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

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Elements Of Style - How Donald Trump And Low Bourgeoise Took Over The White House And The Nation Cheered

Camelot is what Americans called the Kennedy White House.  For plumbers to the elites of Beacon Hill and Park Avenue, this was an affair to wonder at.  The praises of Pablo Casals and Robert Frost, artists that the average Joe had never heard of, were sung in Bay Ridge and the Tenderloin. 

'Jeez, look at that', said pipe fitters, grouters, and roofers who felt better about themselves than ever before.  Now they knew that there was more to America than bar fights and Walmart. 


The Kennedys never apologized for their elitism.  Jack wanted only Harvard and Yale in his cabinet, la creme de la creme of American intelligentsia; and Jackie wanted no less in her salons.  Only the most avant-garde artists were invited to her teas, soirees, and their formal dinners. It was America's answer to the courts and courtiers of Europe.

However the Chagall and Miro originals had hardly been affixed to the walls in the Oval Office before that rube, that backcountry clown, that brush-clearing, steer-roping Texas cowpoke Johnson filled the office with junk.  Camelot was over, done with, and finished.


Johnson wanted to be Everyman, common folk, a good, decent, wholesome, God-fearing American. Bridles and lassoes replaced the Braques and Picassos, the scents of sagebrush and loblolly pine replaced Lanvin and St. Laurent.  No more of the airy-fairy, Europhile wigs-and-lace version of America that those fey Kennedys were all about. 

The country got what it deserved with Nixon - a real prick if there ever was one - then finally a nativist, popular hero in Ronald Reagan, followed by the demure patrician Bushes and the trailer trash Clinton until it finally got one of their own.  

Donald Trump, star of Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the mean streets of New York, filled the seat of the Oval Office with girth, presence, and an ebullient, fuck you Americanism.  

Trump was all glitz, glamour, décolleté, and arm candy.  Yachts, mansions, moguls, and moneymakers. Blonde and blue eyes in, bling and jive out.  His was a White House of majority America, not minority. More than anything, it was the place of low culture, bas bourgeoisie, and a final end to Russian Hill, Rittenhouse Square, and Park Avenue. 

Then came the Dark Ages.  Happiness in a time of trouble was distasteful.  With a nation so threatened by right wing terror, insurrection and a rollback of progressive ideals, laughter was a sign of political treachery. 

The Biden White House was a collection of diverse misfits. Not only did the President insist on a coterie of black men, lesbian women and transgenders, they were the unseemliest ever recruited by central casting. It was a deliberate in-your-face, take-it-or-leave-it diversity, an aggressive move to make the electorate see beyond the usual facades of identity and see reality for what it was. 

By the time Donald Trump had ascended to the presidency for the second time, the American people had had enough, sick and tired of having to watch a cavalcade of misfits and cultural dwarves parade on Pennsylvania Avenue. This was the republic of Jefferson, Hamilton, and Adams? Never more; and then their savior arrived. 

Trump in a Richard III cleansing of the palace got rid of all his Lancasters and Yorks - the traitors that had hounded him for four years - but when that exercise was over, he turned to remaking.  The White House would be America's once again - not that Biden  potpourri of cross-dressers but good white, Christian, middle-of-the-road Americans.

Pop stars, country singers, line dancers, crooners, and runway divas were invited guests, Texas BBQ and home brew on the menu, hard liquor and pairing off in West Wing bedrooms the ordre du jour. Finally the self-absorption of Joe Biden was gone and left on the curb. 

Trump appointed one white face after another and straight, macho men in a move to recalibrate the country towards the norm.  He appointed by demographics. 

'This is not what America looks like', howled his detractors. 'Yes it is', the newly elected President replied, and with that he invited pole dancers and strippers to his first formal dinner. 

The second Trump presidency was a celebration of America like no other,  It was an efflorescence of American low culture - a recognition of every backcountry holler, every forgotten nook and cranny of the American outback, every Walmart greeter, McDonald's burger flipper, and pizza delivery boy in the country. 

'A travesty...a retreat into darkness...a vision of hateful prejudice and exclusion...', howled the defeated and the newly marginalized Left, but the Trump juggernaut had only just gotten started.

Not only were former White House cadres removed, replaced, and sent packing; but the new hires were jubilantly installed.  It was their time, America's time. 

'Where has Camelot gone?' lamented a New York Times reporter covering the White House. 'Where is the culture, the sophistication, the worldly-wise European taste?'

'Nevermore, Nevermore' replied the National Review, cheering a return to true American social democracy; and so it was that the second Trump administration closed the door on progressive cant, lamentation, and historical myopia.

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