Presidential Dual Reality

The President met with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities yesterday. It should have been a powerful meeting, and I understand the HBCU heads had various items and an agenda for the President to consider. None of this got attention. What set the Internet abuzz was a photo of the President, with the HBCU leadership, in the Oval Office. This photo had Kellyanne Conway sitting on  her knees on a couch in the Oval Office, looking at her phone.

The photo was not well received. Leftists scorned Ms. Conway for not “respecting” the Oval Office. Women called into local talk radio denouncing Ms. Conway’s posture as “unladylike.” Later reports would surface that was a photo of Ms. Conway looking at photos on a cell phone after getting into position on the couch so she could get the best angle possible for the photo.

None of this mattered. People came unhinged at the “lack of respect” for the Oval Office and demanded she resign immediately. All over a photo of her taking photos on a couch.

Last night the President of the United States gave his first speech to a joint session of Congress and the Supreme Court. I wasn’t planning on watching it. Tuesday nights are usually consumed with gaming and trash television (Hearthstone and The Bachelor, not that it matters). Today I wake to find two viewpoints on the President’s first speech to the rest of our nation’s government:

  1. Last night Donald Trump became “President.”
  2. Donald Trump blasted minorities, religious groups, and did nasty things but people are giving him a pass because he sounded “Presidential.”

These are two different realities. One person sees an effect, another sees the same thing, and both come to the same conclusion. There’s a theory behind this in magic called the “Dual Reality” principle, and something tells the deceptive in me Dual Reality is in play at this moment.

Logic and rational thought dictates that whether you cared for the man or not, Donald J. Trump became President on Inauguration Day. Yes, he’s said and done a lot of things since taking the oath of office that weren’t what many would consider “Presidential.” When the American public elected one of the least qualified individuals to the nation’s highest office, someone who has little to no understanding of the law, I gather most of those people understood what they were getting.

That it took a speech before a joint session of Congress to get even those on board the Trump Train to view him as “President” suggests dual reality is at work. Those who were on the fence with Trump’s actions but were committed to his camp now see him as President. The speech gave the effect that despite the “CEO” approach The Donald’s been taking to his new job, he can be Presidential when needed. That’s effect one.

The secondary effect is those who don’t like Donald Trump saw him look Presidential. These are the same people who scream #NotMyPresident, holler about his lack of qualifications, and plot disruptions and protests at every move. Regardless of how they felt about the man last night many who called themselves his opposition reached a point where they were forced to admit this racist, sexist, misogynistic, transohomophobic President Pussygrabber could actually look like the leader of the free world when necessary.

Dual Reality is a powerful principle in life. Some people experience it every day. The fact that we’re seeing it play out in government is astounding. It speaks to the way we perceive our lives, the reactions of those around us, and how we react accordingly.

Did you see Dual Reality at work last night? 

When Civility Is A Lost Virtue

Civility used to be considered a noble cause. Polite discourse was the norm. That’s no longer the case in a world where people who harass at a woman are considered “heroic.”

By now the world knows the story of Dan Goldstein, a man who found out Ivanka Trump was on his JetBlue flight, chased her down, and yelled at her about how her father is ruining the United States before being escorted off the flight. His husband, Hunter College professor Matthew Lasner twitted prior to the incident “Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them. #banalityofevil.” JetBlue “reaccommodated” both parties on the next flight.

Keep this in mind through a filter of the following statement: “Perception is reality.” You’ll need that for later analysis.

Why Lasner and Goldstein chose to do what they did is up to them. Three questions are worth examining in this scenario. First, why did Dan Goldstein think it appropriate to harass Ivanka Trump and yell at her about how her father was “ruining” the country? As much as you may adore or despise Donald Trump, he’s done nothing yet to “ruin” this country. He’s yet to take the oath of office. All we know is he’s decided to tell a bunch of people who he thinks are good people to advise him in the President’s cabinet. Goldstein did nothing more than yell at a woman who happens to be the President-elect’s daughter until he was taken off the plane for it.

