Curtain Raiser

Egomaniacs Hate Laughter, Colltalers

If there’s one thing dictators-to-be hate more than losing is humor. That was on display again the past week: the U.S. president hadn’t even finished the first of the many lies of his address to the United Nations’ General Assembly, when it erupted in laughter.
It was a moment for every American to cringe of shame, but it was also quite revealing. It expressed the contempt the world reserves to Donald Trump, and why sometimes to giggle out loud is such a powerful antidote to a blatant, self-aggrandizing lie.
As it’s been said, what it’s actually surprising (or rather obvious) is why it doesn’t happen more often. Instead of pseudo-serious impartiality, the media should treat the president’s belligerent half-trues for what they mostly are: (dangerous and unfunny) jokes.
Comedians knew it all along. In 2013, talk show host Bill Maher wrote a bit about the then real-estate mogul as an orangutan’s son, and won a $5 million lawsuit by the one person in the entire nation to take it seriously enough to sue him. And who’s lost, as usual.
Tyrants, and would-be ones, dislike those who make fun of their idiosyncrasies or downright bad taste, because it exposes them for what they really are: pretenders, untrustworthy leaders on their insatiable thirst for power, damn whoever may be hurt by it.
Indignation, outrage, even getting down to exchanging insults with a bully, rarely moves them. On the contrary, they feed off pain of others, and there’s nothing that flatters them more than calling them ‘terrible.’ But under that armor of invincibility, hides an insecure, bruised ego, that may withstand a heavy artillery of criticism and rancor, but falters at even a minor antagonizing quip.
Not that it’s easy, and it’s no wonder why comedians can be so effective catching the king without clothes. For there are many things that may come to mind of people who are hurting, before they think of a clever wisecrack to throw at a tan-obsessed despot.
Making fun of the powerful is not safe either. For to mere exercising such a citizen right takes guts and some luck too. One may get away with it in a democratic society, or spend a lifetime in prison in an authoritarian regime. So far, Americans are still lucky.
That could easily change if suddenly dawns on Trump that what actually happened at the U.N. was an embarrassment

no other U.S. president had to endure at such a global stage. Again, luckily so far, he hasn’t been able to connect the dots. Not yet anyway.
‘In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,’ would be just another self-serving fib that Americans have unfortunately become way too used to expect from the mischiefer-in-chief. Except that this time, leaders of hundreds of nations had a chance to knock it back. But someone must have paid attention.
For it may have some influence on what happened next in the week, nothing less than one of the most riveting of America’s life in recent memory: Prof. Christine Blasey Ford’s gut-wrenching testimony to Senate, about the attempt rape she suffered in her teens.
When the would be rapist, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh – likely finger-picked by the president to help the court pardon him later, if he ever gets indicted or impeached – took the stand and, guess what, lied too, he was just impersonating his main sponsor.
Whenever pressed on his lies, even if it rarely happens, the president puts into motion old, but effective, tactics: counter argue angrily and, rather than substantiate his defense with facts, add a few new senseless twists, along with plenty of finger pointing.
It’s worked fine with the American media, and with the Republican Party’s elderly elite of privileged rich white man. That both have invested interests is a given; way harder is to alienate Americans from what the world is really thinking about their nation.
Whether the FBI will take this opportunity to fire back at all humiliations and belittlement that the Trump administration has been throwing at it, with a thorough probe of Kavanaugh’s likely past of debauchery is up to discussion. But, within the law, it should.
What really happened in these less than two years was a depressing process of downgrading of the U.S.’ status in the world, the best part of it: that of a nation founded on ideals of tolerance and freedom. Even if that never translated into concrete reality to so many, they could easily be invoked as a reason for reassessment and re-calibration. And that’s exactly what’s still at mortal risk.
Prof. Ford’s bravery and courage, even as it was relegated to a she said, he said type of news story in the following days, will definitely outlast all attempts at diminishing or equating them to Kavanaugh’s, and Lindsey Graham’s for that matter, phony indignation.
Millions of women had a painful time being reminded of their own traumatic experiences, and why they were shut down by a patriarchy-modeled society that has no place anywhere in the world today. But they’ll connect the dots and, one hopes, help restore a badly needed balance of power in Congress a month from now. And, of course, may the angry judge never make it through this.
Trump has been able to divert sex scandals, evidence of collusion, and suspicions of malfeasance in office, in ways that no other president could. Nothing proved effective against his lies. But not now, as American women realized that the nominee is clearly set to overturn Roe v Wade and reverse their reproductive rights. Humor may irritate him, but women can actually bring him down.
They may rise like Brazilian women did, against a would-be Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, who’s running for president. Bolsonazi, as he’s been called since praising Hitler, and the only torturer ever identified for crimes during the 1960s military dictatorship, had his front-runner position seriously challenged in the past weeks, just a few days to Sunday elections. #ELENÃO #ELENUNCA
If they succeed, it may be a lesson to the world, and the U.S. in particular. Heaven knows we need that, and by the rallies, strikes, discussions and support to Prof. Ford, the same can happen here in America. We may also need a #NOTHIM #NEVERHIM, or even a #NOBEERFORHIM, for laughing out loud. With the extra plus of being able to recycle it in time for the 2020 elections. WC


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