I was looking for an enthusiastic Trump defending comment to post as a comment of the day, and my former math partner from Mrs. Penwarden’s 6th grade class at Crosby School in Arlington, Massachusetts, Peter Canaday, was kind enough to supply a doozy all the way from New Zealand, to which, as a physician of note and significant success, he retired with his latest bride a while ago. Peter’s a smart guy; he also questions Obama’s birth certificate and is a fan of both Pauls, so he is also…complex.
His opening volley is a bit obscure: that college he’s referring to is Peter’s alma mater, Amherst, where I was wait-listed. Actually, it’s a funny story: the letter, which arrived after I had accepted early admission to another school, began. “This is a difficult letter for us to write, for we must inform you that you have been placed on the waiting list and you don’t deserve to be there…” I was shocked—it was bad enough that I wasn’t deemed worthy of admission, and here they were rubbing it in by saying that I didn’t even deserve to be on the waiting list? Bolstered by the fact that I had an admission in hand, I wrote Amherst a tongue-in-cheek wounded letter of complaint, bemoaning their callousness, lack of professionalism and mockery. I got an immediate letter of apology swearing that they didn’t mean that I didn’t deserve the wait list, only that I deserved better. “It’s too late to retract the insult now,” I wrote back. “My heart was set on your college, but my faith in the institution has been shattered. Please remove my name from your list. I don’t care to attend a school this insensitive and cruel. I’m not sure I want to go to cllege at all any more. I think I will join the Merchant Marines.”
Amherst didn’t get me. It did admit my nephew Ross, however, and he graduated with honors.
I’ll have a rather lengthy response to my friend Peter at the end. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Dunces: Not Only Anybody Who Actually Thinks Donald Trump Would Be Anything But An Existential Disaster As President, But Anyone Who Isn’t Disgusted By His Existence:
Too dumb to vote. So sad…. I should sit this one out? Or this, and all future elections, too? Once a cretin, always a cretin, I think you’ve said, beginning 50 years ago.
I guess my higher SAT scores, physics grades, Latin marks, National Merit standing, and acceptance to a college that rejected you, so you ended up at Harvard, aren’t enough to save me, Jack? So sad…..
Look, Trump has not earned high marks from me for civility in his early showings, but he refuses to accept the “polite form of tyranny” that is political correctness, and adopt the blind obedience of those who demand that we label what is false to be true. It is killing us as a nation, Jack. Rail and rant all you want, but you don’t get to be worth $10 billion by being untrustworthy and lacking in accountability, which is more than you can say about 95% of politicians, who, as Trump says, are bought and paid for by the lobbyists and special interests. It’s the reason why I and so many others are rejecting career politicians. We’ve had it. Enough. ENOUGH. ENOUGH. HAVE YOU HEARD US, Jack?
Those of us outside the beltway, the District of Criminals, who have recognized the “political class” for who they are, want somebody who can “make deals” that has America’s interests at heart, rather than sow nuclear proliferation in the Middle East as has been done with this latest accomplishment that Obama is so proud of. We want somebody who doesn’t need the money, someone who can’t be bought, someone who does this because he loves the America that allowed him to become what he is. Maybe he actually believes in the America that nurtured him (and you, and me) when our cohort were in our formative years, and when America WAS great. It would be nice to have someone in Washington who actually does.
Of course, he’s a showman, an egoist. But an idiot he is not. On this, you are so wrong. And to suggest that he is less of an egoist than Obama is absurd. To imagine that an economically illiterate, race-baiting, dishonest, disingenuous man should be put in control of the most complex business in the history of the world is also absurd. Of course, he would fail. But it’s not his fault. It’s our nation’s fault, perhaps not the first time in 2008, when we had to prove we were not a racist nation, but certainly when he was reelected (assuming the swing states’ voting precincts with 120% of registered voters for Obama did not hand him a second term).
There are so many ways in which the current administration has proven not only to be rank amateurs, but frankly incompetent. And to have anyone, ANYONE, believing that the treacherous, treasonous, lying criminal that, as yet, holds the Democrat lead, should be anywhere other than jail, is beyond me. Unfortunately, any sentiment otherwise affirms to me the wholly unethical and contemptible character of any supporter of hers at this very late stage of factual revelation. It’s also clear to me that it is SHE you should have been arguing should have been thrown out of HER legacy political party, not Trump out of his nominal political party.
Trump has been underestimated in whatever he has done, and you, and many others will underestimate him again. Your contemptuous dismissal of those of us Americans, who have begun to see him, even hesitantly, as a wholly different potential Chief Executive, as illiterates, boors, idiots, and cretins proves only how out of touch you are with the rest of America. That’s fine, Jack. You haven’t lived outside the northeast, and you can’t be blamed for not knowing. (No, well, maybe, yes you can.)
When Trump beats Biden in the general election in November 2016, I will wave to you as you depart the United States, and I will return from my self-imposed exile in New Zealand to watch what happens. It will indeed be the Greatest Show on Earth.
Thanks, old friend, this brightened my day! I was looking for some P.G. Wodehouse, Robert Benchley or perhaps P.J. O’Roarke to read this morning to salve my sagging spirits…maybe some S.J. Perelman? Paul Krugman? But this is so much better! I am flattered that you went to the trouble of composing this gem just for me, but it all comes so easy for you! My favorite quotes, if I may?