Take the name “Ivanka Trump” out of the same scenario and Goldstein is the villain in anyone’s eyes. He’s a guy who decided to yell at a woman on a plane until he was escorted off. Yet because the Pantsuit Nation crowd lost the election, and they can’t begin to understand why, the one response left is to keep getting angry about it, painting the President and his family as some sort of new world Hitler, and justifying it because reasons. It’s unacceptable to harass anyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, pronoun choice, or whatever justification you dream up.

Question number two is why Matthew Lasner felt compelled to twit to the world his husband’s impending actions? Harassment is still a crime, and since airports are covered under Federal law, Lasner “virtue signaled” to the world his husband’s intent to potentially cause a criminal act. While it’s unclear whether Ivanka suffered any fear of imminent death or even “substantial emotional distress” because of Goldstein’s outburst, it’s generally not a good idea to broadcast to the world your husband’s decision to potentially commit a crime. The twit is deleted, but screenshots are everywhere, and if Ivanka chose to sue, well, it’s not hard to imagine someone doing a quick Google search to find it as evidence.

Finally, why does anyone think this is acceptable, much less laudable behavior? Take the Trump name out of the equation and Goldstein and Lasner are absolutely the asshole villains in this scenario. Yet because it’s the President elect’s daughter, and therefore the perception is “Lady Hitler,” it’s considered appropriate. One writer for @midnight and the Onion even considers the act “heroic.”

And to make a broader point: liberals need to stop being nice. Right away. Now. This sham of tolerance and civility has done nothing for the Democrats and everything for the GOP…Stop being nice. Stop. Stop it…Keep shouting in their faces. Keep confronting them wherever and whenever possible. Show that you’re willing to actually fight for something, goddammit, even if that entails temporarily looking mean.

Joe Randazzo’s skin in this game is unclear. Yet he’s on the path to something worth discussing. “Tolerance” and “civility” got conservatives nowhere for eight straight years. Taking the moral high ground on every position bought no political capital. At some point, conservatives started using the same tactics the left used, realizing the only way to win was a shift in strategy. This was something the “progressive liberal” front couldn’t stand. They decided to shift strategies, and go high when conservatives went low.

That strategy shift, attempting to become morally superior, didn’t work. The nation called the newly labeled “regressive left” out on its bullshit. It led to the election of a President Trump. Now that those who stood #WithHer lost, they’re upset about it, and coming unhinged. Not that they were ever really in the business of being nice, as Randazzo points out.

The “tolerant” liberal needs to go away for a while because, the fact is, liberals aren’t that tolerant anyway. They’re mean and they’re mad and they are barely able to hide it anymore.

The myth of the “tolerant liberal” is a myth on full display for eight years straight. While people fought over bathrooms, worlds burned. When people argued over stupid videos about “privilege” and “institutionalized” racism, others mocked the deaths of people who didn’t vote the same way they did in a Presidential election. And yet at every turn, the conservatives just took the punches until they decided they were mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

If perception is reality, then the reality is the nation that voted in President Trump perceives each screed like Randazzo’s as one more bit of proof the regressive left can’t handle civility. They were never interested in being civil, or having honest discussions about a damned thing. All they wanted was to tell everyone what to do, what to say, and how to think, and act like nannies while doing it.

Civility is dead. It may exist somewhere as a faded memory, but both sides of the aisle are now only interested in anger.


On Trump, Politics, and The Art of the Promo

Mike Cernovich tweeted the following point worthy of discussion.

Politics makes total sense if you watched 80s pro wrestling. You think Hulk Hogan and the Russians hated each other once lights were out?

There was a Republican debate last night, and I’m rather upset that I missed it.  I haven’t watched professional wrestling in a good bit, and I need a good promo fix on occasion.

An in-character interview or monologue.[1] Often includes either an “in-ring interview” or (on television) a skit by wrestlers and other performers to advance a storyline or feud.[1] The act of performing a promo is referred to as “cutting”, as in “cutting a promo.” When the promo is aimed at a specific opponent (which can be an individual, team, or stable), it is said to be cut “on” the target.

