Alden Graves | Graves Registry: The joker who stopped being funny

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"This suffering cannot be forgotten. As of today, tens of thousands of Americans have lost their lives as a consequence of the administration's failure to act sooner, so it's no wonder the president excoriates reporters who ask him why he waited so long to implement the guidelines." - Eugene Jarecki, award-winning filmmaker

Donald Trump has finally made it. His name is up in lights in the theater district in Manhattan's Times Square. The so-called Trump Death Clock keeps a running total of the number of coronavirus deaths many of which, according to Mr. Jarecki, can be attributed directly to Trump's bungled response to first warnings about the potentially catastrophic virus.

Howard Stern, the shock jock who was instrumental in ushering radio to new lows, seems to be mellowing with age. He has always been a few cuts above Rush Limbaugh's subbasement level of hyperbolic divisiveness, but he has been successful living up to his name as a person who can provoke a visceral, occasionally outraged reaction in people.

Stern once managed not to voice his own revulsion when guest Donald Trump talked leeringly about his own daughter's physical attributes. He has known the commander-in-chief for a long time and seemed to share David Letterman's opinion that Trump was always good for a laugh when no one took him seriously. If Henny ("Take my wife please!") Youngman or Rodney (I don't get no respect") Dangerfield were out of town, Donald would always be waiting in the wings for another moment in the spotlight.

The two men have remained in touch over the years despite the fact that Stern supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. The radio luminary has very few illusions about his faux celebrity friend's bottomless need for attention or the neurotic self-absorption that motivates his every action. He never really wanted to be president, according to Stern, he only ran as a way of bolstering the falling ratings on his television program.

"The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most, love him the most," said Stern on his SiriuxXM radio program. "The people who are voting for Trump, for the most part He wouldn't even let them in a (there is a typical Stern adjective here) hotel. He'd be disgusted by them. Go to Mar-a-Lago, see if there's any people who look like you. I'm talking to you in the audience."

"I don't hate Donald. I hate you (the audience) for voting for him, for not having intelligence."

I thought that was an interesting — even brave — statement for Stern to make considering the fact that I assumed that a large percentage of his audience was very likely comprised of Trump supporters. In a way I previously believed I would never say about a remark by Howard Stern, I can see his point.

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Donald Trump hasn't changed and he will never change. He remains what he was when Stern and Letterman had him on their shows, an obnoxious phony baloney masquerading as the living embodiment of American wealth; a silly joker who never seemed to catch on that people were laughing at him. It was the same role he played on his dopey television series.

So then, what is the use of hating a man so pathetically needy and detached from reality as Donald Trump? You can hate what he has done to this country. I do. But, if hatred is an inescapable emotion as people die around us — and I don't recommend it — channel it towards Mike Pompeo, William Barr, Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell, the ones who know what Trump is and still let him wreak his havoc on the nation they pretend to love.

Mr. McConnell, the second most noxious person in Washington, thinks Barack Obama is "classless." Well, none of us have any illusions about what class you are always genuflecting to, Mr. McConnell. Ironically, our Senate majority leader was defending the most congenitally classless person ever to occupy the Oval Office; living proof that class is something that money just can't buy.

That wouldn't matter much to Mitch, a career lackey for moneyed interests while the state he hails from suffers from one of the worst poverty rates in the country (Kentucky ranks 47th).

McConnell played indignant in an online interview with Lara Trump, wife of Eric ("The chips are starting to crumble"), the dimmer of the two low-wattage lights in the old man's immediate orbit. Ms. Trump, is a "campaign advisor" for her father-in-law and she exhibits the same Stepford Wife facade that seems to be a requisite for most of the women on Fox News. It is really just another convenient way for the Trump mob to milk more money out of the Republican National Committee, but my concern on that point is minimal.

Of course we all know what really galled McConnell about President Obama. Many of the denizens of the "cotton field and cavaliers" world that he calls home might give occasional lip service to ideals like racial equality, but the notion evidently still gives Mitch's julep a sour tang. Our impeached president, after all, thinks there were "good people" in the white supremacists mob in Charlottesville. And the state of Georgia was mighty hesitant to charge two armed morons after they stalked and murdered a 25-year-old black man who was jogging through a Brunswick neighborhood.

(I urge anyone who wants to know how dangerous it is for African Americans to live in this country to read Ta-Nehisi Coates' cautionary plea to his son, "Between the World and Me.")

After being rebuked by both Democrats and Republicans, McConnell later offered an apology of sorts. That's the problem with being a dyed-in-the-wool racist — sometimes the roots need retouching.

— Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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