A Ridiculous Man

I never talk about Donald Trump without pointing out that he is a ridiculous jerk. Both words are important.

To most of you this may seem obvious. But in fact I think it's easy to forget. There are so many other adjectives and nouns to choose from when it comes to Trump, most of them derived from or synonymous with "danger."

So, to make my point, I'd like you to perform a little exercise.

Watch a Trump rally. Wait till the next live one or find an old one on the Internet.

If you go for a recent one, there's no hat by the way, although I suspect the hats will be back soon enough given that his campaign sells them at 25 bucks a pop.

Okay, stay with me. Turn your sound off. Watch his hands. You know, the short ones.

Now, there's one gesture you have surely noticed because it's perennial, but focus on it as he puts his right thumb and forefinger together 👌 bends his wrist slightly back and moves that hand in small circles. Then the other hand ✋ does the same thing 👌 and then they do twin little circles. Then he stretches his hands apart while retaining the circles, sometimes to make a point, sometimes just because he does it.

Now look at his face. Now come on, you can do this. He makes goofy faces. Goofy smiles, goofy grimaces, goofy mouth agape, goofy nose crinkle. A whole symphony of faces. Fascinating, for a few minutes at least, then that part of the exercise is over.

Thanks. Now turn the sound on, but don't listen to what he's saying (you're not missing much). Just mark down how often he says any of these words: amazing, China (hold the first syllable), win, stupid, weak, loser, Trump (as opposed to "I"), moron, smart (guess who), tough, bad, sad, huge, tremendous, terrific, zero, out of control, thousands (and thousands, holding the first syllable, like China). The trick to getting the most out of this exercise is to force yourself as best you can to screen out all but those words.

My final test only works for the recent speeches when Donald was forcibly wedded to the TelePrompter. Now all the pundits are congratulating Trump for (sort of) being able to read his text. And oh yeah, they still criticize Hillary for using a prompter. But Donald is dreadful at using the screens. And he will never get better. Sometimes he is saying the last couple of words on the left screen as he turns to the right one, leaving him staring into blank space.

Okay these are not scientific exercises, but I'm hoping that if you execute them you will understand what I'm getting at when I say that Trump is ridiculous. Ridiculous, that is, BEFORE you focus on what he says. Before he goes on about his poll numbers, before the braggadocio, before the demagoguery and race baiting, before all of that, there is what everyone actually knows: this guy is a jerk. In every sense of the word.

I do think everyone knows this, but I also think it's easy to forget. Or actually, it's not forgetting, but suppressing. And I think what that does is make it possible to take him seriously, which is where the problem begins.

When Trump began to hold his first rallies during the primaries, he used to make me laugh throughout his speeches. Now, my loathing for him makes it much harder for me to find him funny.

But, in the end, my first instinct may be the right one. It may finally be necessary to laugh him off the stage.


September 17, 2016

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