EDITOR’S NOTE: Below, find the latest diary entry, then other July content. Click here for the June entries. Click here for the May entries. Click here for the April entries. Click here for all March entries . My CoviDiary is reprinted, with the author’s permission, from its original publication via maxburbank.wordpress.com. Oh, and by the by, we’ve stopped deleting the “uc” part of Mr. Burbank’s liberal use of the “F” word because, well, when he invokes it, it’s in the service of a righteously angry response to the times we’re living in. So, you know, Trigger Alert: Spicy language abounds, should you choose to proceed ahead.
My CoviDiary 07/29/2020: Giving Up on the Big Picture
Back then he’d fire off two or three absolutely astounding bullshit tweets in any given day and do maybe four things a week that no one in politics had ever gotten away with before. “Oh, Mexicans are rapists.” “Oh, I like to sexually assault women, I do it all the time, it’s fine.” Sure, it was repugnant, disgusting even, but manageable. You could cover it. You could finish writing about the unbelievable asshole move he pulled, give it a quick polish and publish it before he pulled his next unbelievable asshole move and everyone was so flabbergasted they couldn’t even think about his last unbelievable asshole move anymore.
Now? It’s a few dozen things every single day. And his Twitter feed, once the crowning glory of ignorance, bullshit, malice and bad grammar is just unreadable. It’s a mess! Thirty or fourty retweets of just anybody, from Sean Hannity to some rando with seven followers who said Trump is hotter than Jesus. And if you take the time to look at what else the guy tweets about? All nazi stuff. One hundred percent. I’m not referring to any specific rando. Just Trump’s general practice of retweeting any old thing as long as some fractional percentage of it in some way supports whatever lunacy he’s in the grip of at that moment.
Two years ago, Trump would tweet some idiocy, I’d fire off a snappy joke in response, Boom, a thousand “likes.” Not big time Twitter, the major players get tens of thousands of reactions and retweets, but satisfying, you know? Now? Nothing. I still get my share of buzz. Just not for Trump stuff. And you know why? No one but journalists are reading his Twitter feed, and they only do it ‘cause they get paid. And bits of it are wildly offensive, like today he put up that video from the lady in the lab coat who says don’t wear masks, there’s already a cure for COVID-19 and it’s that Malaria drug one assumes Trump has stock in. Also, vaccines are made of alien DNA and look out, sex demons everywhere and they copulate you in your dreams where you can’t say no. But the only reason we even know about that is because professional writers and paid social media employees were financially motivated to sort through the bullshit haystack to find the few, glittering, supernova level bullshit needles.
Oh, and Trump had a phone call with Daddy Vlady the other day, which might have something to do with why we’re pulling the majority of our troops out of Germany and no, he did not bring up the whole Russia is paying the Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan thing, because A.) That’s not what the phone call was about and Trump didn’t want to go off topic, and B.) A lot of people told him it isn’t even true, never mind who, lots of people, Colin Powell, sort of, I’m sure that’s what he meant, and it just would have been super awkward to mention especially since it’s probably fake, so why spoil a nice phone call?
All of that preamble is just to say, I can’t even. I’m giving up on the big picture. There is no big picture, just the swirling, near infinite sea of bubbling sick Trump has made of the entire world and I will not attempt to map it. I refuse.
Instead, I’m going to pull two cards out of the daily deck of insanity, comment on those and leave it at that.
Late this afternoon, Trump tweeted:
“I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood…Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!”
Well… wow. There is just a whole lot of white to unpack in that suitcase. He kinda sorta tries to package it up as just senseless hatred of the undeserving poor, but we all know there’s just a shit ton of poors in his base and they’re not going to take offense even if they’re currently living in low income housing in suburbia (which a whole lot of them are.) They know he didn’t mean White folks! I mean, is it a time honored trope that your property values go down when low income white people move into your neighborhood? Come on! And as racist as that is, it’s not even what caught my eye in this tweet.
No. That would be the coining of the phrase “Suburban Lifestyle Dream,” each golden word lovingly capitalized. It’s like he crafted his message specifically for use on his magic time machine telephone party line, so that Phyllis Schlaffly and Anita Bryant could enjoy it at the same time from their mid century breakfast nooks while enjoying their morning cup of pure, distilled human evil.
Just when you think Trump’s language center has turned entirely to Cream of Wheat, out pops a gem like that. Truly, Trump is America’s outsider poet-laureate savante of crassness and bile.
Louie Gohmert has COVID-19.
Arguably the stupidest man in congress, probably ever, Gohmert has resolutely refused to wear a mask because he gets tested real regular and he doesn’t have it.
“If I get it,” Gohmert told CNN in June, “you’ll never see me without a mask.”
Since testing positive, Gohmert has appeared maskless multiple times in public, including at the meeting where he informed his staff of his status in person.
Gohmert gets a lot of flack for being alarmingly stupid, and that’s certainly going to increase now that he’s come down with a disease he was so cavalier about for so long, but here’s the thing; Say what you will about Gohmert’s political performance, he was hilarious in his recurring role as Cletus “Piggy” Mcgee, the beloved town drunk and butt of of frequent “animal husbandry” jokes on both “Green Acres” and “Petticoat Junction” in the late 60s.
Gohmert informed Fox News this evening that he will be starting a regimen of zinc and hydroxychloroquine in the next few days. One assumes he will complement this treatment with a side of Alien DNA and a tall glass of Demon sex.
BEFORE YOUR CONTINUE, LEARN A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MAX BURBANK | Burbank is a freelance writer living in Salem, Massachusetts. His work has been published by Cracked.com, NationalLampoon.com, i-mockery.com, and the literary magazine websites (because he is both hoity and toity, but neither enough to get in the print versions) Monkeybicycle.net and Frictionmagazine.com. Once upon a time, before the Internet, he sold science fiction stories to the legendary Algis Budrys for Tomorrow: The Magazine of Speculative Fiction. Until recently, he was the political satirist for Chelsea Now, where he won a PRESTIGIOUS first-place award for editorial cartooning from the New York Press Association, because gosh darn it, he draws real good, too. A huge, steaming pile of Max’s comedy writing can be found archived at maxburbank.wordpress.com. Max is available for freelance work, both writing and illustration, because he likes to eat on occasion.
My Covi Diary 07/27/2020: Stop and Smell the Rose Garden
BY MAX BURBANK | You know, I’ve tried to keep it to myself, but I’ve been a little down lately. A bit blue, somewhat glum, and dare I say it? Depressed. It could be all the noses I see, peeking out over the tops of folk’s masks, like an exposed wang flopping out of an unsecured, wide-open fly. Or maybe the unmarked vans whisking people away to secondary locations, or the seemingly unlimited supply of heavily armed federal agents who I have to assume didn’t do anything prior to being called up but wait in alcoves like sleeping Borg, since whatever jobs they’d been doing turn out to be the kind you can just walk away from for an indefinite amount of time. Or maybe the 150,000 dead, or the fact that the Republicans can’t agree on a relief bill that’s needed by the end of this week, to avoid catastrophe. I don’t mean they can’t agree with the Democrats, that’s just a given, but they can’t agree even amongst themselves. Why, it’s as if this relief bill is a health care plan, for goodness sake!
I tell you, it’s enough to sour a fellow’s general outlook in a lasting way.
But then, like a ray of sunshine through the clouds, I heard the good news, brothers and sisters, and I was lifted up.
Melania is going to renovate the White House Rose Garden.
I want to be honest with you, of all the things I could have wished for just now, I had not even considered this. I rarely if ever thought about the Rose Garden, and when I did it was generally in relation to the things that went on there as opposed to the state of it’s novation, with which there’s apparently something wrong. Is that a word, ‘novation’? I mean, if you truly need to “re-novate” something, it stands to reason.
It’s telling really, that when the American people are suffering so much in so many different ways, Melania could squint her eyes Clint Eastwood-like, look past all that , and bring the soothing balm of beauty into the lives of every citizen. Have we forgotten that the White House is the people’s house? And by extension, isn’t the White House Rose Garden OUR rose Garden? Even behind all that new fencing and the concrete barriers?
