To Mock a Trumpingbird

Jenny Boylan
Published in
5 min readMar 20, 2018


“Atticus, are you a racist?”

“I was to be a ham.”

News item: The producers of the proposed Broadway adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” are being sued by the Harper Lee estate. A chief dispute is the updated portrayal of Atticus Finch, who in the first act is presented as a confused, elderly racist.

Scene 1:

Atticus, Scout, and Jem are sitting on the front porch. Atticus wears a hat that says, “Make Maycomb Great Again.”

Scout looks at her father. “Atticus, are you a racist?”

Atticus looks concerned. He takes his glasses off and cleans them with a handkerchief. “I am the least racist person you know! Who told you that?”

Scout shrugs. “Some kids at school said you was defending Bob Ewell in that big trial that’s coming up.”

“The Ewells….” says Atticus. “Incredible people. The things they do with denim. So stylish.”

“I think Mayella’s hot!” says Jem.

“Attaboy,” says Atticus.

“But Atticus, aren’t the Ewells neo-Nazis? I seen them marching all around with them big ol’ tiki torches.”

“They are some very fine people.”

“What about Tom Robinson, Atticus? Isn’t he some very fine people, too?”

“Peeping Tom! He’s only got one working arm. Got it caught in a cotton gin. Sad. Like this — -” (he imitates Tom Robinson’s disability).

“But Atticus,” protests Scout. “Didn’t you tell us it was a sin? To mock a — -”

“Scout,” says Atticus. “Don’t you have an old tire or something to play with?”

Scene 2: The family is gathered around the supper table.

Atticus: “Who’s this?”

Scout: “This here is our new friend, Dill. He’s precocious!”

Dill: “Salutations, Mr. Finch. It is indeed a pleasure to make your storied acquaintance!”

Atticus, darkening: “I don’t want this kid serving in the military.”

Scout: “In the — what? Cause why, you think he’s one a them — -”

Atticus: “Transgenders. Sorry. Our military must be focused on victory!”

Scout: “Attticus, he’s way too young to know if he’s a — ”

Dill: “Actually — -”

“They are some very fine people.”

Scene 3: Scout is getting ready for sleep.

Scout: “Atticus, do you think Robert Mueller really comes and looks in my window at night? This afternoon when we were over by the FBI building Jem testified that-”

“Why don’t we talk about something to help you get to sleep, Scout? Like the plastic surgery you’re going to have. ”

“Atticus I don’t want no stupid ol’plastic surgery. I’m only six years old!”

“Don’t put yourself down, Scout. When you put on your little overalls, I’m like, rrrarrrow!”

Scout looks thoughtful.

There is a knock on the door. “Hel-lo-oo?” A woman enters the room.

“Hello, Stormy!” says Atticus. “Say hello to Stormy, Scout.”

“Hello Miss Daniels.”

“Why hello, Miss Jean Louise. Atticus, there’s — -uh — a rabid dawg outside I need you to shoot!”

Atticus heads outside with Stormy and an assault rifle. “Hate dogs,” he says.

Scene 4: The courthouse.

Chuck Schumer is cross-examining Atticus in the witness stand.

“Mr. Finch,” he says. “According to your testimony, you had a meeting with the Russians in order to — what was it again?”

“To bust up a chifferobe,” says Atticus.

“I see. And what exactly is a chifferobe?”

“Furniture. Incredible furniture. Also makes great firewood. It’s fantastic.”

Schumer rolls his eyes, hard. “I have no further use for this witness. Mr. Finch, you are impeached. I mean, excused.”

Atticus goes back to his seat. Schumer looks at the Republican members of the House.

“Gentlemen,” he says. “I am confident that you will review without passion the evidence you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this country to normal. In the name of God, do your duty.”

(Republican House members laugh, like they have just heard something very funny.)

Scene 5: a creepy wooded area.

Scout and Jem are walking through a dark forest. Scout is dressed like a ham.

Scout (voice over): “This night my mind was filled with Inauguration Day — there was to be a pageant representing our father’s favorite foods.

“Thus began our longest journey together.”

Scout: “I sure feel like a big ol’ fool wearing this ham costume!”

Jem stops and looks back. He says, “I thought I heard something.”

Scout: “I didn’t hear anyth — -”

A shadowy figure jumps out of the dark. Jem screams. Scout has a hard time seeing what’s going on through the mustard on her costume.

Then someone is carrying Jem back to the house.

The investigation that had begun so long ago had ended. And Robert Mueller had come out!

Scene 6: Finch house.

Jeff Sessions is trying to figure out what happened. “Can you identify the person who saved you, Miss Jean Louise?”

“Why there he is,” she says, pointing to a figure standing behind the door. “Hey Moo.”

Robert Mueller looks a little pale from the many months he has spent deprived of sunlight. But he sits down with Scout.

Scout: “Moo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a knife. And our country back. One time, Atticus said, you never really knew a man until you played golf with him on one of his properties. Just reading all the indictments at the Muller porch was enough.

“The investigation that had begun so long ago had ended. And Robert Mueller had come out! I was to think of these days many times. Of Sean Spicer, and Omarosa, and the Mooch, and Tillerson, and Sloppy Steve.

“And Atticus. He would be in Stormy Daniel’s room all night. And he was there when Stormy Daniels waked up in the morning.”



Jenny Boylan

Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University; New York Times Contributing Opinion Writer; National Co-chair, GLAAD.