By Frankie Boyle, Sunday 27 August 2017 04.00 EDT
So are we heading for a Mad Max-style future? I don’t think so. After having lived through Donald Trump we’ll surely just call him Max. Trump is behaving so strangely, we’re probably about a month away from not being allowed to make jokes about him. He’s gone past Charlie Sheen and we’re now entering the bald Britney phase. It’s hard to imagine how America can go back to having a normal president after this. The next president will have to be a car with guns for wheels. After Trump, a Saturday Night Live sketch about Mike Pence would look like something by Samuel Beckett.
Trump is sort of like Father Dougal killed a man, so is wearing Father Jack as a disguise. He looks like the image burned into your retina should you watch a completely normal man burst into flames. Even on an HDTV he looks like a sixth generation VHS recording. A president with the temperament of a wasp that’s spent 40 minutes on musical hold, his Twitter feed reads like he’s building up a credible insanity defence for when he’s finally impeached. It’s not just that he lives on Twitter, he embodies it: digressive, petty, trivial, poisonous and self-aggrandising. He basically speaks like a totally random stream of tweets. One minute he’s on Mexicans, then he’s talking about his shoes, then a threat, then a joke about a cat.
Last week he held a rally in Phoenix, Arizona – possibly because he thought he’d blend in to a state that is orange, desolate and has a cavernous gap in its heart so huge, people travel the world just to gasp and cry. Phoenix is best known for the song By The Time I Get To Phoenix (She’ll Be Rising), in this case referring to Lilitu the she-demon of the apocalypse. Trump delivered one of his random rightwing word collages in front of a crowd who if they were any whiter would have had carrots for noses.
Imagine standing up in Arizona and talking about preserving white culture: a state so recently colonised that the dry cleaners still offer a smallpox cleansing service. White guys have only been in Arizona for 150 years – that’s not even enough time to fill a Costa loyalty card. He’s literally standing in Apache land, 150 years after their genocide, talking about protecting American culture; standing amid a culture people like him destroyed, talking about building a wall, like Simon Cowell launching the next series of The X Factor in the Cavern Club.
But what else can we expect from Trump – he doesn’t get his history from reading, he gets it from staring at lumps of stone. A statue to Robert E Lee? If they want to look up to a white guy who’s rubbish at attack and can’t remember which side he’s on, we can send James Milner over there to stand on a box. Arizona is on the Mexican border, meaning his shouting the word “WALL” goes down very well, especially since they know they can get better quality drugs through their border with Hollywood. People will still try to jump over whatever makeshift fence he finally manages to put up. All Trump is doing is turning America into a giant Glastonbury; there’s a headliner no one approves of, but you’ll still go for Dolly Parton and the van making smoothies.
Obviously, Trump’s pivot to Afghanistan is depressing. The only comfort to Trump getting in was that he intended to keep his horrific Armageddon packed tightly within his walled up, hermetically sealed Thunderdome America. I suppose this is the kind of consistency we should expect from someone who can’t finish a sentence. Under investigation by the FBI, he is now at war with intelligence in two ways. It’s hard to pick out a single low point of the Trump presidency, but it seems like the KKK now feel relaxed enough to march without their hoods. “Jews will not replace us!”? Looks like if your sister keeps saying no, nobody will mate.
Can we even think of Trump in terms of intent? Aren’t we then like those shamans who used to project anger on to erupting volcanoes? Maybe Trump is a kind of cry for help from the Earth, a human flare. Or perhaps he has been produced by the Earth to destroy mankind, and his personality is actually nature’s critique of humanity. How fitting that life on Earth will be extinguished by a reality TV host, over a mediocre golf-club burger at his nuclear winter White House, a kind of 3-star Black Lodge.
The US has always been balanced on uneasy contradictions. Even the constitution promises both the right to freedom of speech and the freedom to have a gun to shoot people who annoy you. Right at the heart of its contradictions are the twin ideas of liberty and enslavement, its founding principles of “freedom” and “but not for everybody”.
If I had to guess what was at the forefront of the minds of the American right at the moment, I’d say voter suppression. It doesn’t matter that the US has a rhetorical attachment to democracy. Through its actions as a state it has long undermined any connection between its stated ideals and its actions. I think the US will now face a long struggle to avoid a slide into totalitarianism, led of course by people calling themselves libertarians.
Frankie Boyle’s new book Your Guide To Hell (John Murray) is out in October
Photograph of Trump staring at the sun during partial eclipse Monday, August 21, 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-solar-eclipse-photo-stares-without-glasses-video-white-house-balcony-dont-look-aides-a7905771.html