May 19, 2016

I wondered why Megyn Kelly didn't probe into what Trump saw in "Citizen Kane" and "All Quiet on the Western Front."

She asked what was his favorite movie and his favorite book and never stopped to ask why. I wanted to know more. A reader sent me this, footage from an Errol Morris project that became a short at the 2002 Oscars. Various celebrities talked about film. Trump's material didn't make the final cut, but he talks quite a bit about "Citizen Kane":



He says a rich man can be unhappy — even more unhappy than his wife — because wealth can distance you and insulate you from other people. He also says the right word matters — that "Kane" wouldn't be the same without that word "rosebud." He does not take what I hear as a prod to talk about the oft-discussed sexual connotation of "rosebud."

Here's a 2002 New Yorker article about the Errol Morris project, with this about Trump:

On camera, Walter Cronkite was telling Morris about “The Best Years of Our Lives.”... Donald Trump was waiting, with mounting impatience, in the wings. Mikhail Gorbachev and entourage were trudging up the stairs. And Iggy Pop was in the greenroom.

When Cronkite was finished, Morris thanked him...  “I'd like to try to sneak you in before Gorbachev,” he said to Trump. “This is insane, by the way.”

Then Gorbachev strode into the studio, with two bodyguards and his regular translator, Pavel Palazhchenko. Gorbachev and Trump shook hands, and Gorbachev said something to Trump in Russian. “You're not changing,” Palazhchenko translated.

You're not changing,” Trump replied, almost embracing Gorbachev, before waving him forward: “You go first, Mikhail.”
Gorbachev talked about "Gone with the Wind" — which he called "the people's drama." Morris prompted him to talk about "Dr. Strangelove." Gorbachev hadn't seen it, but he knew enough to say something wary about nuclear war.

As for "All Quiet on the Western Front." I've seen some Kelly watchers mocking Trump on the assumption that — since he also said he didn't have time these days to read whole books — he just dredged up a title he remember from his school days. Maybe he's that shallow, but we're shallow if we don't take the trouble to remember what is in that book and the significance of that material to anyone who would purport to have what it takes to serve as Commander in Chief.

You can read the summary of the book at Wikipedia here, but let me quote a 1986 essay by Mordecai Richler titled "1944: The Year I Learned to Love a German":
But what I did know is that, hating Germans with a passion, I had read only 20, maybe 30, pages before the author had seduced me into identifying with my enemy, 19-year-old Paul Baumer, thrust into the bloody trenches of World War I with his schoolmates: Muller, Kemmerich and the reluctant Joseph Behm, one of the first to fall. As if that weren't sufficiently unsettling in itself, the author, having won my love for Paul, my enormous concern for his survival, then betrayed me in the last dreadful paragraphs of his book:
''He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front.

''He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.''
... Since ''All Quiet on the Western Front'' once meant so much to me, I picked it up again with a certain anxiety.... The novel also has its poignant moments, both in the trenches and when Paul Baumer goes home on leave, an old man of 19, only to find insufferably pompous schoolmasters still recruiting the young with mindless prattle about the fatherland and the glory of battle. Strong characters are deftly sketched. Himmelstoss, the postman who becomes a crazed drillmaster. Tjaden, the peasant soldier. Kantorek, the schoolmaster. On the front line the enemy is never the Frogs or the Limeys, but the insanity of the war itself. It is the war, in fact, and not even Paul Baumer, that is the novel's true protagonist. In a brief introduction to the novel Remarque wrote: ''This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war.''

74 comments:

Quaestor said...

Kelly is still hunting Trump's scalp. She didn't follow up the "what's your favorite..." question because she perceived no avenue to an embarrassing quote. In fact the entire reason she asked was to pad the time slot.

Horseball said...

Put down "All Quiet on the Western Front" and pick up "In Stahlgewittern" by Ernst J√ľnger

Howard said...

Trump does everything with equanimity, which is one of the main reasons people think he is presidential.

No one can beat him now. A juggernaut.

Nonapod said...

A cynic might say he carefully workshopped those responses months ago like a Real Politician would. But Trump proudly isn't a Real Politician. Either way, those choices seem interesting. Citizen Kane and AQotWF are both brutally honest, human stories. They're also both tragedies. Does that indicate an air of fatalism in Trump?

Mike Sylwester said...

What's Megyn Kelly's favorite book?

