Thursday, July 27, 2017

Donald The Destroyer: Assessing The Trump-Effect

Newsweek.com

Oh please say to me
You'll let me be your man
And please say to me
You'll let me hold your hand
Now, let me hold your hand
I wanna hold your hand

So, we’ve officially gone from The West Wing to Animal House. To the regret of Democrats and liberals, Donald Trump cuts a presidential image far removed from the Sorkinite Aristotelian Quaalude (h/t Emmet Penney) of a Jed Bartlett in the Oval Office. To the chagrin of Republicans and corporate conservatives, his demeanor increasingly resembles the adolescent antics of a Bluto punching it out ringside at the WWF. Politicians and commentators from both sides of the narrow aisle are all shocked and saddened at the ongoing insult to American “presidentialness.”

In a recent irruption of his self-sabotaging panglossia, Trump has given a bizarre interview to the New York Times in which, among other gems: 1) He warned the Special Counsel to stay away from his businesses.  2) He stated that health insurance costs $12 a year. 3) He taught his interviewers that the head of the FBI does not report to the Attorney General. And 4) In a series of blurts that I find particularly bizarre and telling, he repeatedly emphasized that French President Emmanuel Macron is a “strong” guy who “loves holding my hand… people don’t realize he loves holding my hand...He’s a very good person. And a tough guy…but he does love holding my hand.” As the man with the cigar might say, textbook symptomatic utterance.  (It's such a feeling...I can't hide. I can't hide. I can't hide.)

These are all signs of Trump's complete ignorance regarding policy fundamentals as well as his overwhelming narcissism. It's quite a bonus that it comes so obviously tinged with a familiar “bromantic”--i.e., per cigar-man, homo-erotic--attraction for strong men who (he imagines) give him the love he so desperately needs. There are charming versions of that in the playfulness of the locker room or at the chessboard, but it's somewhat more disturbing as a central, unrecognized obsession of the pussy-grabbing leader of the most powerful country in the world, whose discourse seems to whirl around a black hole of narcissism and need. It makes for a hollow and dangerous man.

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