Well I don’t, nor have I ever, presumed to be anything more than what I am. Which is basically a two-bit hustling blogger with no real name or cred to speak of. Blogging is a fun frolic in the mental hay, but it does not consume my life.This digital train wreck of mine has been meandering the surfscape since August, 2009. A long-ass time; a lot of rambling and inanities, and one day I will perhaps take it more seriously, or maybe I’ll simply tire of the whole rigmarole. The thing is, if you set personal goals or thresholds for yourself in the realm of blogging, it is easy to get diverted from the matters at hand and frustrated, and I imagine a lot of prospective bloggers get bored and dismayed, and just drop the whole activity altogether, especially if using one of the many free blogging platforms available. It’s easy to walk away when you don’t have a monetary stake in your diversion.
Point being that occasionally I look inwards and consider this whole blogging adventure anew, and I always, always, find more amusement at hand than the slightest modicum of concern. And I resist all attempts by my ego to fluff up my bullshit beyond what it is. Bullshit. My opinion, my cyber-corner.
Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the Oval Office, which began with his notorious lambasting of illegal aliens in the Summer of 2015, has been the greatest source of fodder for this blog. Too much so, it seems at times, but in keeping with my free form, no fucks-to-give approach, I have spent countless column space devoted to all things Trump.
Recently, I read something that caused me to perform a search query here in order to refresh my memory of something I penned about Donald Trump during that chaotic period following his announcement for POTUS candidacy.
The results were plentiful. The P.T. Barnum narrative apparently struck a chord with me.
Beginning in July, 2015, on the coattails of Trump’s announcement. I was assuredly not on board the Trump train yet. I was a detractor for several months before I saw the light. Essentially I called Donald Trump a sucker, and by extension, anyone who supported him. My exact words:
Americans are suckers for suckers
By November, I reconsidered. And now it was I who was the sucker. I wrote (with another allusion to P.T. Barnum):
And none of this has changed, but, I am announcing, reticently, that I will support Donald Trump in his bid for President of the United States in the 2016 election.
I will support Donald Trump, the political rabble-rouser.
I will support that Godforsaken hair mop and the incessant trigger-happy stream of schoolyard provocation that pours out his mouth insofar as it clears out the staid, immutable political quagmire that has become American politics.
I support Donald Trump, the catalyst to action and awareness on the part of those so blind, they don’t know of the other world we, their humble constituents, live in. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that any action is better than none.
I do not support Donald Trump, the person, the politician, the P.T. Barnum lowest-common-denominator entertainer. I do not support the superficial, sloganeering, materialistic hedonist. I do not support the hot-aired figurehead and pop culture utilitarian whore and psychological manipulator whose only bottom line is Donald Trump and his nausea-inducing bling persona.
The American political world is a repressed, elitist swarm of insulated symbols in smart suits who do the bidding of the 1%-ers which involves implementing and supporting policy largely adverse to the well-being of most Americans. American politicians smile at us, beg for our allegiance, but feel absolutely no compunction about selling our dignity and sovereignty down the river once the bankers and corporate elites come knocking and demanding inequality for the sake of superficial egalitarianism.
Donald Trump is a billionaire showman who, innately, is no different. I expect nothing to change, in terms of federal policy, but I do expect that, should he become POTUS, there will be a sea change of alterations of the cloistered political mentality that subsumes the hallways of Washington D.C. In familiar parlance, his chaotic, ghetto presence (and Donald Trump is the ultimate ghetto politician) will “stir up things” in the national capitol and perhaps, this is a good thing.
By January, 2016, I had gone full P.T. Barnum. Now I distinctly made the comparison, one which had nebulously filtered into my previous posts.
Donald Trump’s show is on the road and coming to your town soon. Forget that wrestling mayhem for a bit. Hunker down, pull out the popcorn, and enjoy some Presidential action, brought to you by Donald Trump and his band of merry marauders. Soon protesters, starved for attention, will begin to relish the spotlight that can predictably be acquired at any Trump rally, and they will show up in all their glory and the unwritten script will commence. Get off my stage! You’re outta here, go back to [fill in blank].
Oh, speaking of which, Trump’s enemy-of-the-stage clearing theatrics reminds me that famous (OK, not that famous) conservative talk-show host from local Los Angeles television back in the 1980’s – Wally George.
He was a firebrand, part right-wing basket case, part P.T. Barnum.
His show was called the Hot Seat and the ploy was that Wally George hosted guests who did not see eye-to-eye with his conservative views. This made for great entertainment. In many cases, the guests overstepped their bounds of propriety just enough to trigger a Wally George tirade which inevitably ended with him shooting up rapidly from his chair, waving his arm in a gesture of violent dismissal, and yelling at the guest, “Get off of my stage!”
