Nothing. Utter and complete nihilism. The universe has bestowed on us the scourge that is Donald Trump for absolutely no reason… At least that’s what I expected to find.
By now most of you have heard enough about Donald Drumpf (I’ll be using Drumpf interchangeably with Trump just in case John Oliver was right about the name thing) to make your ears water, which, I think is maybe possible. He’s quickly become, or at least seemingly become, one of the most hated people in America, and yet he continues to win and win and win Republican primaries. At this point even the crotchetiest of crotchety Republicans Presidential failure of 2012 Mitt Romney, reluctant Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and known vampiric shadow-dweller and Fox News analyst Karl Rove (I do apologize for the insult that is to you readers who are also vampiric shadow-dwellers) have spoken out against Trump, and in some cases begged and pleaded for his followers to, like, maybe take a look at his record, once. Personally I think a better plan is to persuade them that if the government is so terrible that you need to elect Trump, then the real kick-in-the-ass they should give the government is by not voting at all (I know, right? So strange it just might work).
But up to this point, nothing the man who unfortunately bears no resemblance to the duck of the same first name, in either appearance or personality, says seems to reach that “woah there, back up a little bit, what did you just say???” line for the millions of people that are continuously disheartening the rest of us on the state of a country we already knew was a shithole. When he said most Mexican immigrants are drug traffickers, criminals, and rapists, some of us thought, “okay, this has gone far enough, he’s gotta be done now.” But he only got bigger from there! Like the amount of people that hate him gives him more energy. That theory was tested when he pissed off/scared 1.6 billion Muslims and a whole lot non-muslims by saying the US should ban Muslims from entering the country. Theory proven. He not only endured the criticism, he reveled in it like the piles of money he supposedly has. And as the primary race has unfolded he’s only gotten bigger and bigger shares of the vote, blowing famed Zodiak killer and his closest Republican threat, Ted Cruz, out of the water in many of the latest primaries.
Like we all thought Donald Trump was like a balloon, sure the more you hate him or love him or give him any kind of attention or stroke his ego in any way, the bigger he’ll get, but eventually he’ll pop (yeah, sure, there’s another direction I could’ve gone with that comparison but let’s keep this classy okay?). Turns out he’s much more like an internet post: love it, hate it, don’t care, read it, don’t read it, whatever, as long as you click the link, the page gets more relevant and more ad revenue; and there is no ceiling. Donald Trump just keeps on growing and growing, feeding off the hatred as much as he feeds off the adoration, reveling in the protests as much as he basks in the accolades, because he’s getting us to (metaphorically… hopefully) click him. Which is where I got to thinking, what type of website is even more notorious for clickbait than Cracked or Buzzfeed? Satire sites. The whole point of a satire story is to put a headline out there that’s so absolutely ridiculous but kind of maybe almost believable that everyone that sees it just has to click on it. And who’s the biggest satire site this side of the webissippi? The Onion.
In a correspondence that “didn’t happen” with a low level staffer at The Onion that “doesn’t exist” (those quotation marks really don’t mean anything by the way, this conversation is like 100% fake, kind of like Donald Trump’s sense of self-importance) I was told “you’re on the right path, young one, but this is as far as I can take you, any longer and I risk being consumed by the beast I am a part of” to which I said “I mean, you really didn’t take me that far but thanks for the tip I guess? Also I don’t know why you’re talking like you’re 70 when there’s no way anyone who works at The Onion is over 35 or maybe 45 for the really high positions.” So I continued to look into this connection, spurious though it seemed at first, but the first thing I realized was this:
Piece of Evidence #1: Donald Trump is not Just a Walking Headline Machine, He’s a Walking Headline Machine that Forces Real News Outlets Dangerously Closer to Fake Ones
It was an easy thing to find, sure, but easy doesn’t mean unimportant, like the orgasm you “reportedly” get in return for “donating” $5 to the Drumpf campaign, though in that case I recommend you blindfold yourself to make sure you never know if it’s Drumpf himself doing the work (okay I kept it classy for long enough). But take a moment to think about the headlines Trump has been responsible for. There’s the classic “Successful Businessman Only Really Successful at Being Born Rich and Convincing People He’s Successful.” Or the more obscure “Real Estate Magnate Says His Net Worth Fluctuates on His Feelings.” To the completely ridiculous and creepy and downright unsettling “Menacing Billionaire Hairpiece Says He’d Totally Bang His Daughter.” Most recently we can add the down right head scratching “Presumed Republican Presidential Candidate Cites National Enquirer, Says Opponent’s Dad Killed JFK.”
