Friday, January 20, 2017

Fuck You's Inaugural Address

Dave Moss: What's your name? 
Blake: Fuck you. That's my name. You know why, mister? 'Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight. I drove an $80,000 BMW. THAT's my name.
Long before Alec Baldwin did his Saturday Night Live impression of Donald J. Trump, Trump appropriated Baldwin's sadistic "motivational" character, Blake, from Glengarry Glen Ross. Blake is a caricature of the salesman-as-sociopath. Baldwin refers to him as "an asshole." Trump dialed the "you're fired" performance down a notch with a wink of tongue-in-cheekiness.

Watch the "always be closing" scene and judge for yourself which impersonation came first:

The tenth anniversary DVD of Glengarry Glen Ross includes a special feature in which the documentary film maker, Albert Maysles recounted the story of a sales manager who,  as he approached the prospect's door, started swaying his body and shuffling his feet. After the sale, the manager asked Maysles if he had noticed the odd movement and then explained,"when you're moving your body this way it's very hard for somebody listening to turn you down."

This calls attention to the erotic dimension of the sales transaction. Sometimes the commodity isn't the most auspicious thing being exchanged. Cue the traveling salesman jokes... did you hear the one about Amway Dream Night?
Where pathos rules, where pathos is finally derived, a character has fought a battle he could not possibly have won. The pathetic is achieved when the protagonist is, by virtue of his witlessness, his insensitivity, or the very air he gives off, incapable of grappling with a much superior force. -- Arthur Miller, Tragedy and the Common Man


Peter said...

Good point about Glengary Glen Ross. It's not only the erotic aspect as Keynes pointed out:

"For my own part, I believe that there is social and psychological justification for significant inequalities of incomes and wealth, but not for such large disparities as exist to-day. There are valuable human activities which require the motive of money-making and the environment of private wealth-ownership for their full fruition. Moreover, dangerous human proclivities can be canalised into comparatively harmless channels by the existence of opportunities for money-making and private wealth, which, if they cannot be satisfied in this way, may find their outlet in cruelty, the reckless pursuit of personal power and authority, and other forms of self-aggrandisement. It is better that a man should tyrannise over his bank balance than over his fellow-citizens; and whilst the former is sometimes denounced as being but a means to the latter, sometimes at least it is an alternative. But it is not necessary for the stimulation of these activities and the satisfaction of these proclivities that the game should be played for such high stakes as at present. Much lower stakes will serve the purpose equally well, as soon as the players are accustomed to them. The task of transmuting human nature must not be confused with the task of managing it. Though in the ideal commonwealth men may have been taught or inspired or bred to take no interest in the stakes, it may still be wise and prudent statesmanship to allow the game to be played, subject to rules and limitations, so long as the average man, or even a significant section of the community, is in fact strongly addicted to the money-making passion."

I think Trump imagines himself to be the Baldwin character and plays one on TV, but in actuality I don't think he's as much of a hard-driven workaholic as that type. That evil Baldwin type are *knowledgeable.* Trump is very incurious. He's hard-driven when it comes to the campaign trail and whipping up the mob, but otherwise when it comes to policy I see him becoming very bored, very quickly. When advisers told him about the complicated border tax, his eyes glazed over and he waved it off as too complicated.

My older comrades have a better sense of the popular caricature of Silent Cal Coolidge. (I got mine from Gore Vidal.) That's how imagine Trump to govern, ironically. Pro-business. Incurious.

john c. halasz said...

Of course, Betsy DeVos is the daughter-on-law of the founder of Amway, as well as the sister of Blackwater founder Eric Prince. SHe's been put in charge of "education".

Sandwichman said...

Of course Betsy DeVos is the daughter in law of Rich DeVos.

Just imagine the ORGY of economic GROWTH we could get by selling off public school real estate assets to fund short-term liability of deficit spending from tax cuts!