It was a shtick, much like Trump’s, and the audience ate it up every time.
In fact, we looked forward to it. I suspect much of Donald Trump’s crowd/security antics feed off the same type of rapt amusement, and I don’t foresee such displays stopping anytime soon. In fact, the audience is clamoring for more.
The Barnum reference here was actually directed at Wally George, not Donald Trump, but the implication was blatantly obvious.
The final two posts that included the “P.T. Barnum” search string were in February and December of that year. I aired some dubious postulations in both, another liberty of running your own blog. It’s fun to guess out loud and there is no price to pay when you have no editors or board of directors. Freedom is nothing left to lose…
Obviously the guy is a sensationalist entertainer, a showman, PT Barnum, whatever. But what if, beneath that frat boy veneer, lives a sincere striving public servant? Can it be much worse than the other candidates who parse their speech but still manage to say nothing substantive?
It’s juvenile, glib, immature, this creature called Donald Trump. Well you know…maybe this is the new dialog. Maybe he is the first social media President of the United States, the first #hashtagpotus, the one who finally blurs the line between respectability and public revelation. The internet’s new paradigm has long eluded national politics, but the time looks as if it has arrived on Donald Trump’s bouffant.
I posted something in July, 2015, in which I likened Donald Trump to P.T. Barnum. I alluded to his supporters as “suckers.” Ironic…now I am one.
My analogy still stands, however.
I do believe Donald Trump is a masterful self-promoter and I especially believe he relishes the carnival atmosphere of this year’s Presidential election and the ensuing dust up. He thrives on the sideshow. The more chaotic, disordered and three-ring-circus the atmosphere and spectacle, the more giddy and energized he becomes. But this is exactly the personality and temperament required for a public official bent on inserting upheaval into a stagnate, frozen political system that has grown to thrive on apathy and consumerism and complacency.
If you want a Politician for the New Age to usher in change, he will need to be a bit on the hyperbolic and exaggerated side of the spectrum. A carnival barker.
As such, I don’t think he is beyond engaging in certain “dubious” practices perpetuated by his own hand if the ostensible aim is to inject his narrative through engaging bits of drama.
In fact, I sometimes wonder if the Jill Stein Show is his doing.
So why am I “saying” all this?
As I said, I don’t pretend to be anything more than I am, but it’s somewhat satisfying to realize that my insights predate those of Establishment journalists by at least a year and a half.
Lesser bloggers might think they had a direct hand in the whole affair, but I realize that is not the case here. I doubt I’m the genesis of anyone’s idea nor that I am horribly original. Besides, any sort of Donald Trump – P.T. Barnum analogy is not a far stretch and should have occurred to many.
I just happened to write about it.
Still…nyah nyah to the Hartford Courant, and specifically, to Jennifer Tucker. I was first!
Tucker is obviously still stuck in the leftist anti-Trump rut, awash in tired tropes peculiar to the elitist intelligentsia.
Trump and Barnum also both recognized that celebrity (their own, and their association with famous others) could be a key in the manufacture of success. They learned to profit from the vague notions of what counts as entertainment. Barnum deliberately created controversy: by producing a fake mermaid, for example — and then leaving it up to the public to judge the facts. He candidly stated, “Newspaper and social controversy … served my purpose ‘as a showman’ by keeping my name before the public.”
There are differences, however, in their approach to fraud, for Barnum mocked the illusions that made him rich. He exposed the artifice behind his hoaxes, such as how spirit photography was done. His 1865 book “The Humbugs of the World,” an exposé of “deceits and deceivers, in All Ages,” displayed self-awareness and irony, as well as a talent for fraud and the creation of deceptive appearances. Moreover, Whalen has noted, Barnum extended the tradition in Greek comedy in which an author’s building up illusion is punctured with self-conscious commentary about the difficulty of artistic creation.
Even more notably, Barnum cited truth-telling as a necessary condition for success in business: “Let your pledged word be sacred,” he wrote, since “Nothing is more valuable to a man in business than the name of always doing as he agrees.”
His was a captivating personality of course — and perhaps all the more so in comparison with his most prominent 21st-century heir, who takes Barnum’s talent for deception and fraud even farther — but with less of the irony and art (and minus the mermaids).
As usual, Liberals sell Trump short. He is no less “aware” of his showmanship than P.T. Barnum was, and his egregious public trolling is not conducted blindly. Donald Trump is now a politician which prohibits him from referring to his methods in a meta fashion; if he was strictly an entertainer, there would be no harm in this, and if anything, that would serve to increase the currency of his unconventional brand.
But do we need to look further than Tucker’s credentials to arrive at such a “conclusion?” Academic immersion is the last refuge of the pragmatist in today’s parlance.