Bob Boyd said...

"Get yourself a different woman."

I would give the same advice to the Democrats.

Thorby said...

What an amazing exposition. On the one hand, Trump is displaying incredible sensitivity about the issue of what is meaningful in life. On the other hand, when it comes to relationships Trump has turned the usual platitude on its head. He is being brutally honest about his perspective on life. Essentially, he is saying "It's not me, it's you" to Ivana Trump. Wow. I hope Melania Trump, and the country, have taken notes.

Birkel said...

Is "rosebud" an illusion to anatomy? If so, how can we know which part it means? Are there not two candidates?

Dan Hossley said...

She's probably never seen the movie or read the book so she was at a loss to come back with a smarmy quip.

John Kindley said...

What Horseball said about Ernst Juenger and "Storm of Steel." But one should also realize that Juenger wrote the first edition of this, his first and still most famous work, when he was only in his mid-20's, having been awarded Prussia's highest military honor for his service as a German stormtrooper in WWI. He lived to be 102, and wrote many other works, including what in my view is his magnum opus, Eumeswil, which complete the picture of life painted in Storm of Steel.

Mike Sylwester said...

I read books all the time, but I would be puzzled if someone asked me what's my favorite book.

There was one book, however, that I read twice in a row. As soon as I finished reading Thomas Costain's history book The Last Plantagenets, I immediately read it a second time -- all 424 pages -- carefully, not speed-reading. I don't remember doing that with any other book in my life.

So, I suppose that is my "favorite" book. However, it really was just a book that fit perfectly into my other reading at that time. I was reading through all Shakespeare's English-history plays, and Costain's book told the related history superbly.

I doubt that Donald Trump reads books. He is too hyperactive.

However, I think it's plausible that he was assigned to read All Quiet on the Western Front while he attended military school and that the book really impressed him. The book fit with his personal circumstances at that time, when he was attending military school. He would not be able to bear to read even the first five pages now.

By the way, the Amazon readers of Costain's book awarded it 73% five stars and 15% four stars.

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Plantagenets-Thomas-B-Costain/dp/1568493738

traditionalguy said...

Trump is sharing his soul with us. That is why people identify with him and love him.

Trump is just another stubborn Scotsman trying to survive life in the big city and still be good to people. Melania understands him. I wonder what will she give him on his 70th birthday coming up in 3 weeks...just companionship.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Quaestor

If she did her research, she may have seen the clip where he discussed the movie in an insightful manner and the last thing she wanted to do was give him an opening to display that he has discernment and that he realizes that making money isn't all there is in life.



Robert Cook said...

"Is 'rosebud' an illusion to anatomy? If so, how can we know which part it means?"

In CITIZEN KANE, it is the name on Kane's childhood snow sled. His whisper of the word just before expiring indicates his sorrow at the loss of the pure joy and play of innocent childhood with his family.

However, the fictional Kane was modeled on the real-life newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. According to Gore Vidal, "rosebud" was Hearst's pet name for his mistress' (actress Marion Davies) clitoris. The film as a whole displeased Hearst, and this detail, if true, must surely have been the injury added to insult.

William said...

I always thought that Citizen Kane was more descriptive of Orson Welles' life than that of W.R. Hearst's. Still, there are a great many uncanny parallels between Citizen Kane and Donald Trump. Is power something rich men covet because it's more gratifying and easier to buy than enduring love?......I know the sexual connotation of rosebud. Rosebuds, so understood, are a commodity and as such are available on the open market. Both in quantity and quality a wealthy man has ready access to rosebuds. . Sadly, rosebuds are a perishable commodity and it is not cost efficient to invest your whole fortune in a single rosebud. Hence Donald Trump's advice to find another woman. It's certainly advice that he took........Donald Trump is not Gatsby, nor was meant to be. He's not one to pine for the green light at the end of the dock. He's more one to speed through the red light at the cross roads.

traditionalguy said...

I liked the one yesterday about a nice good Samaritan that stopped to help Trump's Limo with a flat tire. Trump asked what he could do to show his appreciation for the risk taken to help a stranger in trouble beside the road. And the man said just send my wife flowers and gave Trump his address.

Two weeks later they received a delivery of flowers and a note from Trump that he had paid off their mortgage for them.

That shows real Christian faith. It gives to others. Hoax Christians just pretend with all the words. Remember Prophet Cruz. It turned out he did not tithe or even give anything at all.