And it’s just so… I’m struggling to think of the exact right words here to describe it… it’s so fucking selfless of the First Lady. So absolutely… fucking selfeless. She gives so much. I mean, has she even finished her laudable work on the White House Tennis Pavilion? She could certainly be forgiven if she chose to rest a bit on those laurels, but NO! Once more into the BREACH! Let the rosey renovation commence!
I hope whatever changes she makes include a larger-than-life statue of her husband. Something understated yet godlike to commemorate the moment he stood on this very spot, amongst the pre renovated roses, and introduced the world to his Keystone Gestapo, unleashing them upon the unsuspecting crowd, so that he might walk freely where they’d recently stood, unimpeded by having to suffer the unpleasant experience of their human existence.
Such a monument would have to be protected at all costs of course. Maybe they could surround it with a force of heavily armed, involuntarily conscripted Doctors, to really hammer home the message that in America, absolutely nothing is more worthy of saving than the sanctity of statues. And as a deterrent against the ANTIFA, socialist, communist, anarchist, do-nothing, left wing Democratic mob, by executive order, the mere thought of presidential monument besmirching would be punishable by immediate, violent death by dismemberment at the hands of a whole bunch of unidentified guys in camo from some agency or something, who knows, they have those velcro patches that say “police”?
Anyway, I feel a lot better knowing at least someone in the administration is focused on the important stuff. It turns my frown upside down. If anyone’s up to the task, it’s Melania. I mean, it’s not like they give out Einstein Visas for nothing, right?
My CoviDiary 07/25/2020: The Battle of Portland, The Wall of Moms
BY MAX BURBANK | So here we all are, a few days into The Battle of Portland, dangling our feet off the edge of the dock of the American Republic, just kind of sticking a toe in the ocean of Authoritarian Dictatorship.
Testing the waters. Sweet metaphor, right? I mean, as long as we start with the assumption that while about one-third of us think we are Olympic-level long distance swimmers, all of us, in fact, down to the least little citizen, completely suck at swimming. On a good day some of us can manage a respectable dog paddle, but just as many don’t know how to swim at all, and a goodly portion of the rest of us, instead of being made of relatively buoyant flesh and bone, are instead made of cast iron. If we take the plunge and try to swim in authoritarian waters, we will all drown. Those who believe with all their hateful hearts that they will swim will sink just as quickly as those of us who know full well they can’t.
We plunked our collective ass on the dock and took off our shoes around the time the Doublewide Don and Attorney General Bullfrog Richeliu (and I will keep making that joke until more than half of you admit it is an observation of unfettered brilliance, so just give in) loosed their ragtag alphabet soup of heavily armed agencies that are not the military or National Guard, their very own Keystone Gestapo, on a crowd of peaceful protesters, so that His Orange Eminence might boldly promenade a block or so and stand before a Church he does not attend, brandishing a book he could not read even if he’d ever thought to, which I promise you, he has not.
But that adventure in repression could have been a one-off. The ratings were not good, and for a while I personally hoped that they were so bad the production company would write off the pilot as a loss, and try a new show.
No such luck. Or just our luck, that for the first time in his wretched life, Donny doesn’t seem to care about the ratings. Maybe it’s because he’s finally old enough to see how close the closing credits are, but he seems to really believe in this series. He’s dreamed of shooting it his whole life. Right now, all that remains to be seen is if he’s got the balls to just push the pedal to the floor and pray the fog is obscuring a straight shot to the finish line and not a bridge abutment.
How many metaphors is that? One too many? Probably. OK, I’ll back up to the last one. Get it? “Back up?” Like I’m still on the speeding car in the fog metaphor? Aaaand here we are back at the last fork, the Reality TV series. It’s dizzying, what I do.
See, it strikes a personal nerve for me that Trump chose Portland to shoot the first regular season episode of America’s Got Fascism. HAH! Good one, right? I should have just gone with that. If only Google Docs had some sort of edit function. Oh, well.
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but we left before I turned two and I don’t remember it. I’m told we lived in Brooklyn for a little while, the Old Country, but I don’t remember that either. We moved to North Acton, Mass when I was four and my Dad was stationed at Fort Devens. Not long after, we set up shop in a crumbling, three-story Victorian in North Andover. I’m 58, and all the life I have solid memories of has been lived on the North Shore of Boston. It’s where I’m from as far as I’m concerned.
The only other place I ever called home was Portland Oregon, where I lived for three years in the early ’80s, taking my first shot at going to college. Spoiler, I didn’t make it. Simply put, I wasn’t smart enough and way too anxious to graduate from Reed College, but a lot of incredible things happened for me there. I made some of the best and most lasting friendships of my life, published so many cartoons in the school paper they vanity pressed a book and sold it in the college bookstore when I left, read (and performed) Alfred Jarry, Harold Pinter, and Sam Shepard for the first time, and learned to really, really hate the rain. Portland may not be the Nawth Shaw, but it holds a special place in my heart.
What’s happening there now breaks my heart, and that would be more than enough if I wasn’t relatively certain it’s just a dress rehearsal. Thugs and goons, doing the job the Army wouldn’t do for Trump. Refusing to identify themselves or even make a claim for their authority, and army of Cartmans firing tear gas and “Less Lethal” munitions at citizens who threaten our very way of life with the terrifying, anarchist weapon of graffiti, grabbing people off the street and shoving them into unmarked vans to be taken to secondary locations, an action generally described as kidnapping by the legitimate criminal justice system.
Isn’t this why the Bundy family and the Proud Boys and the Boogaloo bastards always said they needed military-grade hardware, so they could fight back if something like this ever happened? ‘Cause I haven’t seen them stepping up in Portland to water the tree of freedom with the blood of tyrants. If they’re there at all, it’s to mingle with the oppressors, talk a little shop on the finer points of being un-American.
Because when you see a country finally, at last rising up over police brutality and systemic racism, even in the face of a deadly pandemic, because enough is finally, at last, enough? And your response is a geometric escalation of police brutality and open, public, official racism? When your response to nationwide protests against the regular murder of African Americans by the police is to make Rose Garden speeches swearing to protect the sacred rights of STATUES and BUILDINGS? That’s not American.
You want to see the real American wading through the tear gas? See that flash yellow in the fog? It’s a Wall of Moms. A friggin’ WALL OF MOMS, in bicycle helmets and swim goggles, holding signs instead of assault rifles, linking their arms against dress-up, pretend soldiers with clubs and gas masks, running around city streets in camouflage they never earned designed for the hills and forests of Afghanistan.
Take note, Donald Trump: This is what a wall that works looks like, because when you assault it, all you come away with is video footage of your shame, a public record of grown men wiping themselves with the Constitution, on your orders.
Real America is your neighbors using those leaf blowers you always wanted to ring their necks over at 8am on a Sunday morning—not to make you and your dogs crazy, but to blow away clouds of tear gas. America is those unruly neighborhood street hockey kids who made it so hard to get the car out your driveway every autumn weekend, using their stick skills to slapshot tear gas canisters back at the fascists who launched them at you.
Those are the patriots. That is America The Beautiful, and in case you somehow didn’t notice, the harder you push, the more of them there are the next night.
President Grampy Mcrampy says things are going so well he’s bringing his road-show of oppression to Chicago and Albuquerque, where Bugs Bunny prophetically advised us we’d better take a left turn at, or be hopelessly lost. He’s threatening to deploy thousands of federal agents to every city with a liberal mayor, every state with a Democratic governor, a clear demonstration that whatever they were doing before this wasn’t really necessary and we can do just fine without it if it means violently keeping American citizens down.
In Portland, he has undeniably made things worse, even, maybe especially, from his own perspective. He went to “quell” the “riots”? There have been more people in the streets every night since he got there, and that’s what he’s going to get everywhere he shows up. Meet the Americans, Donald. Walls of Moms, Dads with leaf blowers, citizens with hockey sticks. Meet us, meet we.
