Even with my media fast, it is impossible to escape the news regarding the new tell-all book about the president. It’s such a best-seller on Amazon that if you would like your hardcover copy, it will take at least 2-4 weeks until they print up more.
If you read the comments on Amazon regarding the book, a number of people have purchased either print or digital copies of the book without reading it because they feel it is their duty to do so in order to fight Trump and/or defend freedom of the press.
What a great racket for the people who make money off of this book!
What a great racket for the media who reports on every little aspect of this book & gets the clicks! Can you imagine if we had a media and a press and even an entertainment industry so evolved that they would not have invested in the celebrity and image of Donald J. Trump—including his own mammoth best-selling book—decades ago? Can you imagine if they all would have looked at the more sketchy details of this man all those years ago and said, “we’re not going to turn him into a lovable rich guy figure, we’re not going to hold this person up as a role-model!”
But they did. He was the perfect icon to celebrate then (in the materialist greed-is-good 80s and early 90s), and he’s the perfect comic book villain now.
When I was a child I used to watch professional wrestling. You’d root for the good guy and boo the bad guy. Sometimes, booing for the bad guy was even more exciting than rooting for the good guy (sometimes, the good guy could be downright wooden and unappealing). You’d get deeply caught up in the drama of it all. You’d have the bad guy even threatening the owner of the wrestling company.
The trick was, they were all receiving paychecks from the same place.
I’m not saying that the publishers of this new Trump book are “in” on the action as the in the case of professional wrestling (Trump himself participated in actual pro wrestling antics in the ring for the then-WWF). And I’m not saying that it is “wrong” to publish this book, or that the public doesn’t have the right to know all those things about their President. I’m not going to say this is a great president by any stretch of the imagination.
And I am not going to say that I am not clothed on mortal, human garb and that I don’t get little shots of schadenfreudian pleasure when hearing one dirty scandalous detail or another; or that it doesn’t take me considerable willpower to stay off the news sites and out of the internet social media rabbit holes concerning this situation.
But very few people stop and look at all this and realize: this is all sort of a “loop.” Very few people stop and look at the mechanics behind all this: building the hero & making money off of him or her; then tearing him or her down and making money off of that. The wrestling analogy unfortunately writ large in reality, the fate of our own country in the grip; once this drama endeth, another will begin with some other combination of factors.
But who really wants to hear all that? That’s not how the public operates; they have not operated in that way, as far as I can tell, ever in human history.
There are “good guys” and there are “bad guys.” There are patriarchs & messiahs, and there are comic book villains like Lex Luthor and the Joker. And you get someone like Trump who is simultaneously patriarch/messiah to some, and Lex Luthor/Joker to others. You can sell a lot of buttons and ancillary merch when you have a wrestler with such dual appeal; the “popular heel.”
It certainly doesn’t make me more popular to think this way, write this way. Because it makes it look like I have no clear “side” on all this. That’s not “sellable”—that’s not appealing to the greater marketplace. I’m actually hurting my brand when I go off on these tangents. I’m confusing people. I’m not “with it.” You can’t easily Facebook this shit.
I listened to a Manly P. Hall lecture recently where he went into why Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism failed, and why their contemporary, Christianity, succeeded with the masses. And it all boiled down to pro wrestling, as far as I’m concerned. The masses, who were in a perpetual state of crisis—many of them poor, downtrodden, and caught in brutish, violent times—sought solace. They sought solace in narratives of unambiguously benevolent patriarchs/messiahs, and their unambiguously evil enemies. They didn’t have time for this hair-spitting bullshit.
So while the three other minority religions had some really good aspects in them, in terms of really getting to the heart of things and transcending this loop of suffering—they were toast. They were considered egghead bullshit. More than that—they were then demonized and often stamped out completely as to not infect the populace with their annoying ambiguousness and esoteric ramblings. And they were also demonized and stamped out because they made convenient “villains”—non-believers—heretics—that was just a bonus.
This is why I don’t write about this stuff that much anymore. It’s much easier to write about symbolism in movies, and stuff like that; people of whatever ideological stripe can (and will) get what they want out of it and move on.
And then another wrestling season will come upon us; a new league or federation, perhaps, and a new cast of characters. And it will all happen again, in some other equivalent combination. And this time I will have the good sense to stay the fuck away in a cave somewhere on my obscure island paradise.
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
The One Where Richard Belzer Got Knocked Unconscious By Hulk Hogan
Put On These Glasses: A Tribute To Rowdy Roddy Piper and “They Live”
Why I Don’t Write A Lot About Politics At The Moment