gitt]
  • "Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use. … Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union call on federal and state legislatures to end the criminalization of the personal use of drugs and the possession of drugs for personal use." [Human Rights Watch]
  • "You can leave if you want; we’re not gonna kill ourselves after the interview." [Jim Norton to Nancy Grace via A.V. Club / Sean O'Neal]
  • "What I learned in 1991 is no less true today and no less important for people to understand: responses to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence must start with a belief that women matter as much as the powerful men they encounter at work or at school, whether those men are bosses or professors, colleagues or fellow students." [Boston Globe / Anita Hill]
  • "This house condemns the misogynistic, hateful comments made by … Mr. Donald Trump, about women and minorities, including the remarks revealed over the weekend that clearly describe sexual assault … and agrees with those who have described Mr Trump as ‘a revolting slug’ unfit for public office." [Motion passed by the upper house of New South Wales Parliament, via BuzzFeed / Mark Di Stefano]

Watch this: How Snapchat’s filters work

The engineering behind Snapchat's augmented-reality selfies. [YouTube / Joss Fong, Dion Lee]