Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Brain Is Much More Important

They say the infamous gangster Al Capone had the mind of a seven-year-old child when he was paroled. Syphilis had eaten away his mental capacities to the point where he spent the last years obsessed with imagined menaces--Communists, as well as his old rival Bugs Moran, who he became convinced was trying to kill him--even though Moran was holed up in some Ohio prison by that point. Yes, the deterioration of the human mind can be a fascinating thing to behold. Instead of quietly burning out like a dying fire, it can spin out of control before one final, irreversible implosion. There is a reason that madness has fascinated playwrights, philosophers and other thinkers for many generations.

Mark Wilson/Zuma Press
So now we come to the president. Speculation about his mental state is certainly nothing new, and we have no need to try to figure out the causes. Dementia? Alzheimer's, like Reagan before him? Just stress from being the most powerful man on the planet? Leave it to the experts to try to figure that out, but the point is something is up with the man. He has always been a sickening boil on the American Dream, a man who represents everything twisted and evil in the national spirit. But now he's a bloated self-parody, so lacking in awareness of his own stupidity that he's more comical than diabolical. And it's only been getting worse and worse. At one of his rallies last month, he started talking about Elton John and got sidetracked, vomiting up this word salad:
I have broken more Elton John records. He seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No, we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record. Because you know, look, I only need this space. They need much more room. For basketball, for hockey and all of the sports, they need a lot of room. We don’t need it. We have people in that space. So we break all of these records. Really, we do it without, like, the musical instruments. This is the only musical – the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth, right? The brain. More important than the mouth is the brain. The brain is much more important.
Yes, the brain is much more important. It reads more like a passage from some long-lost James Joyce work than it does the product of a normal human mind. Even Trump's Neanderthal supporters must have been wondering if he was having a stroke onstage, right in front of their eyes.

Around the same time that that rally was held, we got a new report that was startling even by Trump standards: he'd wanted to invade Venezuela last year. He clung onto the idea even after his own advisors tried to dissuade him. He even mentioned it to other Latin American leaders. I don't know if even a dumb frat boy like George W. Bush would cling to such a Gen. Jack D. Ripper-esque notion so tenaciously. A full-on invasion of a major country in our own hemisphere, with no remotely justifiable cause--not even so much as a phony pretense about Weapons of Mass Destruction--just some deranged notion of taking out Our Enemies.

And we can't forget the Mueller investigation. So far, it's unearthed nothing too damaging for Trump--maybe it never will. And certainly his supporters won't care if he colluded with Russia. The congressional Republicans are sure to protect him against removal from office even if the wildest allegations turn out to be true. But that hasn't kept Trump from focusing on the investigation compulsively, barely ever going a week without tweeting about the "Witch Hunt" since the beginning of the year. Sometimes he's barely comprehensible. Take this from July 7: "The Rigged Witch Hunt, originally headed by FBI lover boy Peter S (for one year) & now, 13 Angry Democrats, should look into the missing DNC Server, Crooked Hillary’s illegally deleted Emails, the Pakistani Fraudster, Uranium One, Podesta & so much more. It’s a Democrat Con Job!" The output of a late-stage syphilitic brain if I've ever seen it.

And of course there was last month's press conference with Putin. We don't have to agree with the more hysterical accusations--that it constituted treason, that it shows he's Putin's puppet, etc.--to recognize it was a bizarre performance. He babbled about the Democrats, the investigation, and the DNC server, while seeming to put his trust in the Russian president. It's the sort of behavior that's hard to imagine even from Trump's nauseating predecessors--Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes. You could pull someone off the street and make them president for a day and anyone with half a brain would put on a better performance than that.

And now he's admitted on Twitter that Don Jr.'s meeting with Russians was intended to dig up dirt on Clinton--contradicting the earlier claim that it was about adoption laws, for no apparent reason. This comes after he attacked LeBron James for daring to utter mild criticisms of the Dealmaker-In-Chief. Even a fiend like Nixon had better self-control than this--and he really did have something to hide. We have yet to figure out if Trump does. It may be that Mueller is his Bugs Moran--someone his decaying brain has unshakably decided poses a threat and has it in for him.

Yes, it may be that on some level Trump believes his own talk of Witch Hunts. And maybe he's also deluded enough to believe there's a "red wave" coming this November, as he keeps insisting. One thing is clear: he is unstable and it is only getting worse, if anything. The idea of our billionaire president being deranged and stupid enough to start World War Three has become decidedly less hypothetical with the news about Venezuela. He is a literal madman with his Finger On The Button, and we can only hope that the depraved goons surrounding him have the marginal amount of sanity, and the power of persuasion, required to keep him from doing something catastrophic. We will be lucky to make it to the end of his tenure without things getting much worse than they already are.

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