"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Liberal Disassembly Of Donald Trump - How Boring Life Would Be Without Rumor, Exaggeration, And Innuendo

“Oh, my God”, said Marcie Bloom when she heard the news.  “It couldn’t be.  It just couldn’t be; but then again, maybe it could”.  Suspension of disbelief is the age-old complicity of writers and their readers.  We know that Phillip couldn’t possibly have been that stupid, falling in love with his Cousin Rachel (My Cousin Rachel, Daphne Du Maurier) when every sign pointed to her evil designs on his wealth, his manor, and his jewels.  We know  either that he will pay for his stupidity, or she for her wicked ways; but we read on until the end.

Phillip finally comes to his senses, realizes that Rachel has killed his cousin and has been poisoning him,sees that she has duped him into bequeathing all his land, property, and wealth to her, and in a moment of clarity, surprising resolve and will, arranges for her death.  Not quite murder - our complicity would not permit such immoral treachery on the part of the simpleton Phillip – but an arranged end in any case, seeing to it that she crosses an unstable bridge and plunges to her death.

Image result for images book cover my cousin rachel

So there is a place in our lives for the impossible which is why Donald Trump is so popular a President.  His opponents, having been whipped by a man who to them was smarm, evil, and ignorance incarnate, all wrapped up in a fat, balding, boasting, snake-oil salesman, cannot take their foot off the pedal.  No matter what he says or how logical the foundation underlying his statements, he can only be seen as a lying, duplicitous, charlatan.  In other words, the progressive Left prefers the caricature of Donald Trump rather than the man himself.

The media shills – MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, and The Guardian among them – care little for the temperate, insistent investigative journalism which can unearth the truth or as close to it as an assortment of assembled facts can come; and jump on the allegation-as-fact, innuendo-as-truth, and sanctimony-as-logic juggernaut.  Exaggeration sells.  The rationale behind trade negotiations, armament and disarmament, treaties and military threat, budget cuts and deficits is irrelevant.  The man – a clown, a cheap, low-life burlesque vaudevillian couldn’t possibly have a brain in his head, is all bombast and crude glitz, glamour, and tarts.

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erybody gains from Donald Trump.  His conservative base is delighted to finally have a President who refuses to kowtow to the sanctimony, correctness, and thuddingly boring presumptuousness of the Left; and progressives are delighted because they finally have someone to hate – really hate from the gut and from the soul.  The Bushes were too familiar to hate.  Who could despise Bush I, the patrician heir to a noble American family, a man who embodied noblesse oblige, giving back to his country, a war hero, chief spy, ambassador, and quiet, respectful Vice-President? And despite Bush II’s swagger and machismo, who could deny him at least some legitimacy for leading the country after 9/11? But Trump? A blow-up, arm-waving balloon figure on a used car lot; the essence of white supremacy, racism, misogyny, and homophobia.

Which is why the international betting markets have Trump as a 52 percent favorite.  America was fed up with Jimmy Carter, a man of religion, moral rectitude, and temperate reasonability.  “Put on a sweater”, said Carter before logs burning in a fireplace.  We are an irresponsibly greedy nation, he said, intent only on personal gain while the world’s resources are being exploited, sucked up, and burned with no thought of future generations.  “Turn down your thermostats”.

Of course the downbeat, evangelist Carter was soundly defeated in the next election; and an upbeat, positive, can-do, real American, Ronald Reagan, took the White House.  Carter was intent on telling the truth, however unpleasant, and asking people to face it.  Reagan asked nothing of the American people other than hope, optimism, patriotism, and loyalty.  His ‘Shining City on a Hill’, America as Biblical heir, leader of the free world, champion of all, and defender of democracy, free enterprise, and religion was all that voters needed to hear. 

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There is nothing more American than supposition and hearsay.  Who is interested in Derrida’s deconstruction of text?  His defrocking of ‘meaning’, intent, and purpose? Literature, art, and history are only subjective distortions – poor representations of race, gender, ethnicity, and class struggle.  Derrida and Lacan may still have salience at Duke, perhaps the last redoubt of pure post-modernism in America, but nowhere else.  The rest of us are children of Hollywood, Las Vegas, the Strip and the Silver Screen. We want only semblance, never disassembled , taken-apart chassis.  Who cares about the components of whole?  Only metaphysicians at Yale.   The rest of us want what seems to be, what could be, and what might be.