We, the fucking people.
My CoviDiary 7/22/2020: President Trump’s Remarks on Operation Legend: The Subtext Version
BY MAX BURBANK | “Thank you. Thank you for being here today. It’s a really great honor for you. So, I’m going to talk slowly… and very softly… to indicate seriousness. And this is… very serious. It’s a… really important… moment as far as I’m concerned. My first duty as America’s president is to protect the American people and also to do whatever I want… whatever crosses my mind… That’s so important… and those are the same things, really. And I’ve been up to now… hampered by… people who… think they know better than me, which they don’t. No one does. Well, all of that’s over. A lot of the fake news polls look… pretty bad for me, and that’s a hoax, but the election is… soon. It’s real… real soon. So… Go big or go home, OK? OK? OK.
So in the last few… days… weeks… there’s been a growing… movement of… radical politicians and… others to dismantle and defund and abolish our policeman heroes. To vilify and abuse these beautiful, selfless, perfect white people with guns. And it’s convenient, because I can use that. I have to do what I want or every policeman in the country will be vaporized. Joe Biden will erase them from the timeline so they never existed and no one will be there to protect you when Mexican ANTIFA socialists come to rape and dismember your beautiful children with duct tape in the trunks of their cars in cities where Democratic mayors and governors have said yes to crime because they love it. Democrats love crime so much. And most of you know what I’m saying is crazy talk, but I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to those of you who think my loose cannon bullshit might benefit you, you might come out on top and I’ll never get around to killing you too, even though I will, if I live long enough. It’s a gamble, I guess, but you’re willing to take it. And then some of you are just dirt stupid and bugshit and would believe anything I say. Joe Biden’s dad let the devil have sex with his wife. Take off Joe Biden’s trousers, it’s goat legs. Goat legs. Thirty percent of you now believe that. That’s great. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Today, I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime. We’ll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation’s children, and bring violent perpetrators to justice. By which I mean, I’m finally declaring martial law, something that’s been the subject of all my wet dreams since I was twelve, and which any of you with even a piece of brain have known I would someday do if ever could talk myself into thinking I had half a chance to get away with it, and I have. I have talked myself into it. Go big or go home. Go big… or go home.
OK, so it’s not exactly Martial Law. Turns out the army would not go along with it. Some constitutional oath shit. That’s OK. They’ll pay. I don’t know what they think I’ve been pardoning war criminals for, but spoiler alert, as soon as I pardon a few more there’s gonna be a new joint chiefs of staff, OK? You took Martial Law away from Trump. Made Trump look stupid. Well, OK. We’ll see what I make you look like soon enough, OK? Well see who writes mean, nasty books then.
So not Martial Law exactly. Know what the next best thing to Martial Law is? Pretend Martial Law. Border Patrol? Prison guards? DEA? Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire Arms and Explosives? Yeah, they got explosives now too. You didn’t know that, did you? I did. You think I’m stupid, but I’m a fucking genius about what blows up and who has it. None of these guys are Army. They answer to me and Barr, who is the ONLY guy who gets me besides Miller, and I can’t be near him too long. He’s just… brrrr, know what I mean? He makes my skin crawl. Even mine. That’s bad, because I didn’t even know I could give a shit ‘till I met that guy. Anyway, put a little camo on these guys? Some helmets with night vision goggles? Same as Army. My army. And they’re scared and angry and racist and untrained and all ramped up so they could do anything at any moment. I love these guys. Did you see what they did to the moms? THE MOMS? They beat the moms with clubs. They tear gassed ‘em and they shoved ‘em and beat ‘em. These stupid, violent, dumb-ass bastards DO. NOT. CARE. Who needs the military? Fuck the military. They had their chance. These guys are perfect.
So that’s my message to America. Help is on the way! Help you did not ask for, help you did not want, help you are actively telling me not to send. Your mouths say “No”, but your eyes say you already know I don’t give two shits what you want. We are going to force help right down your throats. Because when across our great nation, so many cry out against police brutality and racism, the best help we can give them is secret police brutality and racism on a much, much larger scale. It’s like my Dad always said to me when I cried… “I’ll give you something to cry about, Donald.” He had a long belt with a very heavy buckle, and when he said “Help is on the way” he was talking about the buckle… well, America… “Help” is most surely on the way. Oh, you better believe I learned not to cry. You’ll learn too. Law and order, OK? OK. The long belt of the law came to Portland, and now it’s going to Chicago, and after that, who knows?
The politicians of the extreme radical left have endangered you long enough. Maybe you thought the fact that they were elected according to the laws, procedures and traditions of American Democracy meant something to me or that I understood the limits of what I am legally allowed to do as president. Let me assure you, I do not. I have less grasp on what my official powers are than most high school students, but I have something better than understanding. I know what I want. And I like to think the president can do whatever they want. And I’m pretty sure that’s the law and I don’t care if it isn’t, because I think that it is. And nothing anyone else thinks matters, because nothing anyone else thinks… is real. If I think it… that makes it… real.
So in closing, where others want what is bad, I want what is good. Where other politicians actively campaign for suffering and torture and want to pass laws that say whichever child you love most will be ground up into dog food and fed to a dog that is not even your dog, a strangers dog, I say things should be good for your children and they will be beautiful and not cryers. And you will all be rich, you will all be white, and I promise you that when I’m elected again every day of your life will be an orgasm from the moment you wake up and you won’t ever sleep again, just orgasm… and I think… I believe… enough of you are so stupid and greedy and honestly just maniac pigs with no will of your own that I’ll get away with this. Like I always have. I know things look pretty bad for me right now. But I’m gonna take one last big swing at it. One… last… really big swing. And if Trump goes down… I will sure as hell make you go with me.
But, you know, I’m super incompetent, I can barely read, I’m WAY overdue for a massive heart attack or stroke, and OH, I can’t stress this one enough, I’m less than half as smart as a wet bag of money shit, and that’s on a good day, so who knows?
So now Attorney General William Barr, who is a conniving, smug, self important, thing like if a monster witch and a bullfrog fucked and had a baby, and boring? SO boring! He’s going to talk at you and pretend to take questions and then say a bunch of complete shit which which he won’t even bother to make seem like answers. Because I hate you, and spending time with Barr is what you deserve. And while you all do that, I’m gonna go up to my room, take my pants off, watch TV, attempt a masturbation and eat fritos.”
My CoviDiary 7/20/2020: Civil War II: The Unrequested Sequel
BY MAX BURBANK | This is going to be the shortest entry since I started My CoviDiary. It’s just a single question I want to pose to you.
Earlier today, Homeland Security officials said they are making preparations to deploy federal agents to Chicago, as they have to Portland Oregon. President Trump threatened to send U.S. law enforcement personnel to other Democratic-led cities experiencing “spates of crime.” To be absolutely clear on where we are at with this: The vast majority of “crimes” in this “spate”–as listed in Homeland Security’s own documents–are graffiti.
So here’s my question:
Is the Republican party, the party of State’s Rights, really going to let Trump push it to the inevitable point where some state’s National Guard is going to have to stand off against AG Barr’s rag-tag, paramilitary assemblage of Marshalls, Prison guards, Customs agents, Border Patrol, ICE and who knows, TSA? Is this single God Damn orange leprechaun of hate so magically divisive he’ll get American troops to open fire on each other? Is the GOP willing to set America on fire simply because a man almost none of them like and even fewer respect can’t find any other way to feel legitimate?
Because the ball is in their court. Only Republicans or fate can stop this train now, and after Trump stuffed his morbidly obese ass and it’s concomitant body into a golf cart the American people paid him to rent himself and got out on the links two days running in 90 plus degree heat and DID NOT DIE… I think it’s pretty clear fate is not planning a nick of time rescue.
My CoviDiary 7/19/2020: What Even is Donald Trump?
