Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Make ‘Em Laugh

Like it or not, Trump is going to become president at noon on Friday.  Nothing is going to change that, even if the CIA or the FBI or the press comes up with absolute proof of misdeeds, misconduct, and mischief.  No amount of petitions or calls to Congress will stop the clock from running down to the change of terms, and all those people marching the next day in Washington, Seattle, Miami, Denver, and Kansas City won’t stop him from assuming office.  The government must go on.  The Constitution says so.

But that doesn’t mean that we cannot do everything we can to limit the damage, to push back against the chaos that is already brewing here and abroad, and it doesn’t mean that the press should stop pushing back and digging in.  Right now the current worry in the press corps is that the Trump White House might restrict their access or even throw them out of the briefing room at the White House.  The relationship between the White House and the press has always been adversarial, which is the way it should be.  So you do your reporting from the driveway.

It’s not news that Trump is a coward and a bully who has surrounded himself with sycophants and yes-people.  Take it from someone who has dealt with bullies most of his life and learned a very valuable lesson: they have very thin skin and they are destroyed when they are mocked and laughed at.  It is the ultimate form of defiance and it makes them flail, which provides even more fodder for mockery and defiance.  Note how easily Trump is pissed off by Saturday Night Live’s portrayal of him by Alec Baldwin.  A normal person would laugh it off or even offer to contribute to their own mockery, thereby deflating it.  But Trump is providing endless hours of fun.  He’s already improving the economy for actors and writers.

Yes, of course we should be concerned about what a Trump presidency will mean for the global economy and stability in the numerous hot spots around the world.  Yes, he is more than likely on the hook to Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs of oil (which is probably redundant).  Yes, he has threatened basic civil rights of journalists and made outrageous promises that he couldn’t fulfill even if he wanted to.  But the way he wins and gets his way is by his opponents being cowed and surrendering.

I’m not a politician or an elected official so there’s not much I can do about voting against his plans.  Neither am I a journalist with the resources to dig into his dealings.  But I am a writer, and until they pry the keyboard from my cold dead hands, I will continue to document the absurd and the dangerous, the cheap and the tacky, and to make America great again by using the one weapon that actually works against a bully: their inability to take a joke.

Or, to put it more succinctly, Trump needs a pie in the face.

6 barks and woofs on “Make ‘Em Laugh

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  2. A most interesting column today by of all people David Brooks. He tracks the source of carnival back through history to the era when the church began to take itself seriously. No longer would the heroes like King David whirl and dance in ecstacy. Now priest wore black and took themselves very very seriously. Congregations were warned about Hell and how everyone was destined to suffer eternally. There’s just so much of this Everyman could take and so the people broke out, took to the streets and carnivals were born. The most prominent feature of these times of celebration was the Fool who insulted the king and “told the truth” (viz: Lear). See where I’m going? Brooks vows to never report or comment on another Trump-tweet which he considers Fool talk.

    • Except that Mr. Brooks seems to think that Trump knows when he’s playing the Fool and provoking the uptight. I frankly don’t think he knows the difference; he has yet to demonstrate the wisdom of the Fool in King Lear nor does he have an appreciation for the underlying lesson. He is using Twitter as an outlet for his id, not to speak truth to power.

    • David Brooks has made a career out of being a kind of genial, reasonable-sounding apologist for the indefensible. His column today is both contrived and incoherent. Donald Trump can’t play the fool “speaking truth to power” because now he IS the power, and his tweets are aimed at people with far less power than he has. For Brooks to say that henceforth he will write about “only what he does, not what he says or tweets” is ridiculous, because what he says or tweets is inseparable from what he does. It’s how he does what he does!

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