Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Magic Donald

In 1959 author Terry Southern's novel "The Magic Christian" was published by British publisher André Deutsch Ltd. Southern's novel was later (1969) made into a movie starring Peter Sellers as August Guy Grand - the story's main character.

Sir Guy Grand was an eccentric billionaire who acquired his fortune in part from inheritance and in part from investments. He owned and occupied The Grand Investment Building, or Grand's, in Manhattan.

Is any of this beginning to sound at least a little bit familiar? Consider this:

< Trump Tower NYC

Grand becomes a prankster; orchestrating eloborate schemes, designed primarily for his own amusement, in order to get a reaction out of people or coax them into behaving foolishly. Page 10 of The Magic Christian gets to the gist of it:

"For one thing, he was the last of the big spenders; and for another, he had a very unusual attitude towards people - he spent about ten million a year in, as he expressed it himself, 'making it hot for them.'"

Becoming more obvious isn't it.

A blogger named David Seaton has already covered this ground when he asked the question "Is Donald Trump The Magic Christian?" (Saturday, August 22, 2015).

Seaton draws from Wiki entries summarizing "The Magic Christian" including a summary of the pranks Guy Grand orchestrates for his own amusement. Which is what I'm going to do as well, except, I'm going to preface each one with a Donald Trump comparison. See if any of this sounds familiar. Ok, off we go:

1 - The Donald is an odd billionaire who does not mind losing large sums of money running for President if he has a good time doing it and a few laughs along the way. He frequently reminds his audience that other candidates are beholden to lobbyists and/or deep pocketed individuals and all of this has its price.
"Guy Grand is an odd billionaire who spends most of his time playing elaborate practical jokes on people. A big spender, he does not mind losing large sums of money to complete strangers if he can have a good laugh. All his escapades are designed to prove his theory that everyone has their price—it just depends on the amount one is prepared to pay them."

2 - The Donald produces a "Reality TV" show where contestants (frequently celebrities) compete for his favor as potential apprentices in one of his business operations. The audience tunes in to watch "the moment" where Trump himself choses who will win and who will lose by proclaiming "you're fired" to the contestant who doesn't make the cut.
"Grand pays the actor playing a surgeon in a live television soap opera to deviate from the script, comment in drastic terms on the bad quality of the show, and walk off the set. Other actors follow in later weeks, in the same way, until critics begin to praise the show's "bold, innovative comedy" and the viewing audience comes to watch for "the moment" when an actor will break the fourth wall and leave the set."

3 - The Donald, when asked if he'd consider appointing Sarah Palin to a position within a Trump administration, responded: “I’d love that.” And, speaking of raucous chattering squirrels...:
"Grand secretly buys a respectable New York advertising agency, installs a pygmy as its president and has him "scurry about the offices like a squirrel and chatter raucously in his native tongue" in front of all the top executive staff and their prominent clients."

4 - The Donald endorses a line of cologne, perfume and eau de toilette spray called Success by Trump. I have never met a single human who ever applied the stuff to themselves so I can not tell you if it competes with a bathroom malodor or a hopper full of rotten eggs.
[Grand] "...then buys a cosmetics company and launches a big promotional campaign for a new shampoo which, as it turns out in the end, has a very detrimental effect on those who use it. A supposedly pheromone-based scent produced by the same company turns out to be a time-release stink bomb, causing wearers to smell horrible some hours after spraying it on."

5 - The Donald loves to Twitter. The Donald also spawned two failed wealthporn magazine ventures: Trump World and Trump.
"A newspaper under Grand's control first begins to add foreign language passages and perverse commentary to articles, then changes to reporting simply dry facts, then to printing only hate mail received by subscribers."

6 - The Donald's sons go on a safari: "Their dad likes shooting from the lip, but the Trump kids prefer shooting wild animals with guns." (NY Daily News)
"Grand takes a vacation, showing up to an African safari with three natives carrying an unmounted howitzer, and firing it at game animals."

7 - The Donald builds casinos. He also says he knows how to build a wall.
"Grand buys a huge downtown vacant lot in a major city. He then has a three foot brick wall built around the perimeter and fills it with feces and offal into which bills of all denominations have been mixed. He then takes pleasure watching immaculately dressed people defiling themselves by braving the stench, and ruining their clothing and dignity, by wading through the muck for the bills."

8 - The Donald makes no secret of his views on who should and who should not be allowed to remain aboard the USS American Dream.
"Grand's final adventure takes place on board the S.S. Magic Christian, a remodeled luxury liner catering only to the super-rich. He first arbitrarily rejects several Social Register favorites for passage, sending them into a furor, then the ship's crew treat the selected passengers harshly. Grand himself responds to the requests from notables for passage. One of the best is when an Italian contessa lists her family history and her qualifications, and Grand rejects her by writing, "No Wops" across the top, and returning it to her."

"My favorite book is the Bible" Donald Trump told a rally audience in Mobile, Alabama in late August. "The Bible! The Bible. ... We take the Bible all the way," said Trump, according to WaPo's Robert Costa via Twitter.

I don't believe Donald Trump when he says that his favorite book is the Bible.

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