Avert Your Eyes

Caravaggio's Narcissus

Caravaggio’s Narcissus

Trump’s first month has been a disorienting spectacle. Here are some points to keep in mind as you decide how you are going to bear the days ahead:

1) Trump has no skin in the game of being President. Though the rest of us may be at economic risk, he will not. When you start with millions it’s hard even for a businessman like Trump to go backwards. He has made it clear that he and his family will continue to prosper no matter what the obstacle (the Emoluments clause, for example).
2) He has no reputation to worry about because he will always be a legend in his own mind. His fanbase, his family, and his flunkies will mirror back what he needs to see.
3) Don’t bother listening to him because he will never explain anything (certainly not himself):

If Obama often seemed an image of deliberation without appetite, Trump has always been the reverse. For him, there is no time to linger: from the first thought to the first motion is a matter of seconds; the last aversion or appetite triggers the jump to the deed. And if along the way he speaks false words? Well, words are of limited consequence. What people want is a spectacle; they will attend to what you do, not what you say; and to the extent that words themselves are a spectacle, they add to the show. The great thing about words, Trump believes, is that they are disposable


4) His narcissism is protean. He is the ideal content generator for our media. He dominates the news like a fart dominates a car (thank you, John Oliver). Resist the temptation to click on Trump’s latest idiocy. In so refraining, you are reducing the positive feedback loop upon which Trump surfed to the Presidency. (See my September 3 post)
5) Shame is what we feel when our limitations become excruciatingly visible or when we fall short of our self-image. This President cannot tolerate shame. He is missing some of the internal checks and balances of the psychologically stable.

We need to avert our eyes from his tacky reality TV show. We must be willing to miss the next train wreck. We need to consider Trumps’s predictable narcissism as misdirection. The real action is elsewhere.“It doesn’t matter what he says, it matters what he signs.” We must encourage our office holders and 2.8 million Federal employees to provide him with checks and some balance. If they do the right thing, they will shine a light on his limitations and he will dehisce.

Fruit of the Scarlet Pimpernel Dehiscing

Fruit of the Scarlet Pimpernel Dehiscing

1 Comment So Far

Driz says:

M–I like your suggestion to resist the temptation to wallow in his idiocy. It’s
hard not to enjoy the whit and humor of John Oliver and Bill Mahre, but like the self-serving media who are always looking for a fire or train wreck to bury us in, it could be worth the effort to not buy in, laugh, and swear each and every day.

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