Dispatches from Wolf Country — We’re Still Laughing

Well, we know that the guy has, at best, a nodding acquaintance with the whole concept of truth. We know he's easily distracted by things that are shiny; we know he has weird relationships with his wives and children. We know he forgot his wife was there when they got back to the White House after the Inauguration.

Ajax: One thing that never survives this place is a sense of humor.   Wade Wilson: We’ll see about that! — Dead Pool

I must admit that one thing that had me worried about the whole Trump thing was that we might just lose our senses of humor and the ridiculous over this really unfortunate turn of events. We have a bloody real estate developer sired by a slumlord who was fathered by a German Refugee/Draft Dodger running the bloody country…some of this stuff is too awful to be funny? Or is it?

Who the hell was Three Doors Down When They Were Somebody?

Well, we know that the guy has, at best, a nodding acquaintance with the whole concept of truth. We know he’s easily distracted by things that are shiny; we know he has weird relationships with his wives and children. We know he forgot his wife was there when they got back to the White House after the Inauguration. We know he’s scared of stairs, has no aptitude for the job and hires really awful people. He’s a bully; vain, pompous and tasteless and hyprocritical. Strong women make him nervous. Sounds a lot like some real estate developers I’ve met over the years.

But, what has happened is that he’s turned on a large part of the spectrum of thinkers and writers from responsible right to bat shit crazy leftist and beyond to satire, slapstick and just crazed stuff that captures this madness the way Catch-22 did for World War II. It’s a Renaissance of Resistance, and welcome; I mean, Hillary as President would have had a lot of jokes and routines flying, but nothing like this. He’s raised the ante, he takes Bo the Dog and replaces him with flying monkeys….

One of the more creative bits of satire to pop out was in today’s Daily New Yorker. In it, author Keaton Patti sees a way for George W. Bush to rehabilitate himself in the minds of America. He’s not asking for that much really in George W. Bush: America, If You’ll Remember Me as an OK President, I’ll Trap Donald Trump in One of My Paintings. 

It’s kind of amazing, but at this point, the Bush Presidency doesn’t look all that awful now, does it? On track to be a wasted opportunity but then between 9/11, Iraq which of course had nothing to do with 9/11, and Katrina, they really went sideways and down, bouncing so far to the right and out of play as to let the other side’s batter get credit for four RBIs on the error… He could have been an adequate peacetime, no “No Rush, George Bush”President, and maybe gotten attention for his mountain biking exploits and interest in rural renewal through brush clearing. Hell, he’d been President of the Texas Rangers, and admitted that he knew how to make a mistake since, “I traded Sammy Sosa” so the whole “guy I’d rather have a beer with” shtick made some sense. So, this has some real brilliance in it…

It begins like this:

America, in the years since my Presidency, I’ve spent much of my time painting. In fact, I’ve spent countless hours in front of the easel, putting paint to canvas—that’s what painting is. If I’m not painting, I’m sleeping, enjoying time with my family, or dabbling in the dark arts…You heard me right. I’ve been getting in a lot of family time.

Well, we knew he was kind of a lousy player in the oil business and a fairly mediocre team president for the Rangers although he was in charge when they put up the Little Ball Park in Arlington. And we did know, and it was kinda strange,  that he was into painting and compared to a lot of amateurs he’s not really all that bad. Sold a few. So the author just adds something else to set us up. We were fairly sure that Cheney was channeling Cthulhu or somebody, but we never associated Dubya with the dark arts. All that prep school, Skull and Bones nonsense should have clued us, but it turns out that the 43rd President of the United States is a fairly high level adept with the Necronomricon! Who knew?

A fairly high level adept with the Necronomricon! Who knew?

So, in return for remembering him as a not horrible president, Dubya promises to bind Donald Trump so he won’t bother us at all. He learned the spell from a “maleficent spirit daemon whose name can only be uttered by the eternally damned.” I particularly like the idea of imprisoning Trump’s soul in the painting with a Sixth Level Mind-Soul-Body-Link since even Dread Dragon Xaxiqui could be held by a fourth level Link. There is a slight problem, of course.

Then again, the code of the Dread Dragon forces Xaxiqui to accept defeat with honor, whereas Trump is not bound by such a code. You probably think all this sounds crazy, but it’s true. Trump is not an honorable man…

I mean, the dude only wants to be remembered as a Millard Fillmore equivalent as opposed to an incompetent bumbler, so why not. He even promises to throw Mike Pence in for free…why the hell not America! I’d buy that T-Shirt! Here’s my thought for the Logo!

Dubya! Bush 43! The Decider!

Prettier Daughters, Smarter Wife

Better than Millard Fillmore

Has anyone seen Melania? Nobody has seen her since the Inauguration. I don’t want to think we have a mad king who’s locked his wife in a tower, but it’s really called Trump Tower! –Bill Maher

In August, contributor Paul Rudnick published a piece of Melania’s Diaries for the edition after the Republican Convention. It began this way:

It didn’t work. Maybe I should have plagiarized all of Michelle Obama’s Convention speech, or maybe I should have just repeated the words “I love Hillary” over and over again, but now I’m feeling doomed. I wish I were back in Slovenia, modelling polyester cardigans and telling our goat, “Someday, I will sail to America and marry a rich, handsome man.” I should have listened when the cow, who was eavesdropping, said, “Bloomberg.”