Everywhere he goes, everything he does and says, he creates the most awkward, absurd, wish-it-weren’t true headlines. Now you might think “But if Donald Drumpf were in any way connected to The Onion, wouldn’t he be taking away precious precious satire from them?” Well, my friend, not if what they really want is the convergence of satire and reality as we know it creating a completely new existence in which the most absurd thing is always true and anything that’s true is automatically false. In this chaos, The Onion would be our indisputable ruler: the only ones that know how to navigate that line between truth and satire which would now become the line that our very existence rests upon. And really, The Convergence (I’ll just take that from Thor) started before Drumpf’s campaign. News outlets from ESPN to the New York Times, even abroad to China’s People’s Daily or Iran’s Fars News have reported Onion stories as real stories. And it doesn’t stop at the onion. Dozens of satire news sites have tricked, duped, and bamboozled real news outlets into reprinting their stories. Donald Drumpf may just be the culmination of this plan.
Piece of Evidence #2: Poe’s Law, as Applied to Drumpf
Poe’s law is an internet law that has been widely accepted for the use of written sarcasm or satire. It goes something like this (from the previously cited wikipedia article): “without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, parodies of extreme views will be mistaken by some readers or viewers for sincere expressions of the parodied views.” We can see this in action by the major news sources above being taken in by satire. We can also see it in Donald Drumpf, if we look at him as a work of satire. For instance, in the 2012 election (you know, the one where Barack Obama had already been president for almost four years), Donald Trump said in a tweet that “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud” (I’d also like to give a shout out to the first reply I saw which was by Twitter user @Rmmbr_Rmmbr and said “An ‘extremely credible source’ has told me that you’re an idiotic, racist c*nt.”). So Donald Drumpf, someone in the public eye if only for his “Apprentice” shows which he was not yet fired from, questioned on Twitter whether or not a sitting US President had a birth certificate. If you were to remove yourself from the situation and hear that line without any knowledge of Donald Drumpf or the whole “birther” movement, how would that seem to you? Absurd? Ridiculous? Hard to believe? Possibly true? Honestly maybe not too out there for this Country? All of the above? Exactly. It’s impossible to tell if something like that is the actual representation of a hardline view, or the mockery of it. Poe’s law in action, in real life.
Not convinced? Here’s an Onion article from the depths of 2002. It talks about a millionaire turkey farmer and senatorial candidate named Hoyt Mullins (who one of several google searches will tell you is a completely made up person) wanting to run the government like a business. The article contains lines like “though he has no experience in government or law” and has him saying now eerily reminiscent lines such as “I may not know the ins and outs of legislation yet, but I know one thing: I know a line of bull when I see it, and none of that is going to get by Senator Mullins” and “When I want something done, I want it done now. None of this filibustering and committeeizing. When I say, ‘Get that pile of feathers outta here,’ it’d better be gone the next time I walk around that outbuilding.” And as to whether he has the experience necessary to run the country, he responds, “I’ve got experience. Hell, I’ve got more experience than half the Senate and House combined. In my life, I’ve been a truck driver, a warehouse manager, a car salesman, an auto mechanic, an accountant, a ditch digger, a chicken plucker, and a shit shoveler. If that don’t qualify me to run this country, I don’t know what does.”
Remember that was way back in 2002 when Bush was a few years into his term as president, and before Congressional gridlock really started to become something the public was painfully aware of and frankly pissed off about (of course they were pissed off about it in different ways leading to more gridlock but hey who am I to judge). Now Fast forward to Donald Drumpf in good ole’ 2016. When talking about experience he said, among other things, that he’s “going to make the greatest deals you’ve ever seen on trade.” And saying almost unintelligible sentences like this one: “The drug companies control the drug industry, I mean it’s ridiculous, and the military companies — I mean it’s ridiculous.” And his comment in the same article after being asked about his tax returns: “I released my financial statements and everybody was amazed at how big and how great the company is, much bigger than they thought and it’s a great company.” Now which one sounds more like satire and more like reality? If I hadn’t told you would you know? I don’t think I would have. I read the Onion article wondering “wait which parts of this are fake? Is this a fake person? Or is it a real person who just didn’t say these things?” The Onion knew 14 years ago that we would be primed and ready for The Convergence when America read their article on Hoyt Mullins and chuckled. Now they just had to do the simple job of continuing to blur the lines between satire and reality.