BY MAX BURBANK | Okay, two quick things; I’m working on a bigger piece, but it’s taking some time and I want you to have something to read tonight.
So a few days ago. Trump, who has refused to unveil the official portrait of Barack Obama, had the portraits of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush removed from the grand foyer in the White House. Traditionally, the official portraits of the most recent presidents are given prominent placement, in the entrance of the executive mansion, visible to guests during official events. It’s also a location the current president has to pass through on a regular basis.
Know where they are now? The old family dining room. It’s not on the White House tour, so members of the public won’t be seeing them anymore. It’s not used as a private dining room, and hasn’t been in years, so Trump will never set eyes on them again. You know what it is used for? Primarily?
Table cloth storage. I shit you not. Barack Obama’s White house portrait still has the brown paper wrapping on it, and the two presidents before him will now spend all their time gazing down on large stacks of neatly folded table cloths.
They’ve been replaced by William McKinley, best known for being shot, and Theodore Roosevelt, arguably the president who would have been most viscerally revolted by everything about Trump.
So there’s that.
Today, Fox news aired an interview with the president, and without going into too much detail, I think it can be widely agreed,Chris Wallace grilled the living shit out of Trump, who came off looking like a gargantuan irritated toddler in a poorly fitting, off the rack suit from the Big n’ Tall store. Wallace fact checked Trump relentlessly, pointing out that he was lying when he said the US mortality rate for COVID-19 was “one of the lowest in the world.” On the subject of the cognitive test Trump has been incessantly bragging about lately, Wallace said he’d taken the test as well after hearing Trump’s boasts.
“It’s not the hardest test,” Wallace said. “They have a picture and it says, ‘What’s that?’ and it’s an elephant.”
Ouch. That’s the kind of burn that leaves a permanent mark.
Trump, obviously aware the interview had not gone well, threw a flailing hail mary pass at the conclusion.
“Let Biden sit through an interview like this,” said Trump, “He’ll be on the ground crying for mommy. He’ll say, ‘Mommy, mommy, please, take me home.’”
To which, in an astounding display of self control, Chris Wallace did not respond:
“Uh… Okay… so, listen, Mr. President… what the fuck is wrong with you?”
I feel like I need to point out I haven’t forgotten that the death toll for the Coronavirus stands at about 143,000, and that we still have no national testing oir tracing strategies, and that we aren’t going to. I haven’t forgotten that Trump for the most part seems to have lost interest in the entire subject. I haven’t forgotten that it’s been 23 days since news broke that the Russians have been paying the Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, and presumably still are, and that the president has had nothing to say on the matter, much less done anything about it. I understand that in comparison, moving presidential portraits into the table cloth storage room and saying Joe Biden would be on the ground crying for his mommy if he had to endure an interview with Chris Wallace, a thing it seems pretty likely he’s already done in some point in his 47-year career without crying for his mommy, are very small and inconsequential matters. It’s like the world is ending and I’m writing an essay about how the man in charge is wearing unflattering sandals over black suit socks.
But here’s my point. I’m not saying that the most salient thing about Trump is not that he’s a dangerous monster. It is, and he is. But what makes him so absolutely terrifying is that in addition… at his core… fundamentally… he’s a dick. Any headline about anything Trump has done as president could be followed by the words “Because he’s a dick”, and it will work. It will always make the headline more accurate. “Trump has recent White House presidential portraits moved out of sight… because he’s a dick.” “Trump claims Biden would cry for his mommy if interviewed by Chris Wallace… because he’s a dick.” “In response to falling poll numbers, Trump starts nuclear war… because he’s a dick.” Try it yourself. Take it out for a spin. You’ll see I’m right.
That’s where the true horror is. Not in Trump’s monstrousness, but in the way that monstrosity is inextricably intertwined with mundane, garden variety, run of the mill, grade school bully dickishness.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown is scary. But it’s that simple red balloon that makes him truly terrifying.
My CoviDiary 7/17/2020: We Have to Talk About Barron Some More
BY MAX BURBANK | Last Sunday, my CoviDiary entry was titled We Have To Talk About Barron, and if you haven’t read it, you should before you read this update. You know, for context. To access it, scroll down to the July 11 entry.
All caught up? Excellent. Now you hadn’t read it and you refuse to now, because like me, when anyone shoves a link under your nose you automatically go, “No, don’t tell me what to do, you can’t make me, I do what I want” because, hello, crippling psychological problems?.. I lost where I was. Anyway, the basic gist was Trump and company are insisting schools must open in the fall, like, physically, in real space, not online, screw the CDC; and Kayleigh McNinny was all, like, “We’re not gonna let mean ol’ science stop us from opening schools. And I thought, since they were demanding everyone send their kids to school despite all the kids who would get sick, some of whom would die, as would some of their teachers and school support staff and parents and grandparents, that if he was not just asking, but telling us to take on that risk… It was fair to ask if he was going to take on that risk. Seeing as he has a school age child.
While Trump hasn’t been asked that question, apparently someone dared ask Kellyanne Conway who responded, “That’s a personal decision. I don’t know what Barron’s school has decided and I certainly do not know what the first couple has decided in respect to their teenage son who I believe is entering high school this year.”
So basically, none of your bees wax. Exactly as predicted, the White House has no intention of letting you know what the Trumps plan to do about Barron’s education, although we know exactly what he’s going to try his hardest to make you do, up to and including defunding schools that don’t comply with his wishes. Apparently schools are a thing you can defund and it doesn’t mean that you want them abolished or that you are an ANTIFA Socialist MS-13 Mexican Caravan Witch Hunt.
I don’t want to brag, but I called it. And the reason I don’t want to brag is because, and I believe I’ve said this before, the only things I call are things that are blindingly obvious. Because I am insecure and fragile. OF COURSE the Trumps aren’t going to let you know what they are doing with Barron, because:
A.) Please! Trump may not be able to pick Barron out of a line-up, but Melania knows who the child is, it’s her only one. And there is no way she is sending her only child into a Coronavirus petri dish five days a week, and there is no fucking way that either Trump is going to let Barron be exposed to a potentially deadly virus and then COME BACK TO THE EXECUTIVE RESIDENCE like a Barron-shaped leather bag of virus EVERY DAY!
B.) If they say they ARE sending Barron back to physical school, to a lot of people it looks like they don’t care if he lives or dies, or that they value Dad’s re-election chances more than their child’s life, or hey, both.
C.) If they say they AREN’T sending Barron back to physical school, that they are having him home schooled, or that he’s attending class on line, well THAT’S gonna look like Barron inherited his dad’s bone-spurs, won’t it?
D.) As in “Duh,” they just aren’t going to say. “It’s a personal choice.” Sure, your family doesn’t get a personal choice but the Trumps do because they are oligarchs and you are non-player characters.
Now of course, we’re all going to find out what Barron does this September. We know what school he goes to, and whatever his dad thinks, Barron is not actually invisible. But that’s perfect. Because when some media outlet finally breaks the story of Barron’s attendance or lack thereof, the entire GOP can collectively light their hair on fire and start shrieking how DARE you violate the LONG RESPECTED NORM that children of the first family are NEVER dragged into the light of day, because they deserve a NORMAL LIFE and RESPECT for their PRIVACY unless their names are AMY CARTER or CHELSEA CLINTON! And the story becomes not whether Trump will share a risk he is vigorously trying to force on others, it’s the story of how the horrible ANTIFA Socialist MS-13 Mexican Caravan Witch Hunt Enemy Of The People Dems hate Trump so much they can’t even leave an innocent CHILD alone!
Win-win, right? Give that bloated kleptocrat with the corn silk comb-over and the jack-o-lantern face credit where credit is due. He is GOOD at taking a situation that accurately points out what a rat bastard he is and turning it around so it reflects poorly on you.