Guildofcannonballs said...

A strong enough reflection, ubiquitous in today's TV's unpowered, appropriates mirrorization sufficiently power is not in fact unneeded but seen as hindrance.

With thy own eyes.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Look I'm just gonna say this one time, for now:

Don't make me read Buckley's dictionary to you.

It's small.

Sure sure.

The potency is the thing.

You can buy it from Althouse Amazon if you so desire.

It's entitled:

THE LEXICON

A cornucopia of wonderful words for the inquisitive word lover

William F. Buckley Jr.

Introduction by Jesse Sheidlower
Illustrations by Arnold Roth

Guildofcannonballs said...

Am I leading others, or myself too, away from Jesus?

Why would I do that?

Isn't my self-hatred warranted?

Of course not.

But I understand, after duress, these truths are everything but self-evident.

That is why I submit to donating to Althouse via the damn subcribtion monthly thingy. I am not joking.

Simply this has deriven from Death Cab for Cuties anti-Catholic sadness more empty than any hollowness Alice in Chains conceived. What beauty have they bereft mine self?

"I Will Follow You Into The Dark"

Love of mine, some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark
No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No's on their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me,
"Son, fear is the heart of love."
So I never went back

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No's on their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It's nothing to cry about
'Cause we'll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No's on their vacancy signs
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark

Guildofcannonballs said...

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/05/15/lady-gaga-defends-her-catholic-faith-after-posting-this-photo-to-instagram/


Okay I'm out.

Hope you done did you some damn learnin' fool.

cubanbob said...

So Trumpy isn't quite the cartoon character he is portrayed to be (and often by his own design). Some heads will explode. I'm not sure Kelley who resides in her own bubble is willing to accept that Trump isn't always in character.

buwaya said...

I second that - get Junger "Storm of Steel" is the English translation.
The common one is this - Penguin edition translated by Hoffman

http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Steel-Penguin-Classics-Deluxe/dp/0142437905/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463677667&sr=1-1&keywords=ernst+junger

There's a new edition coming out that I just saw while checking -
http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Steel-Penguin-Classics-Deluxe/dp/0143108255/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463677667&sr=1-6&keywords=ernst+junger

There is no Kindle edition unfortunately.

Guildofcannonballs said...

ORSON WELLES
THE ROAD TO XANADU

is what I am looking at now.

He has those eyes on the cover of a villian.

Simon Callow wrote it.

I always thought it was Simon Cowell.

Fuck me agian. Damnit. Dam,ni damnit sonofabeach.

Dude they have a picture of him, Mr. Callow, on the f'ing back of the paperback. And I thought it was Simon Cowell the Gestalt (whole) time.

Oh boy.

Oy boy oh boy ohy boy.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...
"Is 'rosebud' an illusion to anatomy? If so, how can we know which part it means?"

In CITIZEN KANE, it is the name on Kane's childhood snow sled. His whisper of the word just before expiring indicates his sorrow at the loss of the pure joy and play of innocent childhood with his family.


Oh Robert Cook, spoiler alert, man! Come on!

Guildofcannonballs said...

HEY I AIN'T RAXIAST NO MORE!!!

I mixed up Simon Cowell and Simon Callow so they both white and I AIN'T NO DAMNED RAXIST NO MORE.

HA.

I ain't got me no racism no more.

Thank you Mr. author Callow.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Mike Sylwester said...However, I think it's plausible that he was assigned to read All Quiet on the Western Front while he attended military school and that the book really impressed him. The book fit with his personal circumstances at that time, when he was attending military school. He would not be able to bear to read even the first five pages now.

Yep, I thought "military school assignment that made a lasting impression" too--it's surprising more people didn't make that connection.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Page 244:

things. But he kept that force contained and moving in a direction, and there was nothing like that.'


Simon Callow

Sebastian said...

Indirectly, it shows why Trump is impervious to the usual Prog BS that gets thrown at GOP candidates. For better and worse, he is entirely his own man.

Jack Wayne said...

I believe that Althouse is approaching a "how Trump won me" moment rather than the usual opposite post of "how X lost me".

MadisonMan said...

In CITIZEN KANE, it is the name on Kane's childhood snow sled. His whisper of the word just before expiring indicates his sorrow at the loss of the pure joy and play of innocent childhood with his family.

