30. Trump-eting the Real Danger of a Donald Presidency

Former Saturday Night Live player Janeane Garofalo captured the true tragedy of a possible Trump Presidency, “Yes, we can laugh at Donald Trump, but....you can’t….parody Donald Trump.” His self-congratulatory outlandishness erases the line between parody and reality.

Julia Louis Dreyfus — Wry GalAnother SNL alumnus, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, accepted her 2015 Emmy with the words, “What a great honor it must be for you to honor me tonight.” Then, she credited Trump for the quote, adding, “It’s getting trickier and trickier to satirize this stuff.”

Political satire draws on three basic wellsprings. The first is to exaggerate and skew. But Trump is already exaggerated, from soaring towers to Barbie-doll wives. He is H-U-U-UGE. Trump is already skewed, from shifting birther claims to an orange tan.

In a Tonight Show skit, host Jimmy Fallon dressed-up as Trump to do a pre-show interview with himself in the mirror. On the other side of the non-existent glass sat the real Trump. Fallon described himself as having bathed in “a pumpkin-spiced latte.” This was closer to accuracy than satire. And Trump grinned.

The second is an irreverence that crosses into viciousness. But Trump's flag is planted in this territory. He described reporter Megyn Kelly, whom he considered hostile, as having "blood coming out of her wherever." He denied John McCain was a war hero “because he got captured. I like people that weren't captured, okay?” He mocks disabled reporters like the paralyzed Charles Krauthammer. Trump out-cruels the satirist.

The third is to attack the power itself as corrupt. Here is a still-sharp weapon because of Trump's overweening self-importance. The Boston Globe issued a parody front page of headlines from a Trump Presidency, which included the headline “New Libel Law Targets ‘Absolute Scum’ in Press.” Trump did not grin. “They made up a story,” he declared, “I mean, the whole thing is made up.”

That's where the satire is. Wherever Trump's grin isn't.


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