1. “Look, Trump has not earned high marks from me for civility in his early showings…”
This caused me to try to envision someone who WOULD give Trump anything but failing marks for civility. I ended up with the demon Pazuzu, who authored the classic, “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell!” The current Vegas odds are 2-5 that Trump borrows this to use on Megyn Kelly.
2. “[H]e refuses to accept the “polite form of tyranny” that is political correctness, and adopt the blind obedience of those who demand that we label what is false to be true.” This is deft satire worthy of Swift, as those of us who are not cretins know, for example, that asserting that it is true that the U.S. could ever or would ever forcibly eject 13 million souls from the country except on “Everybody pretend to be Hitler Day” or repeal (or amend) the 14th Amendment when virtually anyone not rolling around trying to bite off his or her straight jacket and screaming “I am Catherine the Great!!!” knows it’s false.
3. “You don’t get to be worth $10 billion by being untrustworthy and lacking in accountability.”
The innate absurdity of this one is self-evident. I think Will Rogers said this about Rockefeller. See, I would have used a much more obvious version, like “You don’t get to be Secretary of State by being untrustworthy and lacking in accountability.” Therein lies the difference between mere mortals and the satire gods, alas!
4. “But an idiot he is not.”
This one is subtle, as you set it up so brilliantly with your introduction, which of course was designed to show how a non-idiot proclaims his intellectual superiority, and not by repeatedly saying, Trumpishly, “I’m really smart! I have a very high IQ!” I bet you even know that I was watching the latest episode of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” last night and that I immediately thought of Trump when Ray’s nice, sweet, broken brother who is about to marry a Mexican wrestler who is after his money went Full Fredo, saying, as only idiots do (he would lose to Fredo in Scrabble, and maybe to Trump), “I know people say I’m not smart, but it’s not true.” [‘Despite the fact that I just told a guy I barely know who was really an undercover priest from the Vatican that my brother shot the priest who molested me in the head.’] How did you know I just watched this? But all the great comics know the importance of research to set up a really good joke. I am awash in awe!
4. “And to suggest that he is less of an egoist than Obama is absurd.”
Thus evoking the Rationalization that gets my biggest laughs in my seminars: #22, “it’s Not the Worst Thing!”
5. The next section, discussing the unchallenged (at least by me) contention that the current administration is the most incompetent in centuries employs the too little used humorous device, one of my favorites, of interrupting one’s own argument with irrelevancies. This brings back fond memories of chuckling, as a mere child, at parodies like,
ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE BLUE, I LIKE ICE CREAM, CAN YOU SWIM?
Thank you. I had almost forgotten. I’m smiling.
6. “…as a wholly different potential Chief Executive”
Brilliant! Made me laugh out loud, especially after the previous riff on Obama. This is such complex humor that it evokes Voltaire cross-bred with Stephen Wright! My God, the entire history of American humor might have been altered had Old Crimson had the prescience to bring you to Cambridge where the Lampoon was poised to go national. You know, of course, that Trump would be, ironically, exactly like the current Chief Executive is in so many ways—incompetent, arrogant, narcissistic, evasive, lazy—and yet you STILL can mine the humor of stating the obvious while forcing any sophisticated reader with a modicum of wit and imagination to reflect upon OTHER potential Chief Executives who would also be “different”—-Bernie Sanders, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, Sheila Jackson Lee, Kanye West, Dan Savage, Assad, Elmo, Won Ton Ton (the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, Maury the Geek, Ted Nugent, Lindsay Lohan, one of the “Packies” from Jurassic World, a crumpled up piece of paper, Lincoln Chafee, Inmate C5711900 at the Nebraska Institute For Violent Offenders, or Cecil the Lion.
6. The idea that not living in the U.S. provides a better perspective than living here, like the unspoken but implied suggestion that not spending a lifetime studying leadership, character and the U.S. Presidency provides more expertise than doing so (like me, as you know), is just intrinsically funny. “Pure gold,” as Jerry Seinfeld would say!
7. Your last paragraph is just a classic for the ages, and to analyze what makes it so funny is like expounding on the geometrical origins of Rita Hayworth’s beauty. I would sooner defile this masterpiece, by Wodehouse, which you doubtless could recite from memory, having studied and bettered the greats…
“I remember when I was a kid at school having to learn a poem of sorts about a fellow named Pig-something—a sculptor he would have been, no doubt—who made a statue of a girl, and what should happen one morning but that the bally thing suddenly came to life. A pretty nasty shock for the chap, of course, but the point I’m working round to is that there were a couple of lines that went, if I remember correctly: She starts. She moves. She seems to feel The stir of life along her keel. And what I’m driving at is that you couldn’t get a better description of what happened to Gussie as I spoke these heartening words. His brow cleared, his eyes brightened, he lost that fishy look, and he gazed at the slug, which was still on the long, long trail with something approaching bonhomie. A marked improvement.”
― P.G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves
8. And the best part is, everyone knows you support Rand Paul…whose name originally was right after Won Ton Ton on my list above!
9. Please come home, Peter! I miss you!