Oh Robert Cook, spoiler alert, man! Come on!

Tell it to Charles Schulz.

bagoh20 said...

Did we watch the same clip?

It was lame prattle, and that's from someone who knows, as I rarely rises above it myself. His description of the movie was about the level of a 7th grader doing a bad book report the night before it's due. The striking thing was how Trump clearly thinks wealth is the most important thing in life. He describes Kane's fall as personal and therefore not really substantial since he still had his wealth. I don't think most of us see it that way, I hope.

Todd Galle said...

As for a WW1 remembrance, i would recommend H. McBride's "A Rifleman Went to War".

Freeman Hunt said...

What if a book from school really were someone's favorite book? So what? 1984 isn't my favorite book, but I did love it, reading it over an intense two days in high school. What if it were my favorite book?

I don't think having a favorite book from school makes someone shallow.

David said...

"Is "rosebud" an illusion to anatomy? If so, how can we know which part it means? Are there not two candidates?"

Three, for a female.

bagoh20 said...

I like the movie for how it's made: the look, the acting, the directing, the sets, but the story arc is pretty cliche'd.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The striking thing was how Trump clearly thinks wealth is the most important thing in life. He describes Kane's fall as personal and therefore not really substantial since he still had his wealth. I don't think most of us see it that way, I hope.

@ Bagoh20

Interesting that you took Trumps description of the movie that way. I had a completely different take on it. Completely the opposite in fact.

That the accumulation of wealth was a big part of Citizen Kane's (CK's) purpose in life and Trump noted that the accumulation didn't bring him happiness. Trump indicated that wealth can even isolate you from other people. He pointed out how as the couple became more and more wealthy they became further and further apart as symbolized by the ever lengthening table.

It seemed to me that Trump recognized that money wasn't everything...or to be trite...money can't buy happiness.

The fall of CK was tragic because he had everything he thought he wanted except that which cannot be bought which was what he really wished for and needed

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't think having a favorite book from school makes someone shallow.

Me either Freeman. A good education will (or should) expose you to all sorts of literature that you might not read if left to your own devices. Reading and then discussing the book with others to get insight on the author's intent and explore the imagery is one of the best things an educator can do for his/her students.

There are many books that I would not have pick up if it were not for classroom assignments. Those then led me to read more books, on my own,that I would not have previously chosen.

traditionalguy said...

World War I screamed out one big message. War is a colossal mistake. But no one wanted quit doing it because it was so much fun for the leaders safe behind the lines and the industrialists producing flat out.

Then Nuclear Fission deliverable by both sides stopped it cold. The leaders and the industrialists lives were suddenly on the line too.

Limited war became the best the leaders and the industrialists would risk. Korea, Vietnam Nam, War with no winning allowed is acceptible.

Trump says no. He says Afghanistan was a big zero just like WWI. But he refuses to import the Muslims that agree to victory over us with jihad conquest for moon gods.

jr565 said...

In regards to rosebud being sexual are we sure it refers to a clitoris and not say a rosebud? Namely, an anal prolapse? Don't look it up, it's really gross.

jr565 said...

(Cont) ok here it is, but be warned, it's really gross: http://jezebel.com/heres-the-dangerous-and-grotesque-anal-sex-trend-you-ve-1593038946

Dust Bunny Queen said...

SPOILER ALERT FOR CITIZEN KANE

Rosebud is a geographic area in South Dakota and also the name of a tribe of Souix.

Kane's mythological childhood began in poverty in Colorado.

In 1871, after a gold mine was discovered on her property, Kane's mother Mary Kane sends Charles away to live with Thatcher so that he would be properly educated. The young Kane plays happily with a sled in the snow at his parents' boarding-house and protests being sent to live with Thatcher.

Meh. Colorado South Dakota...whatever fly over country. Or...it could just a sled representing the happiest time of his life before he was wealthy.

Sent away to boarding school. Sorta like Trump sent away to military school to drum some discipline into him? Mmmmm? I wonder what Trump's rosebud is.

Don't over think things :-)

Mike Sylwester said...

What's Hillary Clinton's favorite book?

bagoh20 said...

DBQ, what you are crediting to Trump is just him reciting what the plot of the movie was. It wasn't necessarily his view. Listen to what Trump says that does suggest his own view: "There was a great rise in Citizen Kane, and there was a modest fall. The fall wasn't a financial fall. There was a personal fall, BUT was a fall nevertheless."

He clearly is making the case that a financial fall is really bad, but a personal fall that leaves you lonely and empty inside longing to be a child again is, well, "a modest fall".

But do you really need any obscure additional clues like this to show that Trump is pretty much consumed by wealth, what it does, what it means, and how it defines him? I doubt he would even argue the point. It's kind of his thing. What do you think he would want a stranger to know about him first? What was he saying a lot when he first announced, despite it being 100% known already? "I'm really rich."

Pointing this out obviously means I have uncontrolled rage and hate for the man, despite the fact that I'll likely vote for him. What it does tell me is that I'm very different from him and probably don't share his core values.

Comanche Voter said...

I've read several of Remarque's books more than once. All Quiet on The Western Front is one that I've read at least three times.

The book's title in German (well I could also follow Obama and say in "Austrian") is "Im Westen Nichts Neues". Literally translated that reads "Nothing New In The West". Paul's death meant nothing in the greater scheme of things.

Even though I'd read the book several times, it's not even my favorite Remarque novel (he also wrote or at least worked on a number of screen plays). But there's nothing wrong with it being one of Trump's favorite books.

As for Trump being too busy to read; note that George Bush and Karl Rove--too fairly hyperactive individuals would and did have reading contests. They supposedly were able to polish off several hundred books a year. Now I don't know about several hundred--but I read and finish two or three a week, and usually have five or six going at any one time.



So I would think that a hyperactive guy might actually read quite a bit

Unknown said...

Thank you professor. I really enjoyed that.

Mike Sylwester said...

I doubt that Donald Trump could sit through a two-hour movie like Citizen Kane any more than he could read a book. He is too hyper-active.

His entertainment is going to celebrity events, where he can shmooze with other celebrities. He might go to a concert if he expects to meet with the star performer personally after the concert.

His enjoyment of art is mostly in its social environment. He does not enjoy any solitary activities.

For sure, he read All Quiet on the Western Front and watched Citizen Kane many decades ago -- if at all.

Ken B said...

A shout out to Mike Sylwester. Costain was from my home town, Guelph, Canada. Nice to see him remembered.
And on a WWI note, John McCrae who wrote In Flanders Fields was from Guelph too.

Szoszolo said...

traditionalguy, I'm solidly in the pro-Trump camp, but according to Snopes.com, that story's not true.

Mike said...

I'm still waiting for Hillary to be quizzed about her truly voracious reading appetite. She claims to read everything by 20 authors, many of them who write long-running series. 6 favorite poets. She cites a dozen+ other titles as noteworthy, and expresses an affinity for cooking, decorating, diet and gardening books because they are useful time fillers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/books/review/hillary-rodham-clinton-by-the-book.html

buwaya said...

"The book's title in German (well I could also follow Obama and say in "Austrian") is "Im Westen Nichts Neues"."

Interesting how this statement works. In European military practice this - basically "Nothing New to Report" - was the formula upon routine relief of the officer or unit in charge. This seems to have been picked up by the military communique style and made it into newspaper reporting.
But it also has another, quite different connotation.
In Spanish Army practice the term was "Sin Novedad".
This became the almost stereotyped line with which the commander of a garrison laconically greeted his relief after an arduous siege - the Spanish Army had great experience of arduous sieges of isolated posts, left to the mercy of the enemy through gross incompetence by higher authority. It was already a cliche when Colonel Moscardo used it to greet General Franco upon the relief of the Alcazar of Toledo. "Sin Novedad en el Alcazar"
This was not unique to the Spanish Army I believe.

buwaya said...

Trump can hire people to read 200 books a year and explain to him what he needs to know out of them.

Yancey Ward said...

I would bet Kelly has neither read the book or seen the movie, and couldn't think of any direct questions to ask about either of them.

traditionalguy said...

To all the sure Trump is fake and does not read books crowd, what about his best selling books. Does he ever read them?

His latest book is narrated by Donald on Audible. And he reads it as if he understands it? How can that be? Maybe there are two Trumps? A real and intelligent man and the fake man that imitates one that you are certain is all that there can be.

Trump has become the War On Cynicism.

M Jordan said...

Trump should've said, concerning his favorite book, "I like them all."

John said...

but I read and finish two or three a week, and usually have five or six going at any one time.


thanks for that, Commanche Voter. I thought I was alone in my habits. I've been reading 2-3 books a week for 50-55 years now and also have 4, usually, going at any one time. Currently reading Path Between the Seas (Tablet) Seveneves (Phone) Crash of '79 paper in my office crapper and Henry Ford's My Life and Work (Audio book free from Librivox.org in the car and to put me to sleep)

I don't know why people say Trump doesn't have time to read. I work 50-60 hours a week and have never had trouble finding time to read an hour or two every day. I don't watch TV hardly at all though.

Hmmmm.... which is better for my brain? Keeping up with the Kardashians or David McCulloch? Law and Order or Henry Ford? American Idol or John LeCarre?


That doesn't mean that Trump has my reading habits, just that he has time for them if he did.

John Henry

Saint Croix said...

Thanks for that clip, AA. Really amazing commentary, in my opinion. I'm amazed because it's so honest. He sees himself in the character and the film makes him reflect on his own life. He's vulnerable in this clip. No bluster, no braggadocio, no pomposity. He's revealing himself without fear. Good stuff.

William said...

He was a student of German ancestry at a military school. There probably weren't a lot of books on the reading list that presented German soldiers in a humane or affirmative way.

Saint Croix said...

"In real life I do believe wealth isolates you from other people. It's a protective mechanism. You have your guard up, much more so than you would do if you didn't have wealth."

Errol Morris is a terrific journalist. Part of the power of that scene is how Morris cuts it, and the music he uses, and the images he chooses. I imagine he got a lot of discussion from Trump. But he pulled out some really revealing quotes.

I hope Donald Trump gets over his fears.

William said...

Gather your rosebuds while ye may. It's impossible to invest in rosebud futures. You never know what were the happiest days of your life until they're five years or so in the past.......Trump seems to have struck a reasonably shrewd bargain with life and its hedonistic possibilities. If I had a few billion dollars, I would go the Charley Sheen route and hole up in a luxury hotel with rotating shifts of porn stars and a mountain of cocaine, but apparently this is detrimental to your health. Plus you miss out on all the fun of a family life.......There's seems to be a certain amount of frailty and insecurity in his quest for a perfect life, but he succeeded better than most people.

Leigh said...

@Bob Boyd was on fire this morning! And I second @Dust Bunny Queen and Freeman Hunt.

Yes, AA, thanks for that clip. Trump's charisma was so thick -- literally leaping off the screen. Definitely something I've never seen.

Saint Croix said...

Yes, AA, thanks for that clip. Trump's charisma was so thick -- literally leaping off the screen. Definitely something I've never seen.

Weird that he feels the need to put up a facade.

If I can guess his campaign strategy?

Go big in the primary, like a professional wrestler, and exaggerate how scary you are. This appeals to the people who like professional wrestling, conflict, excitement. It appeals to the childish and emotional side of Republicans and low information voters. (I don't even think he planned this out. How could you plan this out? I think he discovered it along the way). I doubt he realized that people would develop a strong emotional attachment to him. Or that a sizable number of Republicans would have a quite hostile reaction to him. Maybe he thought it could work, but he had to be at least a bit surprised that it worked and worked so well. I wouldn't blame him for thinking (like Obama!), "gee, that was easy."

It's an emotional campaign. He ran, and ran hard, on emotions. Many of the emotions he picked were negative (fear, hatred, and anger), and demonizing bad guys. And he went too far in a few places. Saying he would kill the relatives of terrorists (mistake), saying he would order the military to violate the laws (mistake), suggesting that we should torture our enemies (mistake). If you're running as a professional wrestler, you want to be the good guy, not the bad guy.

Now, in the general, we will start to see a shift in his emotional campaign. We will see more and more positive emotions. Look at Trump, he loves people! He's generous! He's kind! This is designed to appeal to women. He ran in the primary on a campaign to win the hearts of men. And now he will try to expand that to win the hearts of women. He raised up a lot of negative emotions in the primary--fear, anger, and hate--to rouse up men and get them voting for a strong leader. Now he will show us a softer side--love, compassion, kindness--to manipulate women into voting for him.

