FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump

by

One year ago, something quite remarkable happened. Donald Trump, an obscure TV personality obsessed with conspiracy theories, became the most powerful man in the world. His wife, whose naked body he so awkwardly and lewdly described in the famous session on Howard Stern’s Show, became the First Lady of the United States. Put in his own words: “the world is a mess”.

Yet, to describe this mess we currently find ourselves in, we have to go back a few years. “I promise you… we will win this election and, you and I together, we’re going to change the country and change the world.” These are not Trump’s words. They are Barack Obama’s. Trump and Obama may be as different as people as one can imagine. But the character of their sudden political rise was closer than we would like to believe. It doesn’t really matter if their slogans read YES WE CAN or MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Both promised change. Now, that’s nothing really new. Politicians all over the world has been promising change for the better since the planet started spinning. Yet Obama’s and Trump’s changes were supposed to be truly deep, almost revolutionary. Though with other words, both of them had promised to “drain the Washington swamp”. It shouldn’t surprise us that neither of them really did.

Both in 2008 and 2016, the revolt against the establishment was probably the most important feature of the American President-elect’s appeal. If not alarming, it is certainly remarkable. It is tempting enough to flesh out here a lengthy treatise upon the deep crisis of the “Liberal International Order”. Not even as bright a scholar as Niall Ferguson has avoided this fancy commonplace, when he recently redubbed the term’s common abbreviation LIO to LIE. Most likely, the world we live in is not a lie; but it is now fairly obvious that – to pair it with another Trump’s favourite saying – “there is something going on”.

Yet however deep the roots of Trump’s presidency may be, they don’t take away any of its grotesqueness. Probably not since the Roman Emperor Commodus has there ever been as ignorant a person possessing so much power. And as Commodus – unlike the rest of Rome – believed he was a top gladiator and forced the senators to watch his matches, Donald Trump exhibits similar tendencies. Apart from knowing “much more about ISIS than the generals do”, understanding “taxes better than almost anyone”, he is also “the best 140 character writer in the world”. Fortunately, there is no Colosseum in Washington, D. C.

Although claiming he has a “very good brain”, Trump’s intellectual capabilities are rather doubtful. His spiritual routine is watching the channel of the insane Illuminati hunter Alex Jones, whereas the two greatest books in the history of literature were, according to Trump, written by himself. These are his – actually ghost-written – bestsellers The Art of the Deal and How to Get Rich.

According to Michael Wolff, whose book Fire and Fury has lately provoked such an uproar in the White House, all of his closest staffers think “he is like a child”. At the end of his presidential campaign his aides were constrained to confiscate his Twitter account. Since he became president they have proved to be more discreet. During the James Comey testimony, they at least “tried to keep him busy with meetings… hoping to keep him away from televisions broadcasting the hearing so he wouldn’t be tempted to tweet.”

Sure, every politician lies now and then. It’s simply part of the job. But Donald Trump has shifted this habit to a completely new level. His speeches are a fact-checker’s gold mine. He lies even when he doesn’t have to. He lies even when the evidence against his claims is so abundant that it’s almost embarrassing to present it. But he doesn’t care – and he knows his supporters won’t either. Facts are obviously not important to them. They are just another name for fake news. The most important thing is perseverance. If you keep lying long enough, people will finally believe…

Whether or not he will be impeached, Donald Trump will really have served as President of the United States. Beckett and Ionesco created their works in vain, since nothing can illustrate the absurdity of the world better than this.

 

Stepan Hobza graduated from the Charles University in Prague. As a freelance writer he has contributed with poems, short stories and essays to many literary and political magazines (Česká pozice, Host, Tvar, A2, Listy, Literarni.cz, Weles, Psí víno, H_aluze). He lives in London.

More articles by:
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail