Double Played

double_play

In 1996 Jean-Claude Romand was sentenced to life imprisonment. Two decades prior to his conviction Romand was a promising medical student who failed his second-year exams. Instead of retaking the tests Romand set up a double life in plain sight. He presented himself to his family and friends as a successful doctor and medical researcher even though he wasn’t qualified and held no medical post.

Romand became a husband and father, turning to shady property dealings to support his family. Eighteen years into his double life, Romand feared exposure and killed his parents, wife and children. The case, which calls into question the foundation of personal identity, continues to baffle police, psychiatrists and philosophers.

Could Hillary Clinton, ashamed of her defeat, convince her family and friends that she won the election?

Here’s the plan. On inauguration day she tells Bill she’s leaving for the White House. “I’ll be back in eight years,” she says, gathering her pantsuits. “There’s leftover lasagna in the fridge. If the FBI calls let it go to the machine.”

Instead of DC, Hillary heads for NYC and a date with destiny. She joins Beyonce’s world tour with a fresh perspective and a new Gmail account, ready to turn a political lemon into Lemonade.

The Art Of The Heel

“Something in all men profoundly rejoices at seeing a car burn.” –Baudrillard

Trump is a car fire

He’s the death drive Freud warned us about. Our innate desire to self-destruct for the pure spectacle of it. Sometimes he’s the car, a vehicle for change in reverse. Sometimes he’s the fire itself, a burning in the body politic.

Trump is Moloch

Moloch is the Biblical name of a Canaanite god that demands a costly sacrifice. Ginsberg writes in his masterpiece “Howl”:

“Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!”

In voting for Trump we sacrifice our children, the future, the promise of American ideals—in the name of security and (white) power.

Trump is part of the accursed share

From Wikipedia:

“According to Bataille’s theory of consumption, the accursed share is that excessive and non-recuperable part of any economy which must either be spent luxuriously and knowingly without gain in the arts, in non-procreative sexuality, in spectacles and sumptuous monuments, or it is obliviously destined to an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring, in the contemporary age most often in war, or in former ages as destructive and ruinous acts of giving or sacrifice, but always in a manner that threatens the prevailing system.”

Trump’s platform stinks. It’s the waste of democracy. A spewing from the mouth we’re desperate to expel. His campaign represents “an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring” of hate we excrete in small amounts to keep the system flowing.

Trump is the sorcerer’s apprentice

Goethe’s poem “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was published in 1797. As the story goes, an old sorcerer leaves his apprentice with chores. The apprentice, not fully licensed, bonded and insured, enchants a broom to do the work for him, but soon he can’t stop its frenetic sweeping. He splits the broom in two with an axe, but each piece then splits in two, on and on. The old magician returns and breaks the spell, reminding his pupil that powerful spirits should only be called by the master himself.

Mickey Mouse assumed the role of apprentice in the 1940 Disney film Fantasia. Trump is neither Mickey nor sorcerer, but the magic itself. He will make people disappear, preferably back to Mexico.

Trump can’t fire Mickey, now a celebrity apprentice, because Mickey’s hands are twice the size of his.

Trump is a human being

The most frightening proposition of all: Trump is just himself. He’s you and I. Out of many, one.

Donald Trump is the fate we’re surprised to meet halfway down the path of our escape route. The brutal truth of our collective demise we couldn’t imagine during the primaries, but after November 8 we will come to realize was waiting for us all along.

Thanks, Obama

I’ve heard that many Donald Trump supporters are sick and tired of politics-as-usual. Washington is full of self-serving bureaucrats looking to win re-election the day after they’re elected. If this is the case, then both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for misleading and misrepresenting their constituents. Trump doesn’t rise to prominence as a “political outsider” without Washington insiders screwing the American people.

But Trump supporters are naïve to assume that an outsider can change the political landscape. If Trump wins, he immediately becomes an insider. Sure, Trump’s funding his own campaign, but how can John Q. Public trust a billionaire who can afford to fund his own campaign? How would Trump look out for the little guy economically? Nobody knows because he’s too busy insulting Muslim Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, disabled Americans, female Americans, etc. And this is Trump’s appeal: he blames others, just as the little guy voting for him blames politicians.

We saw this with the Tea Party. Ultra-conservatives were voted into power to shake up the power structure in Washington. It didn’t hurt that a black man was in the White House—and not working the coat check room—to convince the little (white) guy that America was in decline. Trump the front-runner doesn’t exist without the Tea Party’s anti-Obama sentiment.

So, where Trump is concerned, the meme once again prevails: Thanks, Obama.

Donald Schmuck

A few days ago I argued here that Donald Trump’s rise in the polls is in part a response to liberals’ political correctness and defense of multiculturalism, and that Trump’s campaign represents the next stage in the descent of American politics into pure spectacle. In addition to these points, I argue today that Trump is a challenge to and indictment of the Right, specifically the failed attempts of conservatives to derail Obama’s “socialist agenda.”

There would be no “Trump surge” without Obama’s two terms as president, or more precisely, black president. The Donald is telling the GOP: “You’re not racist enough, you’re not misogynistic enough, you’re not homophobic enough.” The Right is not far enough right.

But unlike most of his rivals, Trump refuses to bring up his faith. In 2012 Republicans put their faith and money behind Mitt Romney, a deeply religious man who didn’t have God on his side in the general election. Perhaps not revealing his favorite Bible passages, as a “gotcha” reporter asked him to do last week, is smart strategy. Or perhaps a deep-seated megalomania trumps his need for a Higher Power.

Trump’s supporters claim their victimhood in the face of illegal immigration and a lack of barriers to keep out “the Mexicans.” His base are victims, I say, and they suffer from a unique brand of Stockholm syndrome. They identify with their charismatic captor, the mouthpiece for a ruthless business elite more concerned with profits than the People.

Like all bullies, Trump builds himself up by putting others down. He has no real solutions, no specific policy proposals beyond shaming his enemies. For a candidate on the rise, Trump banks on the passions of a politically illiterate mass for whom ignorance is diss.

Might As Well Trump

Two hypotheses regarding Donald Trump’s surge in the polls.

The first: Trump’s plain-speaking approach serves as a political corrective, a rallying cry against tired postmodern identity politics. His campaign is a referendum against evil Progressives and their audacious demands that all persons deserve dignity and a chance to succeed.

The second: Trump’s rise signals the next stage in the natural progression of a morally bankrupt political system that bears no relation to the people it claims to represent.

Ann Coulter but with less testosterone, Trump “gets” nothing and he’ll get nothing done. He’s the political voice of disaffected Americans who sacrifice their economic interests for the promise of making America great again—code for kicking out Mexicans and drug-testing welfare recipients.

Obama became a celebrity president. Trump wants to be celebrity-in-chief—executive producer of a new brand of must-see TV.