Rednecks Don’t Read

On Wednesday, I read an excerpt from ‘Fire and Fury’ in the UK Guardian newspaper. I confess my ignorance, I’d never heard of Michael Wolff—but the Guardian focused on  quotes from Bannon, the angel of death, which were astonishingly frank.

It’s not that the content was stunning, if you’ve done a little homework on Trump. I promoted a (non-Wibaux) book recently on these pages that mentioned a movie from the 1990’s called What’s the Deal. When I tried to find the film, I came up blank—YouTube has a one-minute trailer, and that’s it. Amazon doesn’t sell it.

You don’t need to trawl the dark web to find it, but the location is, er… a little duskier than the US cabinet. But I digress—and so should you. The reason the movie is hard to find is the essence of Trump’s survival recipe—litigation.

So it comes as no surprise that from Wednesday onward the Washington shitstorm outplays the East Coast snowstorm. The first step was a cease and desist order from Trump’s personal lawyers to the book’s publishers—in a visionary business move, Henry Holt Publishers brought the book’s release forward by four days, ruining Trump’s first weekend of 2018.

Then came the tweets, where the juices flow faster—and the nicknamefest, where the Trump kindergarten welcomed a new playschool admission: Sloppy Steve. Sad.

They’re all lined up near the wall at Trump elementary. Look, there’s Liddle Marco, enthralled by the words of Lyin’ Ted. And who’s that little girl with the smirk and the adult pantsuit? Why, it’s Crooked Hillary, giggling at the little boy peeing on the lime tree—can you believe it? “Leakin’ James Comey, stop that right now, or I’m calling Mrs. Huckleberry.” And over there, snoozing instead of schmoozing, Low Energy Jeb—so sad, when he could have been playing with Pocahontas, or consoling Cryin’ Chuck. And now in comes Sloppy Steve, the new kid in school. Dissy Don wrinkles his nose—jeez, this kid hasn’t washed in years, he shouts. All the playground cracks up, except that little fat oriental boy in the corner, who just sits there with his finger on the light switch—I guess that’s why they call him rocket man.

Lookalikes: Michael Wolff flips the bird at Donald Trump while Mini-Me looks on.

When the late Tom Clancy published The Hunt for Red October, it sank like a U-Boat. Shortly after, Reagan endorsed it as ‘the perfect yarn’, and it shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list faster than an F-15.

Trump’s book endorsement is only the second example of presidential editorial camaraderie, but Wolff has already come back with a classic. ‘Where do I send the box of chocolates?’

It’s the first case I know where Trump doesn’t actually get paid for lending his name to a money-spinner. The reasons he, and therefore his team of sycophants, are so upset, when compared for instance to the publication of ‘The Making of Donald Trump’, are three.

First, this book talks about now. One of Dissy’s favorite tactics about past events is stressing they’re all ancient history, and therefore forgettable—his view of history is obvious in the directionless policy trajectory of the current US administration.

Second, a bunch of his ‘so smart, so great’ coterie jumped onto this bandwagon not through a sense of civic duty, but with undisguised gusto—this is immensely predictable, reading a little history would teach you that. Many within the current White House will be doing Cheshire Cat impressions.

Third, Wolff shares an audience with Trump, contrary to most other critics. Where the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and others, don’t tap into the great unwashed, Mini-Me does. He specializes in bombastic stuff, which appeals directly to the thirty-five percent Trump hangs onto. This is a guy who writes for the Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, GQ UK, and was described by the New York Times as a ‘prime piranha.’

Grinning like a Cheshire Cat behind the boss’s back.

The piranha is a protected species in Brazil, and for the moment, so is Mini-Me. Litigation is a very different ballgame for a sitting US president than for the head of a corporation—if there’s one thing (but there are so many) that Trump fails to understand, it’s that railroading the democratic system is extremely difficult.

Any system attempts to maintain its status quo by throwing up barriers to change—a characteristic that can be used for good or evil. Democracy, in the nations where the word is more than lip-service, did not come naturally—those in power do not willingly serve the people.

In Portugal, it arrived in 1974 after forty-eight years of fascist rule, the longest dictatorship in Western Europe. In the US, it took a civil war to break the system apart, and yet the system recovered and strengthened.

Democracies endure because institutions work—the model was first perfected in Ancient Greece, and has been tested, destroyed, reborn, mutilated, and finally prevails in some of the world. It is typically bicameral, for development of laws, and possesses a strong, independent judiciary. Those checks and balances stop the executive branch from doing what the hell it likes. And stimulate it to move in the right direction.

All the peoples of the world, and they are the majority, who do not live by this model, whether through principle or practice, are envious of it.

When a book like this comes out, the firestorm does us all a favor. It shines a light. Maybe some of the colors in that light are fake, but the publisher will already have spent a fortune on legal advice to ensure it doesn’t have to spend one afterward—anyhow, sales will cover litigation costs, and the more Don disses, the higher the print run.

I’ve already donated my fifteen bucks toward the legal fees, and will read the book with some curiosity, and of course with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek—TV will be a constant spoiler, so I’ll need to read it fast. Many others will read the book, it’s a great new year’s resolution.

But it’s that thirty-five percent I’m worried about. Rednecks don’t read.

The India Road, Atmos Fear, Clear Eyes, and Folk Tales For Future Dreamers. QR links for smartphones and tablets.

 

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