The greatest reality show on earth, because it’s actually real
Donald Trump is orchestrating the greatest reality show of all time. I thought things were pretty lively on the social media in the weeks running up to The Walrus’s inauguration. But what has transpired since then has given me more entertainment than any political event I can remember.
It will turn nasty and gruesome of course, but for the moment all the President has to do is wave a new executive order bearing his scrawly, psychotic signature, and he unleashes a storm of vitriol from the Greek Chorus waiting in the wings to dis every tweet, every lie and every obsession.
We can only imagine the scene in the Oval Office as he snaps out an order at Sean Spicer, his hapless press secretary, to go out and kill the media, Then two days later the bruiser comes over all sweetness and light. The poor man clearly had a tutorial from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde before starting his job.
Establishment figures pontificate and grumble. Journalists deliver impassioned polemics in the New York Times. John Brennan, the outgoing CIA Director, tells Trump that he should be ashamed of himself. News hounds lurk around every corner scraping the walls for snippets of scandal, conflict and eccentricity within the new administration. As Malcolm Gladwell said to the BBC the other day, what a time to work for the Washington Post!
This is not just a reality show par excellence, it’s the only reality show – because it’s real, and it affects more than just simpering wannabe celebrities. It’s utterly compelling, and as far as one can tell it will keep us entertained for the next four years or until we all turn into radioactive dust.
Even Brexit feels like an inconsequential side-show. As a loyal European who is passionately anti-Brexit, I suppose I should today be celebrating the British Supreme Court’s judgement that Article 50 should not be invoked without Parliamentary approval. I am, of course, but I have the awful feeling that even if we stayed in the EU our shockingly incompetent government would make a hash of kissing and making up. Although Boris, by reputation a great kisser, would be first in the queue to smooch with Mrs Merkel.
Nothing, unfortunately, will stop our cowardly politicians from running like lemmings over the cliff.
And nothing will stop us from cozying up with the bully in the White House. So off goes Theresa May to Washington. Friday is a little early, I would have thought. Not enough time for Mr Trump’s Ritalin dosage to stabilise. It will be an interesting contrast in styles, though. Prim and proper Mrs May takes tea with the snarling brat. A joy to behold.
But May will just be a trifle (or possibly a tea-cake), as all eyes remain focused on The Walrus. Which of course is what he wants. And we’re all playing into his hands.
My contribution to the anti-Trump chorus is modest compared to that of people far more accomplished and well known than me. It seems that he’s given us all licence to rant. Alec Baldwin, John Oliver and another Brit masquerading as Jonathan Pie are all building careers courtesy of The Donald – in Baldwin’s case a second one.
Most impressive of all is the output from one of my favourite historians. Simon Schama’s public persona is of a learned renaissance man. Witty, full of insight and the creator of TV series that are a joy to watch. He has always struck me as the epitome of reason.
Presumably he has a Green Card, so unlike the rest of us he can say what he likes without fear of his ESTA being revoked. And boy, does he say it. Over the past few months he’s been going at Trump on Twitter like a battering ram. Most of his tweets are variations on a single theme: that Trump is demonstrably and certifiably insane. His invective is so magnificent that it’s bound to earn him several mentions in the Oxford Book of Insults (should the OUP ever get around to producing one).
Here’s a selection:
And that’s just over the past couple of days.
If Trump can induce such a striking personality change in people like Simon Schama, he’s well on his way to fulfilling one of his campaign pledges already – he’s creating an industry of Trump insulters, not only in America but across the world. Jobs galore!
Yet another early success for the leader of the free world.