Sunday, October 4, 2020

Literary Corner: They Look Like They Are Miracles


So obviously the explanation that he is "working" in these pictures is the usual exaggeration, although I suppose you could say Trump is a professional model and posing for pictures is a central part what he does for a living. They shot the picture on the left in this bizarre boardroom at 8:25 (the timestamp on the metadata is from Seattle, which is where Ostrower accessed it, as he explains in a later tweet), gave him a jacket and moved him with the folders to the room with the white cabinets to shoot the video in its single four-minute take, and shot the picture on the right at 8:35. The whole thing is really by way of being a hostage video (which is what Emptywheel called it) which should have been sent with a note: "Your grandfather is in a safe place and in good health. Please transfer $5 million in Bitcoin to..."

The video statement, emitted in the affectless tone he uses when he is reading, but much more fluent, even more fluent than his normal rally improv (where he always breaks, applauding himself, to collect the scattered ideas), suggests some kind of psychoactive drug,  and the logical structure is really wacky, especially at the end, where he seems to be trying to convince us that he decided to go to the hospital because in the White House he would be "locked up in a room upstairs and totally safe" instead of "confronting problems". That's not why you go to the hospital.

I Feel Much Better Now

by Donald J. Trump

I feel much better now. We are working hard to get me
all the way back.a I have to be back. We still have to make
America great again.b We've done an awfully good job with that.

We still have steps to go. We have to finish that job.c
I will be back. I think I will be back soon. I look forward
to finishing up the campaign the way it was started, the
way we've been doing. The numbers we've been doing.
We've been so proud of it. Thisd was something that
happened. It has happened to millions of people
all over the world. I'm fighting for them, not just
in the U.S., I'm fighting for them all over the world.
We will beat this coronavirus or whatever you want
to call it.e We will beat it soundly. So many things
have happened. Look at the therapeutics, which I'm
taking right now. Some of them. Others are coming out
soon that are looking like miracles, if you want to know
the truth. People criticize me when I say that.f We have things
happening that they look like they are miracles, coming down
from God. I want to tell you that I'm starting to feel good.
You don't know. Over the next few days, that's the real test.

We will see what happens over the next couple of days. I just want
to be so thankful for all of the support I've seen, whether it's
on television or reading about it.g Most of all, I appreciate
what's been said by the American people. By almost a bipartisan
consensus of American people. It's a beautiful thing to see. I
very much appreciate it. I won't forget it.h I promise you that.

I want to thank the leaders of the world for their condolences and they
know what we are going through. They know what I have to go through.
I had no choice. I didn't want to stay in the White House. I was given
that offer. Stay in the White House, lock yourself in, don't even go
to the Oval Office. Just sit upstairs and enjoy it. Don't see people.
Don't talk to people. Just be done with it. I can't do that. I had to
be out front. This is America. This is the United States. This is
the greatest country in the world. I can't be locked up in a room
upstairs and totally safe. Just say, whatever happens happens.i
I can't do that. We have to confront problems, As a leader, you
have to confront problems. There's never been a great leader
who would've done that. That's where it is. I'm doing well.

a Meaning "back at full physical capacity", I think, but trying not to acknowledge he's lost any.
b Wait, we haven't done that yet?
c Well, we haven't finished.
d Covid is random. It's not his fault, and it's not his plan, just one of those inevitable impediments.
e You know what he wants to call it.
f Asserting his religious faith. He believes in the God of Gamblers.
g "reading"—It seems likely he got some newspaper clippings. He's not strictly illiterate, as you know, and enjoys looking at short texts with his name in them, usually brought in by Hope, who's out of commission of course, but I'm sure there are others.
h In fact he's already forgotten whatever it was, or hasn't yet imagined it.
i He can easily say "Whatever happens happens" in the form "It is what it is."

I'm curiously uninterested in the question of how sick he is, or in participating in the debate over who's lying in the various statements being issued and how hard; or rather uninterested in deciding it, because I'm certainly following the discussion. I have this feeling it's not really important. I pretty much expect him to survive, and I don't expect his or anybody's mind to be changed, so I don't think the whole thing will have a big effect on anything, except that the delay is bad for his campaign and for the Coney Barrett nomination (not enough to stop it, but if there's some other shoe out there dropping, it will help), and that's enjoyable; and conceivably good for the possibility of a second stimulus with the big items of unemployment bonus and rental assistance—Mnuchin and Pelosi are in some sense back at work, and some White House pirate captured the president's phone and tweeted about it:

And other than that, ready, for the moment, to be surprised.

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