Fractured Fairytales 2016

Don’t two fables form the weak backbone of Donald Trump’s presidential jihad?

Der Trump’s war against America borrows heavily from The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Scorpion and the Frog.

Unlike the first’s titled character, it is the Der Trump’s social media minions and the florid barking attendees at his rallies who are exposed. If the narcissus’ crusade actually holds any rational calculations, these only seem hell-bent on discovering the depths to which the candidate can drive his slanders. Dim enlightenment among his followers won’t occur until even the most convinced clod supporting him finally comprehends this fraud’s derangement has now also become their delusion.

In the initial fable by Hans Christian Andersen, an absolute ruler has cowed his subjects so none may dare contradict him. Therefore, he’s lived a lifetime hearing the most outlandish blandishments possible.

Understanding their liege’s susceptibility, two tailors exploit the monarch’s vanity. Both tickle the royal’s interest by offering to cut him a garment woven from material invisible to nitwits and dolts.

In fact only those of intelligence equal to his seeing him dressed in such amazing fashion will be suitably astounded.

Again, a vain man as he is, the emperor can’t resist. He orders the tailors to begin fashioning the apparel. After several “fittings,” the emperor is ready to display the most discriminating men’s wear ever. He leaves the tailors’ shop and peacocks this fabulous fashion before his subjects.

Indeed, his subjects are astonished. In their eyes their monarch stands before them stark naked. Yet none possess the courage to state the obvious. Instead choruses of compliments further swell the emperor’s head.

But his playhouse crumbles. The ruse and the monarch are exposed when the least among his subjects, a child not so much fearless as knowing nothing of adult culpability and collusion, guilelessly reveals what’s plain to see.

“He’s naked!”

That snaps the emperor’s hold on his subjects. A deluge of derision starts, properly humbling him.

In Der Trump’s reworking of Andersen’s tale, it will be his supporters who will earn just ridicule. Thin-skinned as he is, the faker himself is somehow immune to the effects of scorn. He’s capable of mockery and ladling it like it’s going out of style. So bloated with disdain and conceit, Mr. Free Association has also armored himself against empathy or humility or doubt.

His piglets, however, are for the most part made of more human stuff. Scratch them, they’ll squeal. Like the fairytale’s blueblood, they will not remain numb to the truth once it slaps them.

Grant Trump this: as a crude megaphone which stirs lower-class Anglo resentment he has done an excellent job compelling them to demonstrate the worst of America. In the backs of their muddled minds, even the angriest irrational Trump supporter must be aware that their odious and loathsome champion is reducing them to grunting, low-slouching caricatures whose strings are being jerked by a reprehensible puppet master.

Of course since they’ve willingly gone so far along with this charade there is no redeeming reversal ahead. There is no way out. They can only continue to allow this phony to sucker them into feeling good. It sure beats the truth.

The Scorpion and the Frog, the second fable Der Trump twists, just illustrates how even veteran political operatives can mislead themselves.

For months those professing themselves wise Republican Party heads have proclaimed that once the primaries ended and the electoral cycle enters its crucial phase, Der Trump would shelve his carny barker behavior and assume the gravitas and mantle of an accountable statesman. That the GOP’s standard-bearer would persuade America he’s fit for the august office he seeks.

Crucial phase reached, Der Trump hasn’t taken one step towards his less orange makeover. He’s done nothing to temper his petulance, his pettiness, nor even his cruelty. Any Republican poobah believing the short-fingered vulgarian capable of morphing from tabloid dumpster fire into respectable candidate needs recalling the Scorpion and Frog pairing.

The best part of this story? It doesn’t issue from Ovid or elsewhere in antiquity. I would’ve thought this parable had classic roots. Instead, it’s celluloid conjuring from an Orson Welles movie, Mr. Arkadin.

Welles’ story has the scorpion waiting on a riverbank, wanting to cross to the opposite shore. He sees a frog and beseeches it to ferry him across. The frog is wary because, after all, the predator is well known for its venomous stinger and predilection to use it.

The scorpion insists the frog put his mind at ease. That should he sting the frog both will drown. Mollified, the frog agrees to transport the scorpion.

Halfway across the stream the frog feels the scorpion’s sting pierce his back. He starts flailing and losing consciousness.

Aghast, the frog demands to know why the scorpion stung him. “Now we’ll both die!”

“I know,” the scorpion replies sadly, “but I can’t fight my nature.”

Any Republican believing Der Trump can defy his nature, namely display discretion, behave in a circumspect manner, and practice discipline is dreaming.

The moral of this post is in Der Trump the GOP got what it asked for. From him the party will now get who it deserves.

Under the Stateside Sun

“Silly season” is an Anglophile conceit. Across the Atlantic, it’s Brit shorthand for that carefree time of year when news seldom rises above trivial and the frivolous assumes gravity.

Were that the American version of the silly season consisted of the same confections.

Instead the menace and insipient violence always lurking beneath the surface of ordinary life here frequently shatters summers’ otherwise lightness. Hawks devour our larks. Vultures then pick over what scraps remain on the bones.

Our silly season has the likelihood of going overboard this this year. Continue reading Under the Stateside Sun

Yours Alone

When does sovereignty of naked photos expire? Do they ever? Or should they?

