The Absurd Theatre of Donald Trump
On Facebook these days, literally every other post I come across is about the disaster that is Donald Trump. My Facebook algorithm can’t get enough of the Drumpf, and it’s because I, too, am hooked on him. His words are clickbait. How far has he gone to malign Gold Star parents? What new stupid bigoted thing has come out of his mouth? How far off the rocker has he fallen, and can he get even crazier?
Why can’t we get enough of Drumpf? Psychology speaking, there’s the “train wreck effect”. By some odd gross perversion, we can’t avert our eyes from doom and destruction. While we’re driving on the street, our eyes are not attracted to the pretty scenery, but to the bloody animal carcass still fresh from a collision.
There’s also looking at it from a dramatic point of view. This is a real life farce if you’ve ever seen one. From his Johnny Bravo Hair, to his squinty eyes, his fake tan, his tiny hands. You can’t make it up. To my Wesleyan Theatre friends, this is the grotesque political theatre we were all exposed to in college, the Theatre of the Absurd. It’s got everything we studied — Dystopian themes, horrific images interspersed with black comedy. A “parody and dismissal of realism shaped by political turmoil.” Except this is real life! Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone to impersonate or caricaturize him. He is a parody of himself. (Though if Claudia Nascimento were to direct the play, he’d be wearing a huge pink taffeta ballgown with puffed sleeves, and red lipstick smeared way outside the lipline.) At the heart of this dark comedy is the illogical dialogue, i.e. the craziest shit you’ve ever heard come out of someone’s mouth. “Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence.” In the theatrical piece that is the Drumpf effect, my ideal ending would be him literally imploding into a ball of green toxic flames. POOF, he disappears forever from the world stage.
And then there’s thinking about it from the media and entertainment angle. This is Reality TV 2.0. After watching shows like the Jersey Shore, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and dare I say the Kardashians, we’ve become accustomed, even addicted to the kind of entertainment that appeals to our basest thoughts and desires. They’re bad shows. The stars of the shows are train wrecks (I can’t seem to get away from the train wreck metaphor). Yet episode after episode, we can’t get enough. We want more. But in this new Reality TV 2.0, we’re in it. There’s no turning off the TV because we’ve sucked inside it. It’s Reality TV meets The Twilight Zone.
Real life is stranger than fiction, friends. Let’s make sure to vote in November and ensure that this absurd theatrical piece of reality TV comes to a proper end — a high-impact implosion, complete with green toxic flames swallowing him up whole.