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CSotD: Waiting for that Hollywood ending

Michael de Adder‘s gag is particularly funny because it relies on the notion that this is all part of some cunning plan, and that, if he wanted to give away his secrets, Donald Trump could write a book about what he does and why.

Also that his contradictory positions are somehow pleasurable.

In reality, he’s mad as a hatter and, if he has anything of value to instill, it’s that we ought not to look back on the more bizarre moments in history with such arrogant pride nor be so smug about the idea that our collective good sense will pull things back from the brink.

Because here we are and there are plenty of people happy to keep going in the no-direction we’re being led.

 

I’m just finishing “The Bastard Brigade,” an entertainingly written if slightly disorganized book about the OSS and other agencies who worked to keep Hitler from developing an atomic weapon.

It’s a good example of the theory that wars are won not by those who make genius moves but by those who screw up least, though the War of 1812 remains the classic in that genre.

Or you could look upon it as an exemplar of “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” as you watch Joseph Kennedy Jr. blown to bits in a venture that never worked and that never worked several times before and after his death.

“This time for sure!” is funny when it’s Bullwinkle trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat, but less amusing when it’s actual history with real lives at stake.

Still, futile attempts are better than nothing, and what struck me was that, while there was only a certain core of hard-and-fast Nazis, there were an awful lot of people who could not separate love of country from acceptance of government, and plenty in Germany who felt that, as long as they futzed around and didn’t accomplish much, they were performing some sort of resistance.

Here’s the important thing: We’re not there yet, but, once you are there, it’s very hard to get out.

 

Clay Jones contrasts Andrew Cuomo’s willingness to take responsibility for the results of his policies with Trump’s continual seeking of scapegoats upon whom to blame his failures, and, yes, Trump’s finger-pointing is redolent of “Animal Farm” in which the absent Snowball is blamed for Napoleon’s failures, notably the collapse of the windmill.

But the sheep bleat “Four legs good, two legs better,” and only a few of the animals feel they sort of remember when the slogan was “Four legs good, two legs bad” and the critical point isn’t what they remember but what they do about it.

Nothing.

We’ve got a president who denies saying things that are right there on videotape, and you’d think simply playing the tape would destroy his credibility, but, then, we thought his credibility was shot when he gleefully admitted to grabbing women’s genitals and hundreds of thousands of angry women took to the streets, and yet polls show a very close election come this November.

Yesterday, White House security grabbed the microphone away from a reporter who asked the wrong question, and Dear Leader has been threatening to revoke the broadcast licenses of those who air a commercial questioning his leadership.

I’ve said it before, but this administration could end with the White House surrounded by tanks, the question before us being which direction the turrets will be facing?

 

Meanwhile, a moment of pity for all the cartoonists who have played on Dear Leader’s ludicrous declaration that he would call off the lockdowns by Easter.

I love this piece by Kal, but its solid truth — that Trump cares more for the stock market than for the victims of the virus — is undercut by Dear Leader’s sudden reversal of his Easter Miracle deadline, and while it’s the best, it’s hardly the only cartoon rendered obsolete by Trump’s inability to stick with one policy for more than a few days.

 

Christopher Weyant depicts this shifting, self-contradictory approach to reality, adding a graphic depiction of the intersection of metaphorical viralness with the literal spread of disease.

De Adder jokes that it’s done on purpose; Jones is closer to the truth, that it is done out of weakness and incapacity.

Weyant simply shows what it looks like, and, after all, the bottom line is not why he does it but how it plays, and it’s playing well among the Deplorables, who apparently are immune to whiplash from frequent, erratic changes in direction.

And who vote.

 

If you insist on analyzing how, as Ann Telnaes depicts it, the buffoon can sit in the bleachers watching the nation fall to pieces on his watch, it’s best to keep Hanlon’s Razor in mind: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

A more specific nostrum is the Peter Principle, a management theory Wikipedia explains thus:

The Peter Principle states that a person who is competent at their job will earn promotion to a more senior position which requires different skills. If the promoted person lacks the skills required for their new role, then they will be incompetent at their new level, and so they will not be promoted again. But if they are competent at their new role, then they will be promoted again, and they will continue to be promoted until they eventually reach a level at which they are incompetent. Being incompetent, they do not qualify to be promoted again, and so remain stuck at that final level for the rest of their career. 

Trump has simply managed to bullshit his way up several levels beyond that at which a man of his talents should have plateaued. We can trace his steps, but it’s hard to explain why it worked for him.

Yet here we are, and the flaw in the opposition’s thinking is the naive belief that, like Lonesome Rhodes, this power-mad pretender will make some colossal blunder and bring it all down on himself.

How lovely, if life could be like the movies.

 

Community Comments

#1 Paul Berge
March/30/2020
@ 8:12 am

We just watched “A Bridge Too Far” yesterday — another film you could easily have referenced today.

#2 Brad Walker
March/30/2020
@ 10:42 am

I give you Rob Hanes Adventures #20, “Citizen Humbert,” as an example of how the climax of “A Face in the Crowd” would play in real life. https://www.wcgcomics.com/catalog.html

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