By James A. Kidney
The worst thing that can happen to an entertainer like Donald Trump happened last week when he tweeted the visual of his faux physical attack on CNN.
Trump jumped the shark.
He is not only a boor, which we have known for years, but his antics are old and tired. Of course, he is still news. He is still a huge, perhaps existential, threat to our Constitution and even our world. But his personality, upon which he relies for his dwindling popularity, has moved from entertaining or curious to “what else is new?”
If you are unfamiliar with the term “jump the shark,” it means that a tv series has outlived its entertainment value. It originates from a really boring, extended shot of the Fonz in the 1970s show “Happy Days” water skiing over a shark. That was viewed by critics as a sign the show was going to extremes to remain entertaining – and failing to do so. When a show jumps the shark, it is soon canceled. Sadly, Trump has over three seasons left.
Trump’s tweet of his fake attack on Vince McMahon of the World Wrestling Federation on which he imposed the CNN logo was, of course, both a new Twitter low for Trump and, in full context, an incitement to violence against the news media, at least among those of his supporters more thuggish even than the norm. But, really, can any sensible person claim something like this was unexpected? It is no surprise that Trump finds a new low in his intemperate goal of attracting attention to himself without actually tending to his real duties, which require more brain tools than are available to him.
Don’t you tire of talking about Trump’s tweets and other stupid behavior? Don’t you want new insights, if there are any to be found? Trump as nasty buffoon is old news. Sure, the tweets are a near-daily barometer of what angers or interests the nation’s chief executive. But, like a barometer, are they worth more than a glance anymore?
The CNN tweet brought on the chin pullers in cable and digital news. The dreaded “panels” were brought out to yammer about the video as if it were a brand new thing. Charles Blow, Eugene Robinson and former GOP shills Michael Gerson and David Brooks, all columnists for the NYT and WAPO, shrieked in despair. (Well, maybe not Brooks. He tries to avoid specifics on Trump by finding highly speculative, if not irrelevant, explanations for his party’s cowardly behavior in obscure sociology journals.) Despair is warranted, as usual. But shrieks? Again? Who his surprised? What, really, is new?
To be clear: Trump’s Twitter behavior obviously is news to be covered and remarked upon, though maybe with less furor than is occasioned now. But if it is purely his childish behavior at issue, not some real action or policy plan, the click-bait appeal is nearing exhaustion. That is why we can predictably look for ever more juvenile and cruel tweets. Trump needs to keep his ratings up. It is psychological.
We, the public, trying to maintain sanity, should not be dictated to by mad simple-minded twitter posts. We should note the behavior, then move to more serious (and fundamentally more interesting) subjects, Trump-based or not. Trump’s tweets are like traffic accidents. Look at them, lament them, then move on, unless there is real information there.
The constant yammering of Trump supporters about what drives them to love the Narcissist-in-Chief -– also grist for the chin pullers — has jumped the shark, too.
We all know how white people in certain communities and economic classes feel the world has passed them by and that they are pissed off. We know you love Trump because he pokes a stick in the eyes of “liberals” and “elites.” We thank you for slapping the Democratic Party and other liberals in the face by joining many more in demanding they be more responsive to economic injustice, including injustice against whites.
But you are not interested in solutions. All you want to do is support the very people – the Republican oligarchy – that works against your interests. It’s the old story repeated time and again since the Civil War: You are so fearful minorities might get something and maybe better themselves over you that you will deny help extended to you and instead support the planter class.
Those of you still pro-Trump, even after he has proven “the office” will NOT temper Trump’s behavior, are simply anti-intellectual, stubbornly resistant to science, favor anger over solutions, or want to blame others for poor choices you made in your lives which you are paying for now. To the majority in this nation, you have had your say, and been found opposed to sensible plans that might help you. You are all anger and nostalgia. If you are still pro-Trump, you have nothing more to add. You have “jumped the shark.” Your damage is done. Your freak show is no longer of any interest. Go out and find some constructive ideas and call us back when you do.
But when it comes to ideas, remember this: Nostalgia, such as for the Fonz and “Happy Days,” is ok. Nostalgia as a game plan for the future is a form of senility.