Piece of Evidence #3: Trump Has a Seeming Inability to Comprehend What “Truth” Is
Back to that John Oliver video on Donald Drumpf. Oliver, in possibly the best analogy I’ve ever heard, says “Donald Trump views the truth like this lemur views the Supreme Court Vacancy: I don’t care about that in any way, please fuck off, I have a banana.” And really, that has to be the only explanation for the actual mountain of lies he’s told (and that article is just for 2015). But what could motivate someone to so publicly dishonest in a way that’s not deceptive at all; it’s like the most honest way to lie adamantly about many many things. He’s not going to give in to your “facts,” he’s just going to keep on making it easier and easier for you to skewer him as a liar. What would have happened if Barack Obama took this approach to the truth in his 2008 election? Probably people would have been like “dude what the fuck… we can tell you’re lying… we’re not going to vote for you.” Now that’s not to say Obama hasn’t lied during his presidency or campaigns, but to my recollection no political figure, not even Richard Nixon who was impeached for spying, obstruction of justice, and basically telling other people to lie for him or Bill Clinton who was impeached for lying under oath were this publically blase about the truth.
Trump doesn’t even have to be lying about things that really matter, he just doesn’t give a shit about the truth and says what he things make sense at the time. And I’m not talking about typical political lies where they say “oh my plan for health care makes money” and it kind of depends on which economist you talk to and how they run the numbers. He lied about “getting very close” with Putin on a 60 minutes episode when their interviews were done in different countries. He touts how his campaign is 100% self-financed, when an estimated 50% is from outside contributors. He had the gall to say that he “predicted Bin Laden” and I assume, by extension, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in his 2000 book The America We Deserve, even though the text of the book that he (apparently) wrote says nothing like that. He took on objective statistics saying that 81% of white people murdered were killed by black people, when the truth is that 80% of white people were killed by other white people! And there’s SO. MANY. MORE. An exhausting amount actually. There’s lies that he’s gone back and forth on. There’s lies that he’s gone back and forth and back on. There’s lies that come out of nowhere. Hell there’s even lies like his most common one on the campaign trail: people love me.
So what on earth could cause such a dizzying array of lies to come from one person, and not only that, the frontrunner for a major party presidential nomination, and not only that but combover/toupee icon, and not only that but someone that a lot of people still think “tells it like it is”? Some might blame the political divide itself, saying that anyone calling out Drumpf for lying is simply “part of the liberal media machine.” And furthermore, others might say his followers’ unwillingness to realize that if he were pinoccio he would have to get a nose job every five minutes just so he could fit into cars is due to who his followers are: many say xenophobes, racists, islamophobes, sexists, and probably a whole lot of other -ists, just like their candidate. But I say that’s too simple. I say that’s the easy way out. If we take a look back at how easily satire is mistaken for reality, and Poe’s rule that without proper indication it’s indistinguishable from reality, I think what we have to be dealing with here is a (possible) human work of satire, living and walking among us until it’s time to strike. Satire has no regard for what the “truth” is, because it yearns to be taken for truth, at least for one second, long enough to be clicked on. Satire, when abandoning its values of serving humankind for the better, for a filthy amount of clicks and visits, almost doesn’t even know what the truth is anymore. Just like Donald Drumpf.
Piece of Evidence #4: Satire is About Exaggeration and Irony, Sound Familiar?
Two of the three main characteristics of satire are exaggeration and irony, with the other being humor. While I won’t touch on humor, because… well honestly it’s just not that funny at this point, I will piece together the other two. First, satire exaggerates what it’s making fun of to point out the flaws in it. For example, if I wanted to write a story that was funny but also pointed out what a nuisance leaf or snow blowing is, I might take you to a world where on every single part of a block everyone had their let’s say snowblowers out and anyone walking down the street could only hear the sound of their eardrums popping and all the people didn’t end up getting any work done because as one would obliviously blow all the snow into the other’s walkway, then turn around, the other would continue to blow their snow back into the other’s walkway, and on and on. Clearly something that never happens, but if you read a story like that you might be like “wow… the person really hates snow blowers and leaf blowers… I guess they are pretty noisy.”
