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Sat, Jun

Why We Need to Start Laughing at Trump for Being the Joke That He Is

VOICES

ACCORDING TO LIZ - What’s the easiest way to get a guy with a hard-on to back off? Laugh at it and his puffed-up... ego tends to deflate. 

The Trump has yet to grow out of the terrible twos but, as a tantrum-wielding child in a bloviator’s body, he has attracted a disproportionate amount of power. 

Instead of running scared or trying to reason with the unreasonable, why not lambaste him for being the buffoon he has always been? 

If we can’t make the MAGA-minions decry Trump’s egoism, poor judgment, and lack of executive ability, perhaps we can make them squirm by making a mockery of the man. 

Satire has been a tried and true force in American politics before there was an America. 

From Poor Richard's Almanack to Benjamin Franklin and other activists who spawned the American Revolution, critics of King George and the tyrannical English treatment of his American colonies used cartoons and pamphlets to stir up a unified opposition to continued control by an overseas monarch and his draconian fiscal demands. 

As expressed in the Columbia Encyclopedia: 

From ancient times satirists have shared a common aim: to expose foolishness in all its guises — vanity, hypocrisy, pedantry, idolatry, bigotry, sentimentality — and to effect reform through such exposure. 

Unfortunately today, the unfactual has become the equivalent of good-faith reporting, and the only way to realistically rebalance the news is to fun the former and fund the real. Not for profit, but for decency and self-respect. 

Fake news dates back to the Romans but it was not always so readily available… nor lying pundits so eager to be skewered. Followers tended to be people a charismatic leader connected with in the flesh – well, I guess that’s a bit like the ex-prez – without the universal access granted the ex and Fox News by Twitter and X and Truth(less) Social. 

Changing people’s views and energizing them to stand up for their beliefs can’t rely on being serious and requiring people to actually think in the world of Twitter-X and TikTok. 

Caricatures and acerbic verbal castration have been used for many centuries to make people think twice or thrice about the political, social and economic issues of the times. 

And there’s the psychological aspect of Schadenfreude – German for harm and joy – when someone laughs at another’s misfortune. Laughing at someone may not be a joke but it is strangely satisfying – an opportunity to revel in “better them than me” otherwise why would situational comedy from Charlie Chaplin to American TV sitcoms be so successful? 

And so transcendent of language barriers for leveling egos, letting the elites slip and slide their way into the muck of the lower classes. 

Alienating someone can be both pleasurable and addictive. And those on the sidelines often can’t wait to join in, be part of the crowd having fun. Even if it means turning against last week’s celebrity host. 

With El Donald being the man many love to hate, perhaps laughter can become the most effective path to peeling his adherents away from the toxic lump of excrescence. 

If nothing else, in these troubled times, it’s cathartic to laugh at a fool and know you can’t be accused of being politically incorrect given all political figures and powerful people are fair game. 

When the mighty fall, and the Orange egoist is poised to fall hard – how’s that for an image to make you smile, there will be eternal satisfaction in being on the Team Triumphant, not lumped in with the Flailing Flameout.

(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions.  In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)