Run Naked into the Wilderness: the White House Correspondents Dinner

The best thing journalists could do at this point is go a little crazy.

Nebuchadnezzar, William Blake, Tate impression

In the biblical story of King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel, the great Persian king has a dream. In it, he sees a magnificent tree which a “watcher” declares must be hewn down, its fruit scattered, and the wildlife it shelters driven away. The stump shall become a member of the pastoral community. The king summons Daniel, known by the Persian name Belteshazzar, and considered the chief of the court magicians to interpret the dream. Daniel says that the tree is Nebuchadnezzar himself, who will be driven from society to eat grass like an animal. The prediction comes to pass when Nebuchadnezzar postures, taken with his own grandeur, and forgets justice. For seven years Nebuchadnezzar lives as a naked wild man, and, in the words of the text, his hair becomes as “eagle’s feathers, and his nails as bird’s claws.”

“We are the hollow men, the stuffed men, headpiece filled with straw. Alas!” I think I have seen some of these stuffed-yet-hollow men (pardon any accidental misgendering). They walk around well-dressed, well-spoken, well-mannered, with safe opinions. You’ve seen them too, no doubt, on stages, uttering sideways platitudes, and sweet nothings. Their utter plentitude has left them always consuming and rarely enjoying; they are bent to their own society — they must enjoy. I saw quite a few at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Yesterday, listening to Hasan Minhaj’s effort at comedy (if there was anything that stood out it was the shear effort), I had the distinct impression that the best thing that boring speaker and equally bored, well-dressed, politely tittering, safe-thinking crowd could do was strip off their finery, and run screaming into the wilderness. There they might find things which would strike them as monstrous — the name of these monsters? Trees, and hills, and boulders, and moss; things outside themselves. They need to have a little monstrosity in their lives, feel some real emotions that they don’t put on like an oily skin (of course their skin isn’t oily; it’s perfectly manicured), and be a little less like soap bubble echo chambers.

To quote Frederick Douglass,

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. (Full speech here)

To get there, one had better know what exposure to the bracing elements even looks like.

In the end, Nebuchadnezzar returned to power, humbled. So long as the liberal elite are content to sit in their plenty, they are no friends of anyone, least themselves. Nothing will change until someone gets beaten enough to let go of comfort, is starved enough to remember the shortness of life, and is scared enough to get angry. Then not just Donald Trump, but the entire, rotten liberal, bourgeois class, all the vendors of unreality, will be the target.

Clark is a student and free lance writer in Nashua, NH. You can subscribe to his newsletter, The New Hampshire Informer, or support him financially here. Follow me on Twitter @ClarkJIngram or send me an email: