Fans of The Simpsons will know that one of Homer Simpson’s signature moves is when he is in the middle of something serious, he gets distracted by a bird or something, yells “Oooh! Birdie!” then runs outside chasing it around a tree giggling.
So much like today’s media and President Trump’s tweets.
Let’s be frank here. I’m no great fan of Trump. I think he’s less bad than Hillary (let alone the execrable Sanders) would have been, but let’s face it, that’s a pretty low bar. So low that the decision of who is least bad (“better” is pushing it) is subject to quantum mechanical fluctuations. But he really has the media’s measure. Just send out a good dose of “outrageous” tweets, and the media and their adoring public are duly distracted from anything important.
Let’s face it, modern politics is just theatre, and Trump is its master. I don’t know what’s more amusing, the sight of the media chasing Trump’s birdies, or the pomposity of critics who accuse him of betraying the dignity of the office of President. Talk about low bars. A President pleasuring an intern with a cigar outside the Oval Office kind of makes the dignity a bit moot, no?
What is amusing is it is so much like the “not cultured” measure in Russia described in Tom Clancy novels: the rulers could be utterly ruthless, murdering thieving bastards, but as long as they were “cultured”, and properly appreciated the arts and culture, why, they are good people who could sleep at night with the respect of their peers. But be uncultured! Oh, my! Unworthy of office.
So here we have a political system that routinely violates individuals’ rights in so many ways, usually cheered on by that same media, while we vilify Trump for his boorish personality. Talk about the decline and fall of the US empire.
But Trump has done some good things. Pity the media is too distracted to attempt to stop the bad things (though frankly, they are likely to approve the bad and attack the good, such is politics these days). Maybe he’ll end up doing more good than bad. Or maybe he won’t be able to do much at all.
In any case, it’s theatre. So grab your popcorn and enjoy the ride, as Trump entertains and pulls the strings of his even more entertaining puppets.