November 14, 2016
Trump as Zaphod Beeblebrox

I can’t help thinking of Donald Trump as Zaphod Beeblebrox minus one of the heads and with only two arms.

To begin with, I expect that in the privacy of his shower (unless he pays someone to do that for him) Trump would agree with Zaphod that “If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now”. And he resembles Zaphod’s personality: “he is, according to screening tests that he ran on himself in the Heart of Gold’s medical bay, ‘clever, imaginative, irresponsible, untrustworthy, extrovert, nothing you couldn’t have guessed’”. Zaphod’s fame rests in part on being the only man to have survived the Total Perspective Vortex, which gives anyone who experiences it a sense of their place in the total arc of the universe. Most people are reduced to blithering idiots by the sense of how trivial they are, but Zaphod’s lifelong conviction that he’s the most important person in the galaxy turns out to have some basis in fact, which makes him even more insufferable.

In one respect, though, the two differ. Zaphod was briefly President of the Galaxy, which Wikipedia describes as “a role that involves no power whatsoever, and merely requires the incumbent to attract attention so no one wonders who’s really in charge, a role for which Zaphod was perfectly suited”. Trump, of course, is slated to occupy a role of considerably more power, though the element of misdirection is still relevant. But it already looks like his enthusiasm for the job has been tempered as he becomes more aware of what it involves. It’s certainly bigger than he realized:

During their private White House meeting on Thursday, Mr. Obama walked his successor through the duties of running the country, and Mr. Trump seemed surprised by the scope, said people familiar with the meeting. Trump aides were described by those people as unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama’s term.

Looks an awful lot like the job Trump was shooting for was more like President of the Galaxy than the one he actually got.


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Posted by Chuck Dupree at November 14, 2016 07:49 PM
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Your post on Zaphod Beeblebrocks accurately demonstrates a point that science fiction and pornography writers have known about for years:

You can't make anything up.

No matter how outrageous, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how bizarre, no matter how unlikely, if you can think of it for the pages of a speculative or pornographic novel, other people have thought of it, too. And some of them are actually doing it.

My one hope is that the entire Trump administration gets indigestion at the restaurant at the edge of the universe and falls dizzily into the fireworks show at its edge.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Posted by: The New York Crank on November 15, 2016 9:43 AM

Indeed. Right now it looks like this crew might not even find its way to said restaurant, between their informational innocence and their bumbling execution.

Admittedly we're lowering the standards here, but at this point I'd rather have bumbling than, say, the ruthless efficiency of a Dick Cheney. True, the Trump people don't know dink about running the government, those who do know must be courted or lured in, and Trump shows no signs of valuing anything other than personal loyalty in such situations, so he'll likely get bad advice.

It'll take this crowd a while to reach the effectiveness level of the Bush/Cheney administration, that is, but I'm arguing that's a good thing.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on November 15, 2016 6:57 PM
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