And NO Kellyanne, it is not “personal,” because if it’s “personal” for the Trumps, it’s “personal” for every family, which means Trump doesn’t get to say shit about whether anybody decides to take President Jim Jones seriously and risk their kids (and their own) lives in the ridiculous belief that it means they’re strong and unafraid and patriotic and in some demented way it might make Trump seem to be all of things too, enough to get him re-elected.
And NO, near future GOP dousing your heads in lighter fluid and stretching your shrieking muscles, no one has violated Barron Trump’s privacy, or made fun of him, or directed hate toward him. I would wager that no one to the left of Trump (and that’s most Americans) feels anything but sadness and sympathy for Barron. He didn’t choose one iota of any of this, but he’s going to pay for it the rest of his life.
Demanding the President have the balls to say whether or not he’s chosen to make his son face the same risk he’s making you take with your kids has nothing to do with Barron. It has everything to do with his Donald and Melania. He’s fourteen. He doesn’t get to make choices about what he’s doing for education. Those choices get made for him by his parents.
Because they are the adults.
And for once in his life, Donald Trump must be cornered and forced to act like one.
My CoviDiary 7/15/2020: Highlights from the President’s Rose Garden Speech on China, Verbatim, Totally Not Altered by Me at All, Okay, Maybe a Little, But Less Than You’d Think
BY MAX BURBANK | (AUTHOR’S NOTE: Sections in italics are ACTUAL VERBATIM QUOTES from the OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT. All italicized sections are 100% Trump)
It’s not too hot, right? But it’s pretty warm. Thank you. So we’ve had a big day in the stock market. Things are coming back and they’re coming back very rapidly. A lot sooner than people thought. People are feeling good about our country. People are feeling good about therapeutics and possible vaccines, but we’re going to go over quite a bit and maybe at the end, we’ll take some questions if we have time. It’s pretty hot out but not too hot. It’s OK, right? OK. Today, I signed legislation and an executive order to hold China accountable for its oppressive actions against the people of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which I signed this afternoon, passed unanimously through Congress. Because… China. And Hong… Kong. We’ve all watched. Not good. Not good. Very bad what’s happening. Not a good situation and their freedom has been taken away. China has crushed the beautiful Hong Kongers freedoms so badly, it’s very bad and the Jhinese have to be sanctioned. And we’re going to do a lot more business because of it, because we just lost one competitor. It’s the way it is. We lost a very, very serious competitor. We’ll do so well from this. It’s very good for us. So I’m holding China accountable. Is it too hot? It’s not too hot. Shuh-Ina is so bad. And Joe Biden loves Jhina. He loves it so much. His whole life. Joe Biden… he loves Communist China. He wants to marry it…
Hoo-way. Hoo-way. That is a big security risk. For the 5G. With the… Jhinese… tech. I talked many countries out of using it. You want to do business with us, no, no, you can’t if the Hoo-way is in… in your… if you buy and put the parts in the 5G from Hoo… No. I talked so many countries out of using it. Just today I believe the UK announced they are not going to be using it, so England and… many other countries. Of which England is the one I am naming. Italy? France? Turkey? Fremen…ista… vakia? Those are names of countries. Many people didn’t know that. And look at Germany. That’s a country too. So we withdrew from the Chinese dominated WHO and we fully rebuilt the United States military. The WHO, World Health Organization, we were paying close to $500 million a year. Juh-China? $39 million. Maybe. Probably less, we don’t know. $10 Million. Five. And China had too much say, they worked it very hard, which is a bad thing done by our past administrations. Joe Biden. But we were tough and we were saying, I was asking, I said, “Why are we paying so much more than China? Every president before me let China bend ‘em over, I said hey, no, not any more, not on my watch, me, me, I’m big, I’m the big one. No more. Over. No. Screw you. I’m not paying for that. What, these light fixtures? I didn’t sign off on that. Never seen ‘em before. What am I building, a whore house? Those light fixtures? Prove it. I’m not paying a cent. That’s right. I’ll see you in court… China.
So many illegals, no one has an exact count, because it’s too many, it can’t be counted, it depends. It depends on how you count them, but, what? 325 million? 350? 4.2 billion?And the World Trade is terrible, that deal is terrible. The World Health is a terrible deal. We’ve been very tough on the World Trade Organization and we’ve been, I guess, as tough as you can get on World Health. We withdrew our money. We told them we’re getting out. It doesn’t mean that someday we won’t go back in. Maybe we will when it’s correctly run, but they made a lot of bad predictions and they said a lot of bad things about what to do and how to do it and they turned out to be wrong. And they were really a puppet of China. So World Trade, World Health, they both have the word “world” in them, right? A lot of people confuse them. Not me. But they both have the word “world” and the Jainese used them to screw us. No more. There’s a new sheriff in town and that sheriff’s name is me.
So Joe Biden… supported China being gotten into the World Trade Organization. Probably the only reason they got in. A lot of people were very against it, but Joe Biden was like, no, they are in. They are in. I’ve been talking about it for a very long time and many other subjects. Joe Biden supported China’s entry into the World Trade Organization. One of the greatest geopolitical and economic disasters in world history. The world has never recovered. Never. You think we’d have Thunderdome if Joe Biden never put China in the WTP? Two men enter, how many leave? One? Three? Fifteen? You don’t know, It can’t be known anymore. Because of Sleepy Joe Biden’s creepy love affair with Communist China. It’s been going on so long. Joe Biden made modern China. Biden personally led the effort to give China permanent, most favored nation status, which is a tremendous advantage for a country to have. Few countries have it. But the United States doesn’t have it. Never did, probably never even asked for it because they didn’t know what they were doing. It never occurred to Biden to give us most favored nation trading status with us. He gave it to them. We never had most favorite nation trading status with ourselves until I gave it to us. But Joe Biden gave it to Juh-Hinah. Gave it to them like a foreign girl at a disco who was definitely at least 18. Come on. They didn’t even let you into studio 54 if you weren’t 18. Everybody knows that. It was all very legal and beautiful.
Make no mistake, Ghynna did the virus to us. They could have stopped it. They should have stopped it. Why didn’t they? Who knows. A lot of people are saying maybe it could be because they want Joe Biden to be president. Maybe it’s true. I’m so tough on them. Nobody has very been tougher. And they know Biden loves them. He’s honorary Chinese because he gave them The World Trade and then he said “while you’re there, why not do the WHO? Just take over the WHO and we’ll pay for it but you run it.” Hundreds of Billions of dollars were taken out of this country by Joe Biden and given to the Jie-nese and he said “Here. Build Jai-nuh with this. Do infrastructure. This is all of our infrastructure money, I’m the Vice President, I totally have the authority to just take it from us and give it to you”. He did that. Joe Biden did that. And he said “Oh and Jienuh? I’m doing all this, number one, to screw America, and number two, because I’m in love with Communist Jiena. So in love. I just kiss. I don’t ask.”
So Joe Biden said, “We can’t do infrastructure, I gave that money to Juh-HY-na because I’m dating them. We can’t fix any bridges.” Why didn’t he fix them? Tens of thousands of bridges are in disrepair and on the verge of collapse. Well, that’s probably not a right number, but we have bridges that should have been fixed. Why didn’t he fix him? He was here for eight years with President Obama. Why didn’t they fix them? Tens of thousands of bridges.
Joe Biden allowed Jynah to pillage our factories, which they did until I stopped them. I did that. I did. I did. Me. Me, me, me, I stopped what Joe Biden let Jienuh do, Big Trump, so… robust. So strongly robust. By myself, alone, I said “No. You don’t do that anymore, I’m trade warring you.” Boom. It’s over. Trump is here. And they cried.
Now, the Democrat party is calling for defunding of our military, think of that.
Defunding, they want to defund our military when China is building a massive military. They’re building a massive military and Biden wants to defund our military and the world needs American strength right now, more than ever. And the fake news media is saying “No! No, Mr. President, sir, the Democrats never said that. The Police! It’s the police they want to defund.” What a terrible lie. Everyone saw Joe Biden go on TV and say “Sure with the defunding the Police, absolutely, but also the military! Defund them! No more military! OK?” we have the most incredible military. When I came in the military was totally depleted. It was at a level that was just absolutely incredible. You know the statements, I made the statements before. I told you what generals told me about our military and I’ll make them again.If somebody needs them, we’ll give them to you. Very well documented.
