Vile Politics

Heather Wilhelm writing in National Review has noticed that several commentators have been making the analogy between present national politics and professional wrestling. You can best explain what’s happening by remembering that, like a professional wrestler (who isn’t so much interested in who wins the match but rather in maximizing the number of viewers), Trump’s loyalty isn’t to one side or the other but to being the subject of the most watchable story.

Looking for other ways of fitting today’s politics into a framework of understanding, Wilhelm comes up with three. One of these is to treat it like:

“An over-the top Evelyn Waugh novel. Ah, Evelyn Waugh, master of the ridiculous. Think of the characters in Vile Bodies, out of touch and absurd — “Adam felt a little dizzy, so he had another drink” — with last names like Outrage and Chasm. They bounce all over the countryside, vague and half-hearted, crashing cars and wasting money and giving vast fortunes to random drunk army majors who repeatedly and predictably disappear without a trace. If that doesn’t sound like political D.C., I don’t know what does. (The drunk army major reappears with the money at the end of the book, by the way — but by then, it’s been completely devalued.)”

The others are to view politics like a 1990’s soap opera that contunues indefinitely, where despicable people will just keep on appearing. And finally, just approach the subject like a Monet painting. It looks fine if you keep your distance. But don’t get too close or it will just appear to be a messy jumble of dots.

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