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Thursday, October 05, 2017


Nattering narcissist of nativism

by Tom Sullivan

Our sitting president really, really doesn't like being laughed at. Humor, especially directed at him, is not a human pleasure he indulges. He sat stone-faced at the 2011 the White House Correspondents' Association dinner when comedian Seth Meyers took shots at him. Among Meyers' biting quips at his expense: “Donald Trump has been saying that he’ll run for president as a Republican, which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke.”

President Obama joined in too, offering a string of zingers. The real estate magnate didn't move a muscle.

Meyers later offered his sincerest apologies to the country if his jokes contributed to afflicting the country with the reality star's entry into the 2016 presidential race. Which, sadly, he won (with a little help from Russia).

Given his administration's unrelenting hostility towards all policies "Obama," the Kenyan Usurper's barbs might have stung a smidge more than Meyers'.

"They're laughing at us" has been almost a verbal tick with now-president for decades. One doesn't need a degree in psychology to perceive that "us" is pluralis majestatis, the royal We. Winning the White House was his chance, finally, to declare to impertinent peasants, "We will show you all!"

But if anything, the volume of ridicule has increased since the political neophyte and peddler of steaks and wine and phony universities took office. No less than his secretary of state has now famously called him a moron, and famously refused to deny saying it. MSNBC coverage last night focused on whether Tillerson used "moron" or, as is rumored, "f*cking moron."

So, rather than silencing the laughter, if anything, the volume is increasing. His tone-deaf responses to recent tragedies, including his visits this week to San Juan and Las Vegas pushed the Washington Post's Dana Milbank to the breaking point.

Milbank has gone full-on Popeye. He's had all he can stands. He can't stands no more. At least, judging by his turning his Washington Post columns into bits from the National Lampoon. Today's piece is an excerpt from the fictional “The Me-Driven Life: A Narcissist’s Guide to Helping Others Understand It Is All About You,” by John Barron. "Barron" writes:

Natural disasters and their man-made counterparts (mass shootings, terrorist attacks) pose an obvious challenge for those living the Me-Driven Life. These events are frustrating, and inconvenient, because they tend to cause those people to think about their own problems: their injuries, the loss of loved ones, their hunger, thirst, discomfort, life-threatening cholera, what have you.

President Trump said on Oct. 4 that Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, was “a sick, demented man.” (The Washington Post) This is a common character flaw, and it is harmful because it distracts them from their more pressing obligation to think about you.

It is likely that this loss of perspective is temporary, but even a temporary loss of focus on you is dangerous. It must be arrested and reversed as quickly as possible. You can help these people by getting them to stop thinking about their own concerns and to redirect such destructive thoughts.
"Barron" offers some helpful suggestions that will sound vaguely familiar to those who have paid attention to news coverage this week:
First, show them what extraordinary things you are doing for them. Use adjectives such as “great,” “amazing” and “incredible” frequently when referring to the work you have done. Some examples: “I think it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done.” “We get an A-plus.” “We have done an incredible job.” Don’t be afraid to tell them the work you and those who work for you have done “is really nothing short of a miracle.”
There's much more, but you get the point.

New Yorker's Andy Borowitz "reports" that "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday that he remains 'fully committed to this moron’s agenda.'” He continues:
Tillerson also took pains to deny that he was ever close to resigning from his Cabinet post. “When I promise a cretin that I am going to do a job, I stay until the job is finished,” he said.
New York magazine's Eric Levitz posts a "Tillerson" op-ed denying he ever asked “How many President Trumps does it take to screw in a light bulb?” He praises the sitting president as a world-class genius who plays sudoku "on the hard setting." What's more, he admits:
I secretly don’t know how to read because my parents were Dust Bowl dirt people who gave me very bad genes — like a dog.

President Trump invented string theory. He ghost-wrote Infinite Jest, and secretly helped solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. He was the real-life inspiration for the Academy Award–winning film A Beautiful Mind, except he isn’t crazy, and they only made him crazy in the movie for the sake of the plot.
Meaning Tillerson's boss could be selling Mexican beer on TV. Except, you know, Mexico.

For a man who scowls a lot, cannot laugh at himself, and grinds his teeth at the thought that they are laughing at us, and may have undertaken his quest for the presidency to stop the laughter he hears in his head, he seems to he generating a lot of it. Only history will tell how much was gallows humor.

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Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.