Joe Biden was very, very vocal, very, about opposing my very strict travel ban on Jienese nationals to stop the spread of the Jinah virus. Which I did. The spread was stopped. No spread. OK, some people have died. But without my travel ban, it would be who knows, 2, maybe 3, possibly 7 or 12 million dead. 15 million dead, can you imagine? I saved 21 million lives. A thank you would be nice, but OK, I’m OK. No one in human history has ever been treated so unfairly. Did Jesus save 42 million American lives? Nothing bad about Jesus, Jesus is good, he’s terrific, but he didn’t save 117 million beautiful American lives. Trump did that. Trump saved 2 billion lives. The experts were so against the banning, but I said “Do it.” and it was done. 7.5 billion saved lives. By Trump. So we’re at 135,000, which is terrible. One is too much, but we would have had millions of people dead from this curse that came at us, but we did what we had to do. And now we’ll put out the flames as it happens. We have to get the schools open. We have to get everything open. A lot of people don’t want to do that for political reasons, not for other reasons.
Look, don’t test. If you don’t test, you don’t get positives. That’s just a fact. It’s so simple. Half the testing, half the cases. No testing, no cases. And I might do it. We’re looking at doing that very strongly. And we have total authority. So tomorrow I could do an executive order, sign it, Jai-neeze virus gone. And the lame stream media would find some way to say ending the virus and re-opening America was a bad thing I did… So much hate. They hate me so much. I could cure the virus tomorrow, but they hate me too much. So if you can’t stop the testing, just at least slow it down. Slow it down, guys, OK? Or how’s this, let’s get the CDC out of the picture. Those guys, right? They said it would go away in April. “Open up for Easter sir, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s all done.” So get ‘em out. Test, don’t test, whatever, just send the data to me. I’ll take care of it. And you watch, the numbers will go down like it’s magic. Then one day all gone. Way quicker than anyone could imagine. Like with the AIDS vaccine. But for people who don’t do sex wrong. Is it hot in here? Is it too hot for this? I’m OK.
Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden. Hunter… Biden. Where is Hunter Biden, by the way? Is he hiding? Get it? Hunter Hiding? No, wait, “Hidin’ Hunter Biden.” That’s it! That’s the nickname. I think I just won the election. But where is Hunter Biden? No one knows. No one knows. It’s very quiet on the Hunter Biden… situation. It’s not terrific. So what is he? He has no qualifications to do anything. It’s documented he cannot do anything except he’s the Vice President’s son, so his only job skill is he’s related to someone. Who hires someone when that’s the only reason? That is so wrong. Sick. It’s sick. To do that. So Burisma? Burisma? Hidin’ Hunter Biden walks away with 1.5… billion dollars. 1.5… Billion. Walks away. I asked a very big guy on wall street, the biggest maybe a lot of people would say, and it’s totally random that I’m not telling you his name, that doesn’t mean anything, this actually happened and the man whose name I never said is so real, he’s very strongly real… I said to him, I said “Big Wall Street Man, could this happen? Is there any legitimate way Hunter Biden walks away with 1.5… billion dollars?” And this actual person who exists outside of my imagination and who is, a lot of people will tell you, the biggest man in the history of Wall Street, he says… “No.”… no… just… no. And then he called me sir. Many times. And this big, tough, wall street guy… had tears… in his eyes. Because Hunter Biden is the actual Satan. He’s the actual King of Hell and he wants to take your soul and set you on fire horribly for eternity. Two eternities. Maybe three.
OK, so Joe Biden wants to… destroy the economy totally. No money. All gone. He wants to abolish the police, disband the army. Abolish immigration detention, no detention for even the most illegal liens on earth. MS-13 can come right in, they get a driver’s license, a social security card, a whole beautiful book of meal vouchers, whatever they want. And they are told that we will never deport no matter what they do, they can find your home in Middle America and wrap you up in duct tape and torture your beautiful children in the trunk of their car, and so much rape. So strongly. Think about that. Think about it. I think about it. I think about it all the time. Duct tape. Beautiful, American, human… limbs… strapped with so much… duct tape… it is so hot today, don’t you think? I’m… I’m… my head feels… I’m fine. It’s fine. I could do this for days. It’s just a little hot, though.
Stop all deportations, OK? That’s the Biden plan. Make all crimes legal. The purge. No more suburbs. Suburbs are forbidden. Cows? No cows. Meat eating is over. And you can’t let them flatulate! “No sir, President Biden, we have outlawed cow flatulation!” NO WINDOWS! Biden is gonna outlaw windows. Second Amendment? Kiss it goodbye! No guns. No one can have guns. You got a favorite pair of pants? Joe Biden will come to YOUR PERSONAL DOOR and strip those pants right off you… what else?.. Incentivize illegal alien child smuggling. Give it an incentive because if you look at what they’re saying, that’s exactly what they do. Incentivize illegal alien child smuggling. They’re incentivized by what this plan calls for. And some people are just so sick they think that’s hot. To… incentivize… children. Like they’re in a beauty pageant, and they have closed the door against you… but you just… push. It’s like magic. And you see… everything…like magic. By incentivizing. Like Joe Biden lusts to do… on Juh-Yie-Nah.
MAN, it’s like I’m in a ROTISSERIE up here! What is it, like 700 degrees out? I’m SOAKING! I’m fine. It’s fine. So where was I? OH! Joe Biden, I call him sleepy, JOE BIDEN OK? Joe Biden shoves a living baby monkey UP. HIS. ASS… EVERY FOUR HOURS like CLOCKWORK, OK? And they DIE UP THERE! He knows they can’t live up there! And he does it for JUH-HUH-GINA!! This is so well known! Everyone has known it for years, In DC they say, they say “You don’t have any more chance than a Joe Biden Ass-monkey!” that’s a saying that many beltway people say when you don’t stand a CHANCE! Like, say you want to build a really big building in another country but you have NO MONEY and all your collateral is Casinos that have ALREADY GONE BUST! And the banker guys who used to LOVE you, now it’s all “Joe Biden’s Ass-monkey to you!” They say that to TRUMP! TO TRUMP! CHRIST, ARE WE MOVING CLOSER TO THE SUN OR WHAT?! SHUT IT OFF! SHUT… IT… OFF!!! I’m… I’m not even half done here… we haven’t even gotten to “Lock her up.”…
Well, we have agreements with Honduras, Guatemala, with El Salvador, we have great agreements where when Biden and Obama used to bring killers out, they would say, “Don’t bring them back to our country. We don’t want them.” Well, we have to, we don’t want them. They wouldn’t take them. Now with us, they take them. Someday I’ll tell you why. Someday I’ll tell you why, but they take them and they take them very gladly. They used to bring them out and they wouldn’t even let the airplanes land if they brought them back by airplanes. They wouldn’t let the buses into their country. They said, “We don’t want them.” They said no, but they entered our country illegally. And they’re murderers, they’re killers in some cases. And they said, “Nope, we don’t want them.” They turned the bus around. They turned the plane around that land in the United States and who knows what happened to him, but it wasn’t good… Is anyone feeling light headed besides me? I am sweating like a pig doing push ups. Is anybody hungry? I feel like… lunch was… a long time ago.
WAH-HOOOOOONKH!! WAH…HAWNK-UH-HAWNK!! That’s… big TRUCK SOUNDS! You pull… you pull the hammer down it goes WOOOOOOOOOOOOONKH! WOOOOO-AWNK!… I… love… TRUCKS!… Big boy gets a big truck. BANG, HUNTER BIDEN! BANG WITH THE TRUCK!!
