Sonny Bunch writing in the Washington Post has noticed that opponents of Donald Trump seem to have become fixated on the literary world created by the Harry Potter novels. After Trump’s election:
the Potternistas gnashed their teeth and rent their garments, reaching back to the world of childish literature, announcing the formation of Dumbledore’s Army, reminding their friends that “even Hogwarts fell to Voldemort,” pleading for the Order of the Phoenix to “mount up.” And to this day — to the very moment you are reading this sentence — you can likely find Potterheads comparing our moment to the world of wizarding.
Bunch thinks it’s time for the anti-Trump brigade to grow up and find their referants in adult literature. To get started, three novels are recommended: Albert Camus’ The Plague, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop:
In a few pithy lines of dialogue, Waugh helped relay the absurdity of the news business and the ways in which competing views of the world vie for supremacy on the wires. “But isn’t it very confusing if we all send different news?” a novice war correspondent naively asks, wondering how each service can provide a different angle from the same front line. “It gives them a choice,” his confidant replies. “They all have different policies so of course they have to give different news.”
To drive that point home, here’s the telegram the aforementioned naïf receives from his bosses when the scoops fail to pile up: “CONFIDENTIAL AND URGENT STOP LORD COPPER HIMSELF GRAVELY DISSATISFIED STOP LORD COPPER PERSONALLY REQUIRES VICTORIES STOP ON RECEIPT OF THIS CABLE VICTORY STOP CONTINUE CABLING VICTORIES UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE STOP LORD COPPERS CONFIDENTIAL SECRETARY.”
The telegraphese that is the preferred communication medium for Waugh’s press corps could be seen as the counterpart for the Twitter twaddle in which Trumpistas communicate. After explaining the relevance of the other books, the Post article concludes:
Crucially, they’re all books about adults coping with the world as it is (or, in the case of “Infinite Jest,” plausibly could be) rather than mere wish-fulfillment intended to buoy the spirits of children. Dumbledore’s not coming to save you; you can’t just shout “Trumpius Impeachum” and wave a twig at the White House and expect Hillary Clinton to appear. A higher class of literature might better prepare you for dealing with reality — and preparation for the vagaries of the real world is far more important than cocooning oneself away in the world of fantasy.