There may or may not be more too it than that (I’m told satire is an intricate art, though I kind of stopped believing that when I saw a “satire” piece on a man who had survived 14 years in a caved in mine in China, like what good does making that up do?). Anyways, the point is that satire exaggerates, a lot. If you’ve ever read “A Modest Proposal,” you know what I’m talking about. Let me tell you, that proposal… that proposal was slightly less than modest. So where do we recognize that kind of exaggeration to absurdity from? Ah yes, the man himself, weighing in at who-gives-a-fuck lbs. and wearing a hair helmet that I’m surprised hasn’t blown off in front of photographers on a windy New York City day: Donald Drumpf (I’m not making all these hair jokes because that’s all I’ve got, it’s more just because I miss the days when we used to joke about that; back before we had to start seriously talking about his rampant racism and xenophobia). Let’s see, what exactly has he exaggerated? Oh that’s right, his net worth, the amount of people that come to his rallies, the amount of people he saw either on television or with his own eyes (his lying makes this unclear) celebrating the 9/11 attacks, that his crowd numbers broke Bernie Sanders’ record, the completely laughable quote that “nobody has done so much for equality as I have” coming from a guy supported by a former Klan leader, and finally the whole “nobody builds better walls than me” absurdity. Of course there’s more. There’s always more where Drumpf came from. He’s practically a walking megaphone blaring out into the streets how great he is.
And as for the irony? Well, while there’s plenty of irony in those last statements, we’ll move on to new material. How about the irony that someone born into money (his inheritance is estimated at $40 million to $200 million) is peddling himself as a self-made man and that self-made “quality” is what so many people like about him? And Ryan Lizza on CNN pointed out that there’s juuuuuust a little bit of irony when Donald Drumpf starts fact checking Secretary Clinton. Possibly somewhat ironic that the talking face that stars at Republic Debates by talking about starting a trade war with china and building a big ole wall on the US-Mexico border and calling Mexican immigrants rapists and how he’s gonna bring back jobs to the US… actually manufactures his clothing line in China, Bangladesh, and Mexico? Slightly, maybe chuckle worthy ironic that Trump called for a boycott of apple products while tweeting from an iPhone. But possibly the most ironic is that the same person whose business was sued in the 70s by the Department of Justice for Racial Discrimination (which ended in a settlement), then was sued again by the DoJ in the 80s for Violating Anti-trust Laws (which ended in a settlement), was sued in the 90s for sexual harassment (that suit didn’t seem to go anywhere), was sued by the New York Attorney General in 2013 for fraud involving the short lived Trump University, and in total is named in 169 federal law suits; that same person, is actually a front runner for a major party nomination! That sounds like the resume of a white collar criminal, not a President! And that’s where we are with Donald Drumpf.
The Conclusion: Donald Trump is an Android Created by The Onion with the Sole Purpose of Merging Reality and Satire, Creating a Universe Where Only the Absurd Exists and Truth and Reality Mean Nothing
This, is the only purpose I can find for the Universe giving us Donald Drumpf. And the amount of sense it makes is even scarier, because if this makes sense, how do I know the effects aren’t starting already and this reality has already become satire or some sick demon offspring of the two?! There’s no way to know when they started, or who they really are. Their wikipedia bios indicate it started with “Tim Heck” and “Christopher Johnson” in “Madison, WI.” But who knows the real story. I’m in Milwaukee right now and I’m not even like 46% sure that Madison exists. And those names. Who the fuck is named “Chris Johnson?” Probably like at least 27 million people. It’s like the 1990s Honda Civic of names: you can steal it and nobody will care or notice you doing it. Maybe they’re aliens that crashlanded from another planet in 1988 only to start a small humor zine. Maybe they come from a reality that is satire and they’ve been desperately engineering their way out of this hell hole with their, admittedly, hilarious magazine and website, all the while working on turning Donald Drumpf into: the perfect candidate. Whatever the case may be, none of us are safe! Please dear god if you’re reading this from the future DO NOT VOTE FOR TRUMP! I mean not only for the obvious reasons but also because your LIVES are at stake (also not for the obvious reasons)! If Trump wins the presidency and the Convergence happens, only the absurd will exist! And I’m goddam willing to bet most of you aren’t nearly absurd enough to maintain your existence. So if it’s not too late, STOP TRUMP. And if it is too late, by god make sure your existence becomes at least 10 times as absurd your average Jonathan Swift work.