We might as well begin with the silly part, though our current situation is a mix of silly and deadly.
Ed Hall is hardly the only person getting a laugh out of Trump’s self-reported dimensions of 6’3″ and 215 pounds, as recorded in his Georgia booking document.
A Twitter account called CalltoActivism did a comparison of other people who are roughly that size, one of whom is NFL quarterback Aaron Rogers, who, golly, sure looks fat next to the former president.
It’s likely because, while they weigh the same, Rogers is an inch shorter, so packs those 215 pounds onto a less extended frame.
Trump also listed his hair color as strawberry blonde, which isn’t inaccurate but is damn silly anyway except as yet another indicator of his misplaced vanity. If nothing else, it’s amusing because he’s so specific about that and so less precise about his girth.
Or maybe it’s not amusing, except in a very dark sense as an example of the ridiculous lies the man tells which his followers nevertheless believe.
Anyone with half a sense of skepticism can look at him and tell he weighs a good deal more than 215 pounds, just as anyone with half a sense of skepticism could look at the photos of his inauguration and tell that it didn’t set any attendance records.
It takes a little more digging to learn that, while he claimed to have graduated first in his class at Wharton, the commencement program doesn’t even list him among the honor students. Whether his father pulled strings to get him in at all takes more investigation than I have time or patience for, but once the obvious lies are revealed, we’re no longer starting from the point of believing things.
This wouldn’t matter if he were just some barroom braggart. I grew up with a fellow whose capacity for tall tales and braggadocio was a lifelong legend. We knew that every word out of his mouth was absolute nonsense, but he was harmless, because even people who had just met him instantly knew he was full of it.
But he was neither in a position to reveal international secrets to the Russians or to activate the nuclear codes. He might even buy you a beer once in a blue moon.
So it didn’t matter whether he knew he was making stuff up or truly believed it himself.
By contrast, as Ella Baron points out, Donald Trump sits in the presidential seat, and his (allegedly) criminal behavior pushes Lincoln out of a once-noble roost in the pantheon of Great World Leaders. It’s a painful comparison made worse by her being British, which adds the embarrassing “The Whole World is Watching” element.
To which John Deering (Creators) adds the element of “You’re only fooling yourself.”
There’s something both revelatory and deeply disturbing in the notion that you could market a T-shirt that says “No Surrender” that is illustrated by a photo you can only get by surrendering, but here we are, and it’s emblematic of the other illogical, impossible, ridiculous things they willingly accept.
As for trying to deprogram them, we seem to be at a point where you challenge their beliefs at the risk of your life, not because every Trump supporter is armed and unbalanced but because you never know and it’s probably not worth the risk.
Even if you discount the murder of the California woman with the pride flag, the attack on the Pelosi home and the threats against Judge Chutkin as random freak show anomalies, you can see the grim past into which we are retreating: Names like Viola Liuzzo, Chaney, Goodman, Schwermer, Medgar Evers, Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy.
Things that probably won’t happen again and that we don’t need to worry about anymore, right?
As the old bumperstick says, if you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention.
Or, to quote the gang at the Bulwark, they may be clowns, but they’re clowns with flamethrowers.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Telnaes and Zyglis indulge in a bit of asked-and-answered dialogue here: Telnaes fills in the mugshot to suggest a mob boss, while Zyglis notes that, as horrifying as that may be to half the nation, there is another half who see the comparison as exciting and heroic.
You have to be either a fool or deeply involved in the cult to accept Trump’s claim that he’d never heard of a mug shot before his own was taken. Even if he, himself, remained as pure as the driven snow, he certainly wasn’t able to build casinos without encountering a few people with dubious backgrounds.
Ah well. It’s a short step from rooting for Michael Corleone at the movies to demanding, in real life, that we disband the FBI and DOJ.
It’s easy to put a “Back the Blue” sticker on your bumper but then declare that the police at the Capitol on January 6 deserved what they got.
And it’s easy to walk down to the polling place on Election Day and cast your ballot according to those values.
Ward Sutton has a multi-panel commentary on Trump and his cohorts in the current issue of the New Yorker and it’s worth going to have a look. His ability to depict character and capture a moment without dialogue is admirable, though it being the New Yorker raises the question of who will see his work that doesn’t already accept his analysis?
But if it isn’t placed where it will afflict the comfortable, there is considerable merit in comforting — and motivating — the afflicted.
They also need to show up on Election Day.
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
I would venture to guess that more people will see one of these two cartoons in their local paper, declaring the indictments to be fake and our system of justice corrupt, than will see any discussions of the matter in the New Yorker.
For that matter, I am confident that many of the people who will see these defenses of Trump and attacks on the legal system will never know precisely what he is accused of or what actual evidence ties him to the charges.
But they’ll vote for the strawberry blonde, as the band plays on.