For a wonderful example of how the elite bring contempt of the masses upon themselves, look no further than Grayson Carter’s editorial attack on Donald Trump. (“Steel Traps And Short Fingers,” by Grayson Carter, Vanity Fair, November 2015 pg. 68.) Trump is an easy punching bag because he stands so far outside civility. Those of us with short memories may howl at what we mistake for graceless buffoonery, but not those of us with a memory long enough to recall how Hitler was dismissed as a mere house painter.
Carter’s description of Trump has all the hallmarks of a playground bully. He derides the man for having “short fingers,” the way a ten-year-old might jib at a classmate with a cowlick or freckles. The flaw, if it is one, has no importance, except to a person intent upon humiliating an individual for traits over which his victim has no control. Further, when the editor laughs at Trump’s thin-skinned vanity, he implies Trump and Trump alone is saddled with the defect, a suggestion which common sense tells us is foolish. If Trump bridles at the abuse, it proves he is human.
To challenge the editor of Vanity Fair is a thankless task and likely to be misunderstood. I am no friend of Donald Trump’s. Yet I take umbrage when Carter denigrates the man with ad homineum attacks rather than taking on his ideology, mocking him not only for his stubby fingers but also for being “a flashy go-getter from an outer borough…” — meaning someone from the wrong side of the tracks who never would… never could fit in with those who imagine themselves to be the oligarchs of Manhattan. (Ibid, pg. 67) How can I sympathize with the editor when he complains he has had “to live downwind of Trump,” engaging in the same slathering insults for which his victim is famous? (Ibid, pg. 68.)
When Carter depicts this presidential candidate as a vulagrian come to sack Rome, he lays bare the source of the candidate’s appeal. Those who struggle for subsistence or are made to feel outcasts of society now have their champion, someone unwilling to kiss the ring hand of the rich and powerful whom they regard as their oppressors. Trump passes for a self-made billionaire, though his father was wealthy, and as such he seems to personify the American Dream, positioning himself as spokesman for a dwindling host of those who look back in anger. Perversely, his tools are those of the oligarchs who have taught him well. He knows how to wield money and fear.
When I think of Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un comes to mind. If both men strike us as buffoons, we have ourselves to blame. They are the exaggerations of the dispossessed, people who will themselves to power in the absence of acceptance. And yes, power and acceptance are not the same and no individuals will be serious unless they are treated seriously.
If Carter wonders why Jeb Bush and the other, presumably saner Republican candidates, haven’t exposed Trump’s methods, the answer is simple. How do you jeer and lay bare a caricature of yourself? (Blog 8/21/15)