If it’s Biden, everybody has to wear two masks all the time! Close the prisons! Give every convicted murderer a leg of lamb! Punch every white person in the throat! Officially! Registered! With a card! To show you got your throat punch! Everyone is a full citizen except people who already were and now YOU GUYS are the Mexicans and you get your PINKY chopped off and you have to wear it around your neck. That’s your ID. Every car in a car crusher! NO CARS! And if you’re caught saying the flag is good, BOOM! Joe Biden will personally slam your nuts in a car door. HE SAID HE WOULD! HE SAID IT SO RED HANDED!
Probably there has never been a time, and this is just a few. It’s much worse than that. We did this very quickly.
So if Biden were to win, which he won’t, but if he did, everyone on earth would die horribly, so much pain, very bad, and then they would come back to life just to die even more horribly and you can’t even imagine over and over and as you’re dying horribly for the millionth time you can hear Joe Biden saying “Everyone is just dying over and over from now on because of me, Jienuh, so now we can finally have sex which is the only thing I have ever wanted and why I did everything I did.” And then you die horribly, over and over, forever, listening to Joe Biden doing sex ro Jai-ner. If he wins, which he won’t, because the silent Majority. OK, so we have time for a few questions… I’ll take questions now… hello?… It’s kind of dark, isn’t it? It’s cooler, but it’s dark. No questions? OANN, no questions? Jared, why are all the seats empty? Jared?
Joe… Bidden… Ass-monkey… Truck! Truck… Cold…. cold now. N’ hungry. HAMBERDERS!… Trump… ‘lone. Trumpy… hate ‘lone. Cold now. IVANKA!… ‘Vanky…
My CoviDiary 7/13/2020: The Silent Majority?
BY MAX BURBANK | This morning, the president, who spent both weekend days golfing because that’s what you do as the commander in chief during the one of the greatest disasters our country has ever faced, tweeted the following:
“The Silent Majority will reign!”
It wasn’t novel. He’s been tweeting that or some variant of it for over a month now, regularly. Sometimes he’ll tweet about the Silent Majority and then a few hours later retweets his own tweet. And he always capitalizes it, like it’s the name of a team, like maybe this is what The Washington Redskins are going to change their name to, The Washington Silent Majority.
I don’t think (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) I’ve commented on it, but I’m going to rectify that tonight, because it has stuck in my craw every time he’s done it. “Craw” is another word for “Crop”, which is a thin-walled, expanded portion of the alimentary tract used for the storage of food prior to digestion. This anatomical structure is not found in humans, but can be found in a wide variety of animals, particularly birds, but also invertebrates, including gastropods, earthworms, insects, and yes, leeches. I do not like being made to feel as if I have the digestive tract of a bird or leech; I like even less feeling as if something is stuck in there, and I deeply resent any person who has engendered that feeling in me.
It’s a short tweet, a single sentence, but it does a lot of heavy lifting in that it is both blindingly stupid and thoroughly wrong in multiple ways. So let’s take a moment, shall we, to examine it, and let’s address Mister Trump directly as befits the person who has made me feel as if I have the interior structure of a GOD DAMN LEECH!
A.) None of your supporters are silent.
That is an absurd statement. Your people are known for a great many things; Idiocy, cognitive dissonance, racism, an inherent belief in their racial and genetic superiority despite in many cases being painfully unpleasant to behold and displaying all the tell-tale physical signs of inbreeding, intolerance, hatefulness, violence, a shocking eagerness to be conned, rudeness and an a collective death wish that would make the followers of Jim Jones say “well, hey, now, let’s maybe slow down a think a little.” One of the very few things they are never known for is silence. No one has ever said “You know, many Trump enthusiasts are passionately devoted to the president, but they just don’t like to talk about it.”
B.) Your supporters are not a majority.
This may come as a surprise to you, but the word “majority” actually has an agreed to meaning. You lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by over three million votes. I want to be clear, I liked Ms. Clinton. I thought she was an excellent candidate and would have made a wonderful president. But a lot of people didn’t feel that way. Hillary Clinton is often described as being unlikeable. Plenty of people didn’t like her. I can’t stress this enough, they liked you less. In very large numbers. Furthermore, your average approval rating is 40%. That is to say, less than 50%, which is half of 100%. Do you know the definition of the word “majority”? It means “more than half of the total.” The majority of people DON’T APPROVE OF YOU and have not during the entire time you’ve been president. In short, your supporters cannot accurately be described as either “silent” or a “majority.”
C.) “The Silent Majority” is a phrase with a very poor pedigree.
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Mr. President…. politely… what the FUCK is it with you and the Nixon shit? “Silent Majority”, “LAW & ORDER”, Roger fucking Stone, It’s like you don’t have any idea who Richard Nixon was! He’s the ONLY president in American history who had to RESIGN IN DISGRACE because he was a CRIMINAL! His name is synonymous with shame and failure, and he came closer to destroying the Republican party than anyone until YOU! WHY ARE YOU QUOTING HIM?! It’s like a more specifically personal version of your embarrassing perpetual boner for the Confederacy, the side that LOST the Civil War! THEY LOST because LIKE NIXON they were AWFUL, they crashed and burned leaving behind a lingering stench of smoldering hair, boiled flop sweat and carbonized bile. You know who emulates shit like that? You. You do. Because there’s simply no underestimating what a complete, slack jawed, self impressed, shaved orangutan in a poorly fitted, off-the-rack suit you are.
D.) No one “reigns” in America. We fought a revolution about that.
Hump the flag all you like, it’s clear you have no idea what it stands for. As a nation we often fall short of it’s promise. Maybe mostly. But the actual majority of Americans have some inkling of the values it symbolizes. They remember enough of their grade school history to know that suggesting that any group or person might “reign” is fundamentally unAmerican.
Invoking the “Silent Majority” is like saying, “Hey, folks; I’m an appalling boob and my game plan is to fail spectacularly while causing as much collateral damage and dragging down as many people with me as I possibly can.”
Who knows. If the font is tiny enough, you might even be able to get all of that on one of your pin-head covering red caps.
My CoviDiary 7/11/2020: We Have to Talk About Barron
BY MAX BURBANK | Folks. Seriously, I hate doing this. That’s not a set-up for a joke, I’m not being ironic, like “Oh, I hate to do this.” But I feel like we have to. I feel like the time has inescapably arrived where Barron Trump has to be dragged into this.
I know, I know, we’re not supposed to do that, he’s a kid, he’s off limits. And for the most part, leaving Barron out of it is just about the only norm of decency people have abided by, and yes, that’s one sided, why would Republicans drag Barron? They wouldn’t, but they would LOVE it if a Democrat did, they would go one hundred percent, hair on fire, APESHIT and die of happiness. It’s a wonder none of them have even tried to goad some poor bastard into making an unkind observation about the first child. And I am NOT here to be the first one to do that, I promise you. I am small potatoes, but if I seriously dragged that kid, I think even I would be big news in short order.
I am not here to make fun of him, not in any way, not even as collateral damage. I have nothing but sympathy for the appalling vulnerability of his position. The last time I felt this way about a kid was Suri frikkin’ Cruise, who I thought had just about zero chance for any sort of happiness in life, and clearly she’s got Barron beat all to hell in the life-might-yet-hold-an-instant-of-happiness-for-me contest.
But here’s the thing. Barron Trump is 14 years old. He is school-aged. Donald and Melania Trump have a school-aged son. And Donald is absolutely adamant in his position that schools are going to re-open for in person, physical attendance this September, never mind that’s entirely outside the scope of his authority. And in that capacity, (and I swear, no other) that kid is on the table. And at this point no one is willing to put him on the table, but he’s on it and he needs to be on it and not putting him right on it as the fucking ornamental centerpiece of where we are at right now is just a total abdication of responsibility. So I’m sorry, and I can’t believe I’m the one doing it, and who knows, maybe in the 48 hours between when I started writing this and when it gets posted someone else will have stepped in and done it, but onto the table he goes.
