The Donald Trump Center for Folks Who Can't Breathe Good
In these uncertain times (as they say), there's a famous scene from the movie Zoolander that feels especially relevant. It's the one where Derek Zoolander is presented with a to-scale architectural model for an educational center for underprivileged children. He bends down to inspect the model - and then he picks it up and hurls it onto the floor.
"What is this?!" he screams. "A center for ants? How are we expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?!"
The great thing about this scene isn't just that it's funny (although it is that, too). It's that it so fully captures the absurd spectacle of a very stupid person trying to look powerful, even as it's obvious to everyone else that he's hopelessly out of his depth.
That spectacle has been a familiar one, albeit much less entertaining, in the years since Donald Trump was elected to the presidency. Less entertaining to some of us, that is: Trump's oafish anti-intellectual flexing is one of the things his loyalists love about him. Watching him peacock around up there, flouting both political norms and basic politeness, offers a certain subversive, almost adolescent thrill - like a class prankster sneaking into the principal's office, turning on the PA system, and farting into the microphone. That he lacks any embarrassment about it, when just witnessing it is enough to make many people cringe, is part of the appeal.
But the first three years of the presidency were nothing compared to Cringe in the Time of COVID. The coronavirus pandemic, and the president's daily news conferences to address it, have catapulted us into a whole new world of death-by-secondhand-embarrassment. As godawful as Trump's self-aggrandizing and uninformed bluster was before, this is so much worse: a grotesque clown show, a flaming trainwreck, one that we endure only because of the possibility that one of the medical experts onstage might say something useful in one of those rare moments when the president isn't bragging, bloviating, or sneering at the press.
And then came April 23…https://arcdigital.media/the-donald-trump-center-for-folks-who-cant-breathe-good-5be95ac7f7cd