Friday, April 27, 2018

Literary Corner: I have a phony cloud over my head that doesn't exist

Mainstream media are concerned, inevitably, by the eccentricities of President Trump's call-in to the Fox & Friends show yesterday morning, in which he seemed to be growing more and more out of control as the half-hour wore on, and Doocy, Earhardt, and Kilmeade looked increasingly alarmed, until he finally began complaining, "I have a phony cloud over my head that doesn't exist."

Upon which they decided they'd better get him off the line, eventually shoving him away a little brutally when he didn't get the message ("We could talk to you all day but it looks like you have a million things to do") and Trump was able to hang up, turn his own TV back on, and crawl under the covers.
But here at Rectification Central we have another way of looking at it, of course, taking its point of departure with the form of what Trump says, as in the bit two thirds of the way in or so after he's moved on from North Korea and "Sleepy Eyes" Chuck Todd to the discussion of CNN and its "council of seven people and of the seven people every one of them is against me," and this startling exchange:

KILMEADE: I'm not your doctor, Mr. President, but I would — I would recommend you watch less of them.
TRUMP: I don’t watch them at all. I watched last night.
DOOCY: Well, that makes it easy.
That moment ("I don't watch them at all. I watched last night.") and Doocy's reply make you think of Samuel Beckett, but in the lengthy passage that follows, the diction relaxes and spreads out into an even flow of decasyllabics, grave as a Renaissance walking dance, where the word-to-word oddities and incoherences are subsumed into a broad and remarkably unified whole, on the theme of how he's learned to stop watching the TV channels that abuse him in spite of all the money he's made for them, though he's long believed it would be impossible for him to stop watching them, and it keeps him sane, or would if he'd actually managed to do it, which he hasn't, until he suggests it doesn't matter anyway at the outward-looking, hopeful close, where he returns from the discourse of possibility to the moralizing vocabulary of his more familiar work ("liar", "performance", "horrible", "tough", "good") with a tone of relief and acceptance.

You Keep Your Sanity
by Donald J. Trump

Well, one of the things I’ve been able to do,
which is something I never thought I had
the ability—I would always watch—
when I was, now, frankly I don’t have time,
for two reasons—there’s too much, and
I don’t have time. But I would watch, whether
it’s good or bad, I would always watch. I have
an ability, I don’t watch NBC
any more, they’re as bad as CNN. I
don't, and by the way, I made them a fortune
with The Apprentice! Think of that one! I made
them a—No, but I made them a fortune!
You would think these guys would treat me great, I made
them a fortune, they treat me horribly.
And they treat me falsely! But just one thing—
I don’t watch things that I can put it out
of my mind. And I never, ever thought
that that would be possible. And you know
what that does, it keeps you on the ball. You keep
your sanity, and it works very well. But
last night I did watch a liar, leaker, and
his performance, by the way, was horrible,
and I will say this, Anderson Cooper was
surprisingly tough, and he did a good job.

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