Not the commercial nudes adorning glossy magazines or porn sites, but those serving as, what, mementos that have been passed between lovers. In some circles, these are called “dedication pictures.”

As in “dedicated to the one I love.”

Naturally. What proclaims deepest affection and fidelity more than a lover’s or companion’s voluntarily exchanged nude photograph? Continue reading Yours Alone

Thoroughly Anonymous

My last image of Perdu was a mundane one. The drug-addled, alcoholic, brain-dead swine we worked for had just admitted the company was flat-broke.

For an enterprise best known through word of mouth, throughout the industry its new name became “mud.” So many bridges were burned, including ones on drawing boards, no hope existed of any lifelines.

Solvent on Friday, tapped out on Monday. Continue reading Thoroughly Anonymous

Betsy

Of the three, shouldn’t Zygyac have been the most reprehensible? After all, dusted as he claimed to have been, he’d sliced and diced his lover, a la Sid Vicious upon Nancy Spurgeon.

An Iron Curtain émigré, Zygyac had always emitted an off-kilter vibe since his family’s arrival in Quarropas. Yet no one ever could’ve foreseen the doughy, pasty-faced boy growing into a hulking and heaving beast who behaved in such a mindless manner. Other felonies? Yes. Murder? No.

Alibi, though? Projecting him as a murderer, that image didn’t tax imagination. Who knew? Maybe he had. Intimidate as he did those under his thumb, knowledge of bodies rendered inconvenient might remain uncirculated despite his current incapacities.

No, Moret was the worst of this rogues gallery. His, unlike Zygyac’s and Alibi’s transgressions, have been worsened by discovery, time, and scope.

Sure. Zygyac took a life, while Alibi committed depravity. Nonetheless the law dealt with the former and karma, if it truly exists, laid the latter as low as possible.

All things told, though, that pair left small numbers of victims in their wakes. Even now, who knows how many people suffered through Moret? While women predominated, at least one man served as collateral fodder.

Betsy among the wounded, first and foremost. The ripples emanating from her are exponential and generationally tragic. Have there been others like Betsy? Certainly there were numerous unknown girls Moret shoved into premature womanhood. Continue reading Betsy

Let’s Cut the Rebop

Must the sensibilities of the fragile transform American English into an insipid language?

Our plummet through political correctness threatens rendering how we speak into mamby-pamby.

Several weeks ago, a very conscientious article ran decrying colloquialisms whose origins the author deemed racially-charged. Why, yes. Some were. What of them?

If the writing behind the subject had been any more earnest, the page would’ve wept. Since publication date sat so close to April 1st, I made sure the piece wasn’t a seasonal gag, a la some Borowitz satire.

Were that it was. Such would’ve elevated the article into clever entertainment rather than leave it low at honest persuasion. But since it was so doggone sincere, the views expressed so achingly put, that made this righteous tripe ripe for scorn. Continue reading Let’s Cut the Rebop

Untimely Torquemada

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has gotten pilloried for past statements spoken during the appropriate era. In accordance to these semantically correct times, she’s walked them back. Okay. She’s apologized for uttering them. There was absolutely zero need for her to have done so.

Dredged up from the 1990s, and haunting her in 2016, Clinton referred to a subset of criminals as “superpredators.” What was then so accurate now offends the ignorant and sensitive.

Actually by having called them “superpredators,” Clinton raised the lowest of low-slouching beasts on the evolutionary ladder. Continue reading Untimely Torquemada

Las Vegas Candy

Morning breaks bright, mild, and brilliant across Las Vegas. Through hustle, Lewy turned what could’ve been a nothing night into a worthwhile one. An Italian couple he drove out into the city’s farther eastern precincts certainly boosted his bottom line. Unaware he understood their baroque conversation, that Lewy also found them entertaining further improved his mood.

Lewy’s just climbed back into his taxi after stretching. Coupled with a series of isometrics that gets blood pumping and clears his mind. Unlike too many other drivers he remains somewhat fit and retains a good deal of flexibility. Image and presentation are vital components to his job.

It’s a basic human response: looks matter. First impressions bear outsized weight. Continue reading Las Vegas Candy

Just Listen/The Jane and Her Whore

Through eloquence the couple riding in the taxi’s darkened backseat elevates their smut into an elegance unusual to Las Vegas.

Most of what the driver Lewy hears during his night-into-day shift is worse than repetitive. It’s boring, demonstrating a lack of inventiveness as well as class.

Lewy considers himself doubly fortunate. Not only is the fare lengthy, but the pair seated behind him mark early morning miles with intricate rather than mundane or raunchy conversation. To put a cherry atop all this they also converse in Italian.

Before the ride commences, Lewy gauges his passengers. Under hotel valet lights he appraised them, then once they climbed inside from the rearview mirror. Somewhere in their 50s, he intuits that while together they aren’t an established couple. His workweeks consist of seeing many pairs who’ve used the “anything goes!” behind Las Vegas to temporarily sidestep propriety and fidelity.

Fortunately, he never put much stock in morality. Especially others’ morality. Continue reading Just Listen/The Jane and Her Whore