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Anthony Scaramucci, the latest arrival on Love Island

July 30, 2017

I apologise in advance if any reader is offended by some of the language used in this post. But since it comes from the US government’s head of communications, it must be OK, mustn’t it?

Anthony Scaramucci, Donald Trump’s new chief spin doctor, is making his mark already. By mimicking his boss’s every gesture, he’s quickly emerged as Trump’s mini-me. He first got my attention a few days ago when, in an interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, he claimed that the United States is a “disruptive start-up”. And by definition, the president is CEO of that start-up.

As someone who has both started companies and invested in start-ups, I have to say that the last person I would chose to run one would be a 71-year-old with questionable mental equilibrium, a history of business failures, an addiction to trash-talking TV and a tendency to spend an inordinate amount of time on the golf course.

To be fair to Scaramucci, he was talking about the Founding Fathers, whom he described as a bunch of rich guys who got together to disrupt the colonial status quo and create a new nation. He then compared them with Trump and his acolytes, who are bent on disrupting the nation yet again.

A good analogy, sort of. It will certainly go down well with his boss, who believes that he belongs on Mount Rushmore, and that he is more “presidential” than any other president since Lincoln.

The only problem is that Trump’s idea of disruption is to breathe life into the corpse of the coal industry, to deprive millions of health care in order to fund tax cuts for the better-off, and to extend the concept of partnership with Russia beyond anything contemplated by his predecessors.

His disruption will do nothing in the long run to help the citizens of West Virginia, Alabama and Wyoming. All they have to look forward to is more unemployment as artificial intelligence sweeps away more of their jobs, and more tornadoes and hurricanes as climate change becomes more physically evident.

Then came the interview with the New Yorker –  summarised here in all its linguistic glory on Vox.com – in which he ripped into Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus with a ferocity that has led some pundits to ask whether his volubility was chemically induced.

Be that as it may, his outburst gave me my biggest laugh of the week. How could you not laugh when “The Thick of It” was being replayed for real in the White House? Also the efforts of the US media to come up with acceptable euphemisms for “Steve Bannon sucks his own cock” had me in stitches.

This, my friends, is a senior government official in the most powerful nation on earth!

The language itself doesn’t shock me. Anyone who has seen Joe Pesci in full flow in movies such as Goodfellas and Casino will be familiar with Scaramucci’s fellatio-rich, fuck-laden metaphors. Language aside, there’s another link between Pesci’s characters and The Mooch, as the new star is now referred to by his friends and admirers (if he has any).  It’s the chippy aggression that so often seems to emanate from vertically challenged men.

This is apparent in body language, too. Anyone who has watched Nigel Farage making himself taller by popping up on to his toes like a threatened meerkat when he wants to make what he thinks is an important point will recognise the same tic in Scaramucci.

I laugh at Tommy in Goodfellas and Scaramucci for the same reason. Their language is so outrageous, so full of male insecurity, so laden with resentment at the accident of birth that forces them to look upwards when making eye contact with those they consider peers. “You looking at me, cocksucker?” And so on.

Now that he’s seen off Reince Priebus, The Mooch is clearly settling in for the long term, which, in White House terms, is at least ten minutes. According to the New York Post, his wife is divorcing him because of his “naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end,”. She doesn’t approve of Trump, apparently, which suggests that they must have had some cosy conversations at home. So that clears the decks for eighteen-hour days in the service of his master.

Since the new communications director moved into the White House, the reality show has continued apace. The President rants at the Senate for failing to repeal Obamacare, pours contempt over his Attorney General, regales boy scouts with risqué anecdotes, encourages police to rough up crime suspects and decides to ban transgender people from serving in the armed forces.

The most extraordinary aspect of Scaramucci’s stunning impact on the US political stage is that to me at least – and most likely to the vast majority of people like me who watch the reality show from afar – his existence was unknown a week ago. It’s as if some TV producer invented him for Trump’s benefit and our amusement, like some new character parachuted into the Truman Show, or a contestant inserted into Love Island half-way through the series.

What’s next? Caligula’s horse? The Terminator? Coco the Clown? Your guess is as good as mine. One thing’s for sure, if he continues to recruit such colourful characters, Trump will put Broadway out of business.

From → Politics, USA

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