The secret to understanding Donald Trump's successful campaign is that he is a master of emotional manipulation. Democrats have been doing this shit for a long time. Think of Bill Clinton. "I feel your pain." Reagan was really good at it, too, but he was far more low key and serious than Donald Trump. Trump's gamble, and it was a very successful gamble, is that an emotional campaign was the key to winning the White House, and so he would focus his whole strategy on emotions, not on rationality. While all the other Republicans were thinking of ideas and ideology, Donald Trump had mapped out an emotional campaign for the White House.

sdharms said...

That video probably demonstrates best the shallowness of DT. His last comment, "pick yourself a different woman" demonstrates that he thinks the locus of his "happiness" is external. That video is scary since he could be the next pres. He is contemptible.

Saint Croix said...

Hillary Clinton is really, really bad at emotional manipulation. She knows she needs to manipulate the emotions of people, like her husband did. But that's not her skill set. She's like most of the Republicans who ran against Donald Trump--big on policy proposals, not so good on emotional manipulation.

What Donald Trump needs to think about is that people's emotions can turn, and quite harshly, if they feel they have been manipulated or used. What makes me feel a lot better in this regard is that Bill Clinton's past is littered with people who are angry with him, who feel used and lied to. Donald Trump, on the other hand, does not have that. Even his ex-wives say nice things about him. I have seen or heard no bimbo eruptions. Where are the bimbo eruptions?

If I were advising Donald Trump, as he shifts his emotional campaign and tries to win the hearts and minds of more people, it would be a very wise idea to make a more serious show of his Christian faith. Go to church regularly. Participate in Bible study. (The latter is for your own interest and fun. If you can learn from Orson Welles, you can learn from Jesus Christ!) You'd be amazed how many tough guys are regular church-goers. I saw a guy just the other day with giant tats down both his arms, with Christian messages on them. I heard about a guy who had a pro-life tattoo on his forehead. You can be Christian and "scary tough," but if you're Christian it keeps you from veering over into evil, into the bad wrestler. You don't want to be bad wrestler, Donnie. People don't like that, and vote against it!

What's so confounding about Donald Trump is that his ideas for the White House--policy proposals, ideas about government, possible solutions--are very, very bad. Let's put it this way: his idea for a great wall on our Mexican border is his best idea. And that's a shitty idea. (Most illegal immigrants are visa overstays, not border runaways). His ideas on trade are bad. His ideas on free speech are idiotic and dangerous. All his thought and all his campaign have been in regard to emotional manipulation. He's done little or no idea prep work. And, unlike Bill Clinton, he is not married to a policy wonk who will help him.

It's very, very important that Donald Trump surrounds himself with smart Republicans who can govern wisely. And these may be no-name Republicans. But I will insist (as a Republican!) that Republican ideas are way better than Democrat ideas. And in particular the idea that "strong man in the government will solve all our problems" is a horrible idea.

Donald Trump is a master of emotional manipulation. But he is also himself a deeply emotional man. Which you have to be to manipulate people's emotions! I hope he's aware of how emotional he is, and how dangerous emotions can be. I hope Donald Trump is aware of his emotional manipulation and aware of his own weaknesses. For instance, his Cinco de Mayo rant was a spiteful emotional reaction to Marco Rubio's rejection of the vice-presidency.

Marco Rubio did not have an emotional map for the White House, and so you beat him. But he would be a way better president than you. And you and he both know it! That's why you're so angry at him.

It was genius to run an emotional campaign for the White House, not an intellectual campaign. But in the process you have alienated and annoyed countless Republicans, and millions of non-Republicans. And if you believe your own shit (Barack Obama was famous for believing his own shit), you will be a bad president indeed.

Robert Cook said...

"...note that George Bush and Karl Rove--too fairly hyperactive individuals would and did have reading contests. They supposedly were able to polish off several hundred books a year."

"Supposedly" is the operative word here. "Highly dubious" is the operative way to interpret the claim.

Nichevo said...

Bob, you have a problem processing information that conflicts with what you believe, or think you know. Like us learning that IRL you are fun and witty and kind. Cognitive dissonance, we get it. Just look at it like "Hitler loved dogs." Bush being a reader? So what? It's okay, you can still hate him.

Robert Cook said...

It's all PR, intended to validate Bush's intellectual bona fides, as I said above. Bush may read, but that he was engaged in "reading contests" with Rove, and that they they knocked off "hundreds of books" a year beggars belief. It's just as phony as the stunt when Bush emerged onto the aircraft carrier garbed as a fighter pilot shortly after we illegally invaded Iraq, to announce "mission accomplished." While Bush flew fighter planes for a while in Texas while training as a pilot, (without completing his training), he never actually was in combat.

Face it, people, Bush is simply not the genius polymath, daring man of action, and overall superhero you so desperately want him to be.

Nichevo said...

Bit of a strawman, Bob, or is it an excluded middle? He may not be Dr Manhattan, but neither is he the troglodyte you portray him as. You see Bush and reflect on your avatar. That looks more like you than him.

Robert Cook said...

I didn't say he was a troglodyte. I said I don't believe he reads "hundreds of books a year." Who's fighting the strawman?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That video probably demonstrates best the shallowness of DT. His last comment, "pick yourself a different woman" demonstrates that he thinks the locus of his "happiness" is external.

Interesting again that you take it this way and I have a completely opposite take on that statement. I also thought it to be revealing.....but perhaps it is revealing more about OURSELVES than it is Trump.

Here is my take on it. As a woman, I am not offended. In fact I find Trump's statement "get different woman" to be imminently practical and very sane advice. Practical, pragmatic and sane. Just what I want in a President.

Kane at the end of the movie basically fell apart when his wife left him. He had spend his entire life accumulating things and had never been able to be happy as he was when he was a young, poor and powerless man. The accumulation of things was one driving force in his life and to lose things, including his wife was devastating.

So. Trump's advice is instead of tearing yourself apart, destroying your life's work, descending into the "pit of despair" over the loss of a woman, (or loss of anything else)......pick another woman. Get back to work. Get back in the game. Life goes on after every defeat.

Take Cher's advice in Moonstruck

Robert Cook said...

Perhaps the better advice would be to reexamine your priorities and change them so that you can be happy with the life you have, or change your life to one that would allow you to find happiness.

"Getting yourself another woman" won't work if the neurotic drive (that has failed to lead you to happiness) is not eliminated (or at least subdued).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That is true Robert.

Priorities are important and to psychoanalyze Kane, he was a really effed up personality who tried to substitute things for happiness. That is the whole POINT of the movie and why it is so powerful. Trump even made a remark to the effect of wealth not necessarily providing happiness and isolating you from other people. That seemed to me to be a very self aware comment.

Still, the advice to not destroy yourself over a loss and if needed replace the loss is sound advice. As a person who went through a very ugly divorce over 20 years ago, I could have dwelt on how bad everything was, blamed men in general, steeped myself in hatred, destroyed myself like Citizen Kane. Instead you soldier on. Let it go. And as a consequence I have been happily married now and about to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.

I'm not suggesting that people are interchangeable as household items would be. But the advice that if your happiness or UN-happiness is represented by a person or the need to be around a person (friends, spouse etc) the solution might be to find another person. Or choose a different woman (man). If your happy/unhappy situation is linked to a job,

reexamine your priorities and change them so that you can be happy with the life you have, or change your life to one that would allow you to find happiness.

This is what Citizen Kane was unable to do because he couldn't figure out what actually made him happy or what he was lacking in his life, until he was on his death bed.

You also have to remember that the priorities that you chose are not the same as those that someone else might pick. Whether you like them or not or whether those priorities would make you happy or not, they may work for someone else. Who are you to judge?

As I said, what we see in Trump or in a movie, probably tells us more about OURSELVES than what is the reality of Trump or the movie maker's intentions. It is called projection :-) I'm self aware enough to recognize this and admit it.

Jonathan Graehl said...

You think Citizen Kane is cliche and Trump is not so smart? You, then, must be a formidable poet and scholar.

That "he had a fall ... not a financial fall, but a fall nonetheless" point is correct, though. Loss of wealth is very much on Trump's mind. As I guess it always is when you have more. Starting over from scratch is a bigger deal then.

Grant also that the best film today far exceeds the early greats. And why not? Shoulders of giants.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Did Bush read (really read) hundreds of books in one year? I doubt it. Did anyone claim he did? I doubt it.

If someone who doesn't read much any more, tell me what they do instead. In case of Obama: watches Sportscenter, he says. WTF.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Saint Croix: interesting point about prideful, emotional leaders (Obama). I also hope President Trump is properly humble. We see evidence he is: he employs and listens to experts. But only if he can make sure that they actually *are* experts (compare to the Clinton hangers-on).