An older woman, birder, environmentalist, and lover of Thoreau, could not get enough of swamps, marshes, wading birds, tidal pools, and flourishing gorse, reeds, and sea grass.  When pressed as to why, she stumbled.  No one had asked her such a question.  Who could doubt nature’s beauty and metaphysical importance?  The skeptic who walked with her on the tidal flats of Skaket Beach was unimpressed.  There was nothing particularly impressive, mystical, or that beautiful about the Cape Cod seashore – nothing certainly that could be compared to the interpretive, creative visions of Bacon, Hockney; or even Braque and Picasso.  When pressed even more, she referred to their ‘importance’.  Yes, they were beautiful,she said, but they meant something.  They signified something.

Ah yes, ‘importance’, the prerogative of the intellectually woke, heirs – wittingly or unknowingly – of Lacan and Derrida.  A thing could never be a thing but of relevance and ‘essence’ only if it meant something.  Historicity trumps beauty every time.

She, of course, was of an insular minority of those who continued to value meaning – absolute meaning and revealed truth – despite the Trump juggernaut.  She railed against him, accused him of the same ills ascribed to him by her liberal cohorts.  He was not only a misogynist, racist, homophobe; not only a greedy capitalist and friend of illicitly wealthy elites, but an enemy of the plover, the osprey, and the hooded merganser.  These birds which had only subjective value before Donald Trump, now had substance.  They, in their pristine Cape Cod seashore beauty,  which before were only mystical, now symbolized Trump’s arrogant despoiling of the environment.

This is the marvel of conflation – everything can be coopted, used, and transformed irrespective of relevance.  Piling on.  It’s not enough that Donald Trump is an evil, malingering, racist; he is one of the Furies:
Furies, Greek Erinyes, also called Eumenides, in Greco-Roman mythology, the chthonic goddesses of vengeance. They were probably personified curses, but possibly they were originally conceived of as ghosts of the murdered. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, they were the daughters of Gaea (Earth) and sprang from the blood of her mutilated spouse Uranus. In the plays of Aeschylus, they were the daughters of Nyx; in those of Sophocles, they were the daughters of Darkness and of Gaea. Euripides was the first to speak of them as three in number. Later writers named them Allecto (“Unceasing in Anger”), Tisiphone (“Avenger of Murder”), and Megaera (“Jealous”). They lived in the underworld and ascended to earth to pursue the wicked. (Wiki)
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The rumor at a prominent New England prep school a number of years ago was that the headmaster, a lugubrious, dour, unfortunately Puritanical-looking man, had a dog’s jaw.  His own had been shot off in the war and replaced with that of a German Shepherd of the Third Canine Corps, sacrificed for the cause of liberty.   No student at Lefferts could look at Mr. Grissom without thinking of the dog, the jaw, and the horrendous incident of the dislodged grenade.  Grissom was not a handsome man, and perhaps because of his plainness and intimidating rectitude and thanks to the influence of his father, a pastor at the local, Brewster (MA) Presbyterian Church, had chosen education as a profession.   His jaw, while sharply canine in angle, was an ordinary, common feature of any New England face; but because of the weird tale of an incoming freshman in the first year of Grissom’s headmastership, it became iconic. 

No matter how well Headmaster Grissom ran The Lefferts School; no matter how well he ministered to his students, supported his faculty, or engaged parents and alumni, he was, and will always be remembered as The Headmaster with the Dog’s Jaw.

The image of Bill Clinton  dry-fucking Monica Lewinsky with a cigar and getting sucked off in return in the Oval Office will remain his iconic image. No matter his creditable record – no wars, no deficits, social harmony if not cohesion (“I am America’s first black President”) – he will always be remembered for his equally cheap, trashy, ambitious intern. 

Image result for monica lewinsky cartoon clinton

Ivan’s Devil, a character in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, concedes that he is a vaudevillian.  How boring life would be without him, he says, an eternity of righteous church-going and right-doing.  He may not represent the best of all possible worlds, but certainly those of the most fund.  A vaudevillian, a burlesque performer, a clown invent, exaggerate, and play to the audience who want no truth, fact, or reality.  They want only performance and make-believe.  For however much they might claim propriety, they are only interested in low-life filth and backbiting innuendo.

Image result for image ivan's devil dostoevsky

Lord knows we are not perfect, but our imperfection and worse, our reveling in the imperfection of others, should be – if we were to anticipate Jesus’s response -  inhuman.

So be it.  God made us in is image, and must wonder at times what he had done let alone what image he was thinking of.

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