Since at that point, no one thought that this would be a recurring feature, he hasn’t appeared since until the February 6 issue, and I for one am happy that the editors at the New Yorker hadn’t lost his address. This article is supposedly written on the Sunday after the Inauguration and the Women’s March, which she attended, incognito with the big sunglasses and the pink ski cap. She’s still creeped out by the whole President-First Lady thing, but is finding ways to cope…

Of course, I was in disguise: I’d removed the formfitting powder-blue Ralph Lauren bolero I’d worn over my Inauguration dress and added a down vest, Uggs, and one of those fun pink knitted hats that everyone was wearing. I had such a good time chanting “Keep your tiny hands off my reproductive rights!” and “Free Melania!” No one recognized me, although when one lady commented on the resemblance, I replied, “No, Melania is much younger and more wistfully melancholy.”

While the Bush piece was a higher level of satire, kind of like Swift’s A Modest Proposal, these pieces have a bit more National Lampoon, even Mad Magazine feel to some of the bits. Rednick has published some children’s books according to his bio sketch, so I suspect that fits. There’s a level of real madness and surreal color that is just marvelous. Melania never expected him to really run for president although he kept saying it along with “I want to be a real boy” and even after Ivanka hit him on the nose with a newspaper. Dealing with the Inauguration, she deals with simply.  “The Inauguration wasn’t easy for me. Mostly, I pretended that Donald was an elderly real-estate broker showing me homes in the D.C. area.”

Just repeated the words “I love Hillary” over and over again

One thing that amazes me is how easy it is to stay amused and angry. Masha Gessen in her emerging classic NYRB piece Autocracy: Rules for Survival has four principle rules based on her experiences in Russia from the early 90s through Yeltsin to the rise and triumph of Putin. They may not guarantee happiness or safety, but they do guarantee staying sane and maintaining your intellectual honesty as well as that old word Trump doesn’t have clue to, honor. They’re fairly simple, and with this guy, are almost self-evident.

Believe the Autocrat. When he says what he says, he means it or something crazier.

Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Not hard in this case, nothing is normal.

Institutions will not save you. Prescient at least in terms of what the Orange Orangutan needs and wants. She admits that the institutions in the US are far stronger than they were in Russia, but between the ham-handed attacks on the media, the courts, nonprofits, the Constitution, and Lady Liberty, we can at least guess where this is going.

Be outraged. “If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.” 

Don’t make compromises. This should be clear to anyone who has seen any of Trump’s works — bankrupt casinos, tacky clothing lines now available in TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and soon on street corners in third world counties, a line of freeze-dried steaks and cheap wine priced up, the drum beat of suppliers and sub-contractors and wedding planners, and on and on — that when you deal with Trump you’re probably going to be swindled, bullied and at best come out of it planning on never trying again. Unfortunately, politics is a beast made of broken promises, compromise and rule-bending. He fits right in if you let him, so if he walks in, walk out.

Remember the Future. Hope may be fleeting, but without it you either join the chants of adulation, get a weird haircut, and stop speaking in complete, coherent sentences; or, you say what the hell and take up drinking absinthe and heroin and shooting his DJT in the living room wall, a la Sherlock Holmes.

One of the things that make it easy to continue to hope as well as stay outraged is that these fools really don’t learn from their mistakes. They keep doubling down on the stupid, outrageous and idiotic and are surprised when people call them on it. Jake Tapper among others has been pretty direct here…the look on Kelley Ann Conway’s face when he called Trump a liar and thus by extension called her a liar was priceless. Went quickly from “How dare you!” to “Oh shit, they’re on to us.”

It’s just the daily repetition of drivel that pops up. With people like Bill Maher, and Alec Baldwin, and Melissa McCarthy and the writers and cast of Saturday Night Live, it’s irresistible. Lewis Black had a routine in the campaign had an oppening bit where he would read an extract from a journal stating that 13% of the American people would prefer the end of the world by sudden collision with a giant comet that the election of either Trump or Hillary. He then looked up and said something like, “And on that note, I’ll bid you goodnight…the only good thing to come out of this election cycle is that it has made time seem longer.”

Black has found a lot of inspiration in the Trump thing. When Stephen Colbert asked him if he had found anything different about the first couple weeks of Trumpergeddon, he reminisced about having done a lot of hallucinogens when he was young so that he could deal with any reality, but this…hilarity follows.

Finally, here’s a collaboration between Braveheart and Samantha Bee and the Scottish people. These folks have made Trump crazy for years doing things like describing him accurately, refusing to sell him their land, putting up wind tunnels. If they built some steps, they’d have it iced!

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