This column is not going to have any good surprises. I like to be able to take the news and find a way to make it good. Not this time.
For example, consider Anthony Scaramucci’s New Yorker interview in which he said that Steve Bannon spends time attempting to perform an extremely difficult act of self-gratification. I would really like to be able to say something about this that could make it better.
What’s there to say about Scaramucci himself? Nothing he does could surprise anyone at this point. He could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan eating peanut butter out of a jar and shoot his own sweet grandmother.
The man is a living breathing museum to the notion that kids can grow up to be anything they want, do anything they want.
Well, maybe not. Let’s say you got the blue blankie and blue bracelet in the viewing room at the hospital on day one, and by year 18 you decided to trade blue for pink, then Trump tweets that you won’t get to join the army.
The army is OK for men, OK for women, but off limits to trans people.
I don’t think anyone who has been reading these columns all these years could imagine that I would think anything but that Trump’s tweets on the subject were stupid.
Absolutely stupid, and not even in an entertaining way.
I mean, I’ve always said, and I’ve meant it, that stupidity can be our friend.
Stupidity enriches our lives. Generally I am pro-stupid. It’s a major part of my life.
As an illustration of my love of stupidity, this week I have spent hours practicing my guttural trill renditions of “Hall of the Mountain King” and the opening of “Also sprach Zarathustra” (the “2001: Space Odyssey” theme). I am thinking now of possibly increasing my repertoire, maybe with Ravel’s “Bolero” or the “Wheels on the Bus” song.
Imagine that: the “Wheels on the Bus” done entirely in guttural trills! That would be so intensely stupid. Enthralling.
Where was I? Oh yes. I am pro-stupid. Stupidity can turn mundane events into special magic. Consider the stupid idea that everything happens for a reason.
Even if it’s true, if everything doesn’t happen for a discernable reason then the saying is stupid. It comes down to “if it happened, it was because it was going to have happened,” or in other words “it happened because it happened that it would happen.”
There’s a lot of “Duh” in that.
But, all the same, believing that everything happens for a reason can really lead to some fabulous fabulizing. It’s the stuff of drama itself.
I’ll never forget the time I heard from a family member, “Joan said ‘hi’ to me today. What did she mean by that?” She imitated Joan saying “hi” using an alien intonation of the word “hi.” I was being told that a word was said in an odd way, and because everything happens for a reason, Joan must have meant something by it. So the next thing I heard was, “Why does Joan hate me?” If I could remember the ensuing eight hours of dialogue I’d have a career as a director. I could be the next Harold Pinter.
Never mind who Pinter is or why I’d want to be the next him, the point is people pay money to hear actors talk on stage in circles and get nowhere for an hour or two and then at the end there’s a whole bunch of screaming and crying, maybe someone dies, and you still don’t know what Joan meant by saying “hi” that way.
But your life has been enriched by the drama of it.
There is just nothing enriching about Trump’s stupid attempts at drama. I can’t make it good.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time a math professor and three times homeless. He has been involved with Real Change since he supplied the art for the first cover in November of 1994. This is his regular humor column, Adventures in Irony.
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