Apparently, the Candidates spent the entire debate cutting promos on one another.

Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, fighting for their political lives, relentlessly demeaned and baited Donald J. Trump at Thursday’s debate, all but pleading with Republicans to abandon a candidate with a long history of business failures, deep ties to the Democratic Party and a taste for personal insults.

Bad move, guys.  Bad move, especially if you’re going after Trump.

At times, the face-off in Detroit also deteriorated into the kind of junior high school taunts that have startled many Republican elders but have done little to dent Mr. Trump’s broad appeal. As Mr. Trump and Mr. Rubio traded insults over their manhood, Mr. Trump recalled Mr. Rubio’s innuendo that Mr. Trump’s “small hands” correlated with another part of his anatomy.

Mr. Trump, who has boasted about his sexual exploits, insisted that nothing was small about him. “I guarantee you,” he continued with little subtlety, “there’s no problem. I guarantee you.”

You can’t cut a promo on a guy who literally learned how to cut pro wrestling promos.  He’s going to beat you every single time.

You know who taught Trump how to cut a promo for this election cycle?  This guy.

courtesy Online World of Wrestling

courtesy Online World of Wrestling

That’s Vince McMahon, for those of you who reading who don’t follow pro wrestling.  He and Trump have done business together on multiple occasions.  Trump Plaza hosted Wrestlemania IV and V, and in 2007, Donald Trump actually faced Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania 23 in the “Battle of the Billionaires.”

They didn’t actually wrestle, but they did get numerous chances to “cut promos” on each other leading to their selected proxies actually fighting at the biggest event in pro wrestling each year.

Trump “won” the debate last night because he spent active time with the biggest professional wrestling promotion in the world, and actually practiced “cutting promos” on people before getting into the Presidential race.  

His speech patterns are absolutely fantastic to analyze, although some say his language patterns are on a fourth grade level.

You can’t get under the skin of a guy who took time to observe and learn how to speak about his opponents in a manner that gets himself over and make the other guy look weak.  That’s what Trump did nine years ago when he sat at the McMahon Family Learning Tree.

If Trump gets the nod from the GOP, or “goes into business for himself,” his opponents are going to need a “promo coach.”

“going into business for yourself”(exp.) — making yourself look good at the expense of your opponent, or changing the scripted outcome of a match on the fly to work in your favor.)

My suggestion would be James E. Cornette, the semi-retired manager of the Midnight Express, Heavenly Bodies, and other pro wrestling talent.  He has a podcast every week where he blasts anything and everything, especially in recent weeks Republicans.  He’s an unabashed Sanders fan and can’t stand Republicans, so I think he’d be up for the job.

“On a personal note to Hulk Hogan, you are a household word, but so is garbage, and it stinks when it gets old too” is a line that’s stuck in my head ever since I saw that back in the nineties.

I had a chance to meet Cornette when he was in Knoxville at a comic book convention, long before Mediation is Dead got started.  We had a mutual friend who made the introduction while my son was in the NICU holding on for his life. He signed a tennis racket that sits in my office.  I couldn’t help but ask him about that particular promo, since it was cut right around the time talent stopped getting talking points and started getting handed scripts.  He was kind enough to tell me the backstory.

Apparently it had started on an internet show WWF had called “Byte This,” and Cornette was told he could say whatever he wanted because practically no one listened and it’d pay him $500.  That last line caught his boss’s attention.  They ran everything by McMahon family attorney Jerry McDevitt, and then flew Cornette to RAW, where his words were typed up and he read them off a teleprompter.  Corny sped up at the end and sounded more irritating because the teleprompter was moving a little too fast for his liking, but he got the last bit out.

Donald Trump has his promo coach a phone call away.

Maybe someone in the Democratic Party should start looking for Jim Cornette’s number.

Regardless, in politics once the lights are out and the heels and faces go home, they all still smile, nod and appreciate “working” the audience.

You can buy the book that gave me the brain reboot to start Mediation is Dead here.

My latest podcast is here.