Amusing Ourselves to Death in the Age of Trump

Photo Source Francisco Anzola | CC BY 2.0

If the masses want bread and circuses, we give them bread and circuses. If they want witch-hunts, bear-baitings, kinky sex, Inquisitions, burning crosses, scapegoats, trivia and persiflage – we give it to them. Keep them entertained and they’ll never hear the whistle of the executioner’s axe.

– Harlan Ellison1

Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. Omarosa Manigault Newman’s UnhingedBob Woodward’s Fear. Each of these works could stand as unofficial non-fiction sequels to Night of Camp DavidFletcher Knebel’s 1965 political thriller about a mentally unstable American president. Each has confirmed things we have known about Donald Trump, even before he slimed his way into the Oval Office.

Stripped of his orange veneer, Trump remains what he has always been: the peevish poster child for white privilege. Bullish, boorish, incompetent, misogynistic, a pathological liar and self-confessed pussy grabber, Trump has somehow managed to get away with a shopping list of indiscretions that had they been done by Obama would have been denounced and possibly invited impeachment. Indeed, not only does Trump lack his predecessor’s integrity and cognitive and emotional intelligence, his deficits were known by the electorate who gave him an electoral college victory. And while a majority of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, a flawed candidate in her own right, enough of them fatefully chose an inept, stridently hysterical white…

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