Because whatever Barron Trump ends up doing vis-a-vis his education come the fall semester is no longer a personal family choice. It’s fucking national semiotics.
If you want to take a moment and look the word “semiotics” up, you can. It’s the kind of word you think you know what it means but then somebody asks you, and you try to tell them and you find out you haven’t got a clue what it means. Words like “Semiotics” are why Barron’s dad had to hire someone to take the SAT’s for him, but to be fair so were words like “Ameliorate” and “bicameral” and “Cat.” I only said I wasn’t gonna make fun of Barron. I never said I’d lay off his father. ‘Case that dude is an orange, morbidly obese, human-shaped pinata that when you smack it with a stick? You’re gonna wish you were cosplaying the Gordon’s Fisherman. That ain’t candy, and you should not under any circumstances eat any of it, and the smell is gonna linger and it is surely gonna stain most fabrics.
Seriously, what are they going to do with that kid? There’s no good answer because there’s no good answer for what happens to any school-aged kid come September, but it’s worse with Barron, because whatever they decide to do means something. Whatever he ends up doing, it’s not a choice, it’s a message and it’s information and the very fact that it can’t be just what he does is so monstrously unfair to this kid, I just want to puke, but that is just the unfortunate way it is.
Here’s some sobering stats from American journalist and a New York Times bestselling author, Kurt Eichenwald: “57 million kids attend schools. Assume a ridiculously low infection rate of 2% – that’s 1,140,000 children sick. Assume a death rate of 0.5%. That’s almost 6,000 dead children. Like two 9/11s, with just kids.” And this doesn’t even beg the question of what happens to the teachers, the administrators, the janitors, and lunch ladies who are significantly more vulnerable than the kids, or the family members all these kids will be coming home to every day; This is what we are asking for educators and staff who will not only NOT be receiving combat pay, they will almost certainly be cutting into what money they do make to buy fucking PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] on top of the glue sticks and construction paper they’ve already been paying out of pocket for. And that is a scenario leaning towards best case!
I’d give the rest of Eichenwald’s thread, but take my word, it gets way darker, and my goal here isn’t to drive anyone into perfectly reasonable despair about the insane bullshit this administration isn’t just suggesting, but demanding. My goal is rather to get people to ask, repeatedly and loudly, what about Barron? Are the Trumps sending Barron back to school in September? Are they sticking their personal, flesh and blood actual child in that lottery, or is he going to somehow acquire the equivalent of the family bone spurs?
They don’t have to, and I want to be clear, nobody has to, no matter what Trump says. They can’t make you. Don’t do it. If your local school isn’t offering online classes (and the administration is already “considering” withdrawing any federal assistance from schools that even offer an online option) tell ‘em your homeschooling your kids, and if you don’t have the resources, time or emotional fortitude to actually do that, DON’T. This administration couldn’t find it’s own collective ass with a map, a compass and a Sherpa guide, they sure as hell aren’t going to be able to get it together to round up truants. Putting our kid’s education on hold for a year is terrible, but it beats the shit out of some of the alternatives.
Of course Trump knows that a lot of folks aren’t going to have any good choices. If the GOP has its way, unemployment is going to be running out. If you want to eat and pay the rent or mortgage you’ll have to work, and who the hell is going to watch the kids if you keep them home? They own the screws, and they have made no secret of the fact they intend to put them to you, so again, ask the Trumps, just how are YOU going to navigate this situation with your kid!?
Barron currently attends St. Andrew’s Prep School for the Children of the Grotesquely Privileged, which has an endowment large enough for the children to take turns swimming through coins like Scrooge McDuck, and you can be certain there will be maximum distancing and sanitation on a level most schools would never be able to manage, but it’s still a crap shoot if they send him there, so will they? If so, at least they are engaging in a version of the risk they expect of every other American family with a school age child. Of course they’d also be saying “I have no problem risking my kid’s life in order to make things seem more normal when they totally aren’t because somehow I think it might increase my chances of getting re-elected.” And Trump doesn’t have to worry about Barron passing on the virus to him, because unlike most parents, I’m relatively certain Trump rarely sees his kid and when he does is always at very least six feet away.
But maybe they won’t send Barron to school. Hell, they could afford the best tutors on earth and dress them in spacesuits if they wanted to. Think they couldn’t find an excuse for that? Trump just cancelled a rally in New Hampshire ‘cause it might RAIN! They can just say it’s a security risk, they don’t want to endanger the other students! Hell, he already says that about why he doesn’t ever go to church! But if he does do that, he’ll have to recon with the message it sends that, like LAW & ORDER, that shit is for you, not for him!
But we need to ask, every reporter needs to suck it up and ask, over and over, what are you doing with Barron, and while we are on the subject, what are Jarred and Ivanka doing with their kids, what is Jr. doing with his kids, what is Boy Tiffany doing with his kids? And yes, the entire GOP death cult machine will go into overdrive, they will scream “HOW DARE YOU MENTION THE EXISTENCE OF OUR CHILDREN, that is BEYOND THE PALE, that is MEXICAN CARAVAN, SOCIALIST, ANTIFA, BLACK LIVES MATTER, TREASON!!,” but gird your fucking loins and insist on an answer!
Because if we don’t, if we don’t say, “Hey! I seem to remember you have a 14-year-old child named Barron Trump. What’s up with him this September? What’s he going to be doing?” Not only are they not going to send him, my guess is they won’t say shit about it. Barron is already a ghost in the White House, and I guarantee he’ll be less than that when the school year starts.
The Trumps make a practice of demanding sacrifice, not engaging in it, but I’m pretty certain they don’t want to draw attention to that fact one month from the election. It’s anybody’s guess if Donald even knows who the kid is, but Melania seems to have some attachment to her only offspring. She might not be willing to go full Abraham on him just because Trump imagines himself Yaweh.
They told us what they require us to do with our kids. They have to be made to tell us what they are doing with theirs.
My CoviDiary 7/08/2020: Me and Brooke Shields
BY MAX BURBANK | Listen. It’s late and I’m tired. Nothing has happened today that begs to be written about, or more honestly, of course things have happened today out in the wide world, but they are complicated and would require much research and I don’t have it in me. As for my interior life, nothing much has happened that cries out to be written down. It is a great disappointment to me that the apocalypse, now that it’s come, is so mundane and slow, though when and if it does speed up and get more dramatic I’m sure I’ll feel a great deal of nostalgia for moments like this. All of which is to say I have nothing much to say.
So instead, I’m going to tell you a story from my past, a true story which you have my word I have not embellished for dramatic or humorous purposes. No poetic license will be taken. It’s a story I’ve told before, so if you’ve known me for a long time, you might have heard it before, either straight out of my mouth or as words on a screen. It takes place in a time before screens, but I never got around to telling it back when actual words got written or typed onto physical paper, but I could have. If you’ve heard this one, I’m sure I’m sorry, but I’m not young, and I fully intend to tell the same stories over and over, and with steadily increasing frequency.
It was at least 40 years ago. I was in prep school, and if you have not known me long enough to know I went to prep school, I hope you are surprised. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed, I just hope I am the sort of middle aged man about whom people do not think “You know that dude was a prep school boy. It’s all over him.” But It’s true. I spent my teens in a blazer and turtleneck, because the only other option was a shirt and tie, and I hate having my top button buttoned. I think I must have been hung by the neck until dead in some previous life, as anything touching my throat gives me the hallibalutions, which is of course neither her nor there.
Whatever year it was, Brooke Shields was preparing to star in The Blue Lagoon, a movie in which she would play a castaway blossoming into young womanhood. And the studio had, in its wisdom, decided that the young man who would play opposite her as they frolicked about in their tropical paradise and threw their nearly naked young bodies into and out of the sea on the regular while coming of age and discovering love in complete Hobbesian, state-of-nature type innocence, should be an unknown. A fresh face. The movie would be starring Brooke Shields and introducing…
And so a nation wide, much publicized talent search was begun, and casting agents were sent hither and yon to interