|Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?|
Now that a white supremacist has just been made the next president’s closest White House adviser, and the president-elect has called conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars to thank him and his followers for their part in his election victory, we have reasonable confirmation that we are indeed in a fever-dream America. Tom Engelhardt
These days I often find myself wishing that Norman Mailer were still alive to turn this fecal moment of America's democratic saga into art.
Mailer's The Armies of the Night and Miami and the Siege of Chicago both dating from the legendary year of 1968 were an important help in making some sense of a period that had begun with the mysterious assassination of JFK and carried us through the civil rights battles and martyrdom of Martin Luther King, all accompanied by the obscenity of the Vietnam war... a period whose divisions and bitterness have as yet to heal.
It was a great story and Mailer told it well.
Intuition tells me we are about to enter a similar period.
We are faced with the immovable fact that someone so surreally "un-presidential" as Donald Trump has captured the White House, thus becoming the most powerful man in the world overnight ... And that he has achieved all this mostly by evoking the sordid, family demons inhabiting the septic tank of white America's psyche.
Seeing something so improbable I'm tempted to believe that the Donald must have made a iuuge, wonderful, "deal" with none other than Old Scratch himself.
Living the sickening horror that Trump's mysterious ascension and triumph produces, I wonder if someone so reality grounded as Mailer could have handled anything this weird. Certainly analyzing paranormal phenomena was never part of his skill set.
In fact, analyzing my own shocked and sickened feelings and searching the corners of my subconscious, I discovered to my amused horror, that the only living author that might have the vocabulary to portray Trump's uncanny rise in the face of all common sense and decency, is J.K. Rowling and she doesn't write about politics, she writes about witchcraft.
A great villain makes for a great story and we are now part of this villain's story
Nobody knows better than Ms. Rowling that the heart of a thrilling yarn is a good villain, at that she's tops. Remember it was J.K. Rowling that created Lord Voldemort, who is the closest thing to Donald Trump I've ever seen.
See how she analyzed her creation, the "Dark Lord", AKA "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" in a BBC interview:
Rowling described Voldemort as a self-hating bully: "I think it is often the case that the biggest bullies take what they know to be their own defects, as they see it, and they put them right on someone else and then they try and destroy the other and that's what Voldemort does." WikipediaNow if that doesn't describe the @realDonaldTrump to a tee...
So the Good News is that Trump is a flawlessly perfect villain; and perfect villains... like perfect heroes, are of enormous value in great stories, and remember, great stories are the philosopher's stone of political action.
Think back on how many people were moved to vote back in 2008 just by reading "Dreams of My Father", but the problem was that after voting people simply expected their "hero" to take care of everything while they went about their business... that way, since the people didn't stay mobilized, "Hope" and "Change" turned out to be little more than words in the wind.
A perfect villain will keep the people mobilized.
The answer is one Harry Potter isn't going to get it. To change things there must be an army of "Harry Potters". An army teeming with all those citizens of America and the world who can't face sitting passively by watching President Trump crush one by one all their hopes and dream of freedom and justice. They, all the engaged and committed people must be the Harry Potters of our times, the ones who keep freedom alive.
To paraphrase a musty old slogan from the 60s (irony alert) "Let a million Harry Potters bloom"! DS