It’s like watching bad porn.
Maybe his story can be a cautionary tale.
Watching presidential elections unfold is not unlike watching and participating in a gong show. Enticing people, holding their attention, creating a mystique about one’s self is a talent. Projecting an air of being powerful is a talent and it must be developed. Some are born with that talent. Some acquire it over the years.
He once knew better than to run for office or get involved politically, as the following passage from a 1990 Playboy interview indicates. He knew his role in the world: to bring in money. Not to clean up the streets, not to play Captain America, not to try to be a hero. Just doing what he did best, being very good at what he did was enough. For so long he knew what he brought to the table. People who know and prove their worth own the ground they walk on so they don’t have to fear it being shaky. People who say bombastic, outrageous, or upsetting things usually say them out of some inner instability. He was so stable in who he was once. Somewhere along the way he sold out.
Let’s look back on a time when Trump knew his place.
“Interviewer: Wait. Doesn’t it seem that with all your influence in Atlantic City you could do more to combat crime and corruption and put something back into the community?
Trump: Well, crime and prostitution go up, and Atlantic City administrations are into very deep trouble with the law, and there are lots of problems there, no question about it. But there is a tremendous amount of money going to housing from the profits of the casinos.
As somebody who runs hotels, all I can do, when you get right down to it, is run the best places, bring in as much money as possible, which in turn goes out for taxes. I contribute millions a year to various charities. Finally, by law, I’m not allowed to have Governmental influence; but if they passed legislation that allowed me to get more involved, I’d be very happy to do it. In the meantime, I have the most incredible hotels in the world in Atlantic City. The Taj Mahal will be beyond belief. And if I can awaken the government of Atlantic City, I have performed a great service.”
He has strayed. Now he does want to be Captain America. He’s on shaky ground. From day 1 after he announced his presidential campaign, I had a hunch that what we were witnessing was the deterioration of a personality for all the world to see. I often found him upsetting but now I just think he’s a tragic figure, a modern Oedipus. He once knew his place so well. Now he’s acting like a crazy old coot. It reminds me of Jack Nicholson’s character, Jerry Black, in the movie The Pledge. But unlike Trump, Jerry Black remained an honorable man, if troubled. It’s sad to see people get so good at their jobs after so many years that they don’t know how to stop working and then just end up ruining themselves. That’s what happened to Jerry Black.
(Image via Alchetron.com/Warner Bros.)
Then there’s Trump. He talked as though invincible for many years. But at least back in 1990, he had a good reason to act invincible in a way that no one would care about: he was a business man. Easy to read the interview and think that he’s puffing his chest out for sensationalistic purposes. The guy knew how to generate revenue. Now, all his hubris is coming out in the wash. I’d rather go out a Jerry Black than a Donald Trump. The former ended up poor and muttering to himself, but he was plagued by good intentions. He was a tragic hero. Jerry had a talent that failed him.
When Trump is old, he’ll be empty. As the saying goes, some people are so poor, all they have is money. That’s all he has. after this election, his respect will be tapped out. That’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy because it turns out that the talents it takes to be a politician or even a respectable person are talents that he never had.
He is in fact not human, but a revenue-generating machine. I don’t fear this man because he has always run on making people fear him. People like that get pretty boring after awhile.
Say he did become president. What will he do when the American people (even the ones who voted for him) are tired of his shit? He fails at personal PR. He doesn’t get it. Obama knew how to make himself look interesting. Even Dubyah was interesting in his ignorance– his mispronunciations and made-up words at least made him human because we’ve all had those moments. It almost helps people to forget that he was guilty of crimes against humanity Successful politicians know how to master the art of creating mystique. It’s a talent that they must have. They must know how to make people think that they’re innocent and human.
This isn’t talent on display. It’s a person being a social dullard. Embarrassing himself. We’re watching the deterioration of a personality. We’re watching a performer on a talent show fail miserably.
It’s what’s happening to Trump, but in his case it’s because he believed his own hate-infused words that he used to intimidate. He has become the character he’s been playing.
Let’s learn from this: the danger of being an asshole is that you run the risk of remaining one for the rest of your life.
“Interviewer: What satisfaction, exactly, do you get out of doing a deal?
Trump: I love the creative process. I do what I do out of pure enjoyment. Hopefully, nobody does it better. There’s a beauty to making a great deal. It’s my canvas. And I like painting it. I like the challenge and tell the story of the coal miner’s son. The coal miner gets black-lung disease, his son gets it, then his son . If I had been the son of a coal miner, I would have left the damn mines. But most people don’t have the imagination–or whatever–to leave their mine. They don’t have ‘it.'”
Donald? Being a successful politician is mastering the Art of Smoke and Mirrors. It’s knowing when to not be predictable. It’s knowing when to modulate, show layers, reveal something to relate to. Being interesting is a talent. Some have it and some don’t. You, son, don’t have It.