Where are those much-pooh-poohed "trigger warnings" when one actually needs them?
It was cruel, unnerving, even borderline sadistic of MSNBC yesterday to abruptly switch from live coverage of President Obama at the North American trade summit to deadhead coverage of Donald Trump, grifting in Maine. My sensibilities are less than delicate, nevertheless I experienced a deeply disturbing kind of characterological-culture shock from which I am still recovering.
One minute I'm admiring the eloquent thoughtfulness of presidential sophistication squared; seconds later — with no more than a brutally curt, "We're now cutting to …" — I'm watching a second-rate swindler bamboozle a bunch of first-rate imbeciles. My equipoise of admiration and respect was thrown into asymmetrical disorder. It was like switching the channel from the Metropolitan Opera to "Hee-Haw," or from a Bogart movie to Pee-Wee Herman. (Nothing personal, Pee-Wee; besides, compared to The Donald's exhibitionism, your honor is intact).
As if to acutely underscore the obscenity of MSNBC's broadcast juxtaposition of the eminently refined Obama and the bunco-artist Trump, there was the latest, in print, from the NY Times: "Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons." Oh my, color me shocked.
In somewhat metaphorical language the Times described how The Donald is politically screwing millions of morons: "The institute was another example of the Trump brand’s being accused of luring vulnerable customers with false promises of profit and success."
Reading yet another exposé of Trump's history of rip-off hucksterism while suffering his enthusiastically received grifting in Maine, live, was almost surreal. There he was, yesterday, again promising that he would recreate American manufacturing jobs by either renegotiating trade treaties that benefit the U.S. alone or by withdrawing from the global economy, which would somehow result in an insular, economic Elysium.
The Trump Institute, which was an unspeakable fraud ("It was like I was in sleaze America; it was all smoke and mirrors," said an attendee of one of its "seminars"), was nonetheless a model of business decorum compared to the prodigious political scam being pulled by the charlatan Trump on the stump.
And when one sees it so abruptly thrust against the reasoned elegance and personal nobility of President Obama … well, let me just say again that a cable-news trigger warning would have been most appreciated.