By Dominique Paul Noth
Partly his own foot-in-mouth, but also much to our national shame, there has been a flourishing publishing industry built around Donald Trump’s endless prattle and tabloid sordidness.
Never forget this book, while leading national sales, is largely a rehash to veteran New Yorkers. Three and a half years into his presidency, they remain amazed at how Trump ever fooled a sizable portion of the nation with the same behavior they had long grown tired of. How Trump talks about blacks and other minorities, how he treats workers and business partners, how he preens with self-aggrandizement – all that is old stuff on his home turf.
That’s been much overlooked in the media coverage -- that the details in Mary Trump's book are already familiar fodder. Virtually everyone in NY knew what a racist and PR tool Trump was and real thinkers had grown sick of it over decades. The nation’s foolishness, encouraged by NBC’s pursuit toward the top of ratings by wallowing in the bottom of reality TV, turned Trump and his “Celebrity Apprentice” clown show into an elevation for much of the nation, while folks in Manhattan have known his blather inside out for generations.
Trump’s penchant for tabloid fame and plated fool’s gold had so long been a laughingstock in New York society that you can find published examples going back 40 years. He was only tolerated for his family’s money and the savagery with which he attacked those who attacked him. Savagery always delights the Manhattan press and public. He was long the media’s poster child for how arrogant belligerency can lead to tabloid reputation if you flash enough money on your way to bankruptcies and TV ratings.
While NYC residents thought they had his number, there was a whole misshapen mass of voters in the United States who could still fool themselves into seeing freshness in his tired tropes.
|Waterston in 1975's "The Killing Fields"
But before then, in 1983!, he had written a sarcastic piece for the New York Times about a Trump proposal to move the homeless into one of his buildings scheduled for demolition.
And then, on September 14th, 1987, now writing for Newsday, Schanberg provided an editorial anticipating by 30 plus years (!) the likelihood that the Trump brand, so scoffed in New York, might work for a while in national politics.
|Sydney Schanberg in 1980s
Schanberg ended the piece with, "In an age where smoke is everything, Donald Trump can blow it with the best of them."
I always thought “Celebrity Apprentice” was a ridiculous concept designed for morons and fully believed back in 2011 that most of America was laughing along with Barack Obama at the presidential press dinner where he poked fun at Donald deciding between Meatloaf and Gary Busey about who to better run a company.
Yet behold, the obnoxious high ratings crap that TV brought home to America seemed to make just enough people believe in an egotistical moron to elect him!
Today it is clear the public mood is finally done with Trump -- and yet … and yet. There still seem enough jerks around during the pandemic who think wearing a mask while shopping is some sort of attack on their constitutional rights, not some effort at saving the people around them. Finally, now that children as well as adults are being put in harm’s way because of Trump’s egotistical behavior, the dawn is coming to people who once envisioned him as a salvation and are finally joining New York City’s upper echelons in rejecting him.
Yet the fear remains. Maybe there are not enough people around still fascinated by his branding games but fear is powering voters this year who are ready to defy the virus if that’s what it takes to vote him out. They are seriously worried about the damage Trump wants to do to mail-in voting and his attacks on the US Postal Service.
They are scared that he may send federal officers in camouflage to every city that doesn’t obey him (and most are hardly in a mood to obey) and believe he won’t follow normal democratic procedures once he loses. His mere existence at the top has done so much damage to our normal sense of human behavior and decency that the entire country is out of balance in how ferociously to put him down. It’s turning us all into mini-Trumps in how viciously we want him gone.