Donald Trump is catching a certain amount of flack in the gotcha media this week for an act of satirical pantomimicry he performed, imitating a man with a congenital musculoskeletal disorder. I'm not sure if it will help or hurt Trump's political chances. It would be grossly insincere for me to pretend to understand what his supporters think. If you think Donald Trump would make a good president, I don't know where you draw the line, taste-wise. "Yes, he sometimes comes off a little insensitive. But in his defense, he is the worst person in the universe."
Maybe that's a little strong. Jared from Subway is objectively worse. Although, unlike Donald Trump, who's never done anything that wasn't shoddy and base and cheap and vulgar and repulsive, Jared did encourage people to eat fresh.
Plus you can't write off a whole candidacy over one inopportune comic impression. When George W. Bush was running in 1999, he imitated Karla Faye Tucker, a woman he'd executed:
'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'
... and he was elected anyway, and that turned out okay.
What I've been thinking is that maybe we should try to understand people who hear something in Donald Trump that we don't. Obviously there's more than one way to unpack a taunt. What strikes the liberal ear as ignorance, and the psychologist as disinhibitation, strikes the Tea Partier as sizzling wit. Not just funny but insightful. We hear asshole and they hear Louis CK.
So here's the challenge.
I'll open my heart to Donald Trump if one of his supporters can pass this test.
Here are twenty-four tweets. Some of them were composed by Donald Trump, Republican frontrunner, and some of them were composed by Amanda Bynes, outpatient.
(Let me stipulate, right up front, that I think Amanda Bynes is terrific. I think she could have been, and still could be, the next Madeline Kahn. I think she's a gifted comedian and a charming screen presence. But she also has challenges. When she wrote these things she was going through a rough patch. You wouldn't have wanted her negotiating with Xi Jinping.)
My point is privilege.
The author of some of these tweets was universally mocked and then institutionalized. Because she was a woman. And she was also crashing into police cars and setting small fires. But even before that, the things she tweeted made her a target of pity and disapprobation.
The other author is an infantile, racist bully. But he looks like a bad drawing of Richie Rich's dad, so he could be the next President of the United States.
Who tweeted which?
- "I tweet what I feel."
- "It's amazing how people can talk about me but I'm not allowed to talk about them."
- "I protect myself from who ever hurts me"
- "How come every time I show anger, disgust or impatience, enemies say I had a tantrum or meltdown--stupid or dishonest people?"
- "Courtney Love is the ugliest woman I've ever seen. To be mentioned by her at all makes me and all my friends laugh!"
- "While Bette Midler an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct."
- "Fuck the ugly editors of Intouch! I'm not racist! My account was hacked"
- "Why does a failed magazine like Forbes constantly seek out trivial nonsense? Their circulation way down."
- "I ignored Lance Bass on twitter and now he is saying I have a mental illness. Sorry you're an ugly ex boy band member w/ no talent or career."
- "Cher attacked Mitt Romney. She is an average talent who is out of touch with reality. Like Rosie O'Donnell, a total loser!"
- "my lawyer will have every fake story about me removed from the internet"
- "As everybody knows, but the haters & losers refuse to acknowledge, I do not wear a "wig." My hair may not be perfect but it's mine."
- "You are who you date"
- "Everyone knows I am right that Robert Pattinson should dump Kristen Stewart. In a couple of years, he will thank me. Be smart, Robert."
- "In Parliament if you don't deny a slanderous of untrue statement it means the accuser is right"
- "Katy Perry must have been drunk when she married Russell Brand- but he did send me a really nice letter of apology!"
- "I'm actually really smart."
- "Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest - and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault"
- "Thanks for writing articles about every tweet that I write. You're only making me more famous!"
- "Kate Middleton is great--but she shouldn't be sunbathing in the nude--only herself to blame"
- "Don't believe anything you read about me unless I tweet it."
- "My twitter has become so powerful that I can actually make my enemies tell the truth."
- "Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are ugly!"
- "Congratulations to Michelle and Barack Obama on their 20th anniversary."
Donald Trump or Amanda Bynes? Remember, jackass morning DJ's are still making fun of one of them and the other is leading the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. But which is which?
(Answer: I made it easy. Every other tweet is Trump's.)
Is there something seriously wrong with a powerful and successful person who calls people ugly all the time? Are they crying out for help?
Sure, this campaign is fun for us. But is it the best thing for Donald Trump?
Here's what a FoxNews.com report said about Amanda Bynes in 2013:
"Amanda does have huge anger issues and is paranoid about a lot of things. She just doesn't like herself," a source connected to Bynes told FOX411's Pop Tarts column. "It's not that she is obsessed with her body and appearance, but she just doesn't seem to have any self-value right now. Calling others 'ugly' is her go-to for cutting others down."
Addiction specialist Dr. Damon Raskin said Bynes is "clearly showing signs of body dysmorphic disorder, and she urgently needs psychiatric evaluation."
"Although this could be as a result of drug use, I am more inclined to see this as a psychiatric disorder," explained Raskin, who does not treat Bynes. "The pressure of being in the spotlight growing up could have sparked this incessant body image obsession, but more likely reflects an undiagnosed condition such as bipolar disorder."
Should Fox News ask Dr. Raskin about Donald Trump?
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