For some time I’ve found myself generally quiet on the personal writing front. A good deal of this is because the professional writing front has taken up a great deal of my time. Then of course there’s the Georgian wine book that’s just now gone off to the printer. Writing a book is a taxing, intense occupation that takes you into a deep dark hole, filled with words that are never exactly what you want but at some point you must be happy with them, given that you must get out of the hole. Coming back after time away, you of course realize it’s much better than you’d thought–hopefully.
But more than this and being distracted by imbibing ungodly amounts of cheese, the change of presidential administration in the US has put me ill at ease, like most any sane person I would assume. How did we actually get here? How did this man, who was (and I assume still is) an unabashed racist, sexist, sexual predator, crook, megalomaniac, and quite possibly traitor become the president of the United States of America, the oldest democracy in the world?
Most say that it’s because he represents a refutation of both main political parties. In this I definitely agree and while in no way would it excuse voting for him, I can understand the thought process some people went through in order to arrive at the polling station and cast what was essentially a protest vote. It was a similar thing in the UK with Brexit wherein people thought it would just send a statement to the powers that be. It did and now the UK is paying for it with a depressed currency and what will soon be blocked access to the common European market.
But it’s more than this as there have been protest votes in the past. The most recent that I can think of being when Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California in that circus show of a special election. That he was re-elected in a normal election made for a lot of personal head scratching but I digress as in Schwarzenegger’s case, he was a reasonably normal human being that was in the right place at the right moment.
For the current president it goes back much further and no I’m not talking about the one-off line on The Simpsons in which Lisa has become president in the future and mentions that they had a mess to clean up; I do pity whomever the the 46th president will be though. And no, I’m not talking about Carlton’s infatuation with the current president on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I’m talking about Back to the Future II from 1989.
In this film, we are shown a dystopian version of 1985 wherein Biff Tannen has gained control of Hill Valley solely due to winning endless sports bets. He runs his fiefdom with unchecked power and apparently in another version of the script he’d managed to take over most of California.
It seemed far fetched back in the 80s that such a thing could happen, but here we are, 28 years later and well, it happened. Look at that screen capture from above. Does that remind you of anyone sitting in the Oval Office (or Mar a Lago if it’s a weekend) at the moment? Of course it does. And let me emphasize that it wasn’t just this bit in that film, but a succession of cultural references that eventually embedded themselves in the American psyche to think, “Him? Sure, he’s not that bad. Straight shooting. Does what he says. The criminality of his business dealings? Well, you don’t get ahead without breaking some eggs along the way. Really embodies the American Dream.” You can really fool the masses every time with that last bit.
And so it would seem, that the eternal question has been answered and it is life that imitates art. Now that this conceptual art exhibit called “Modern America” has opened, who knows how it’s going to close and if Marina Abramović shows up, I’m going to see if I can get hop a ride on one of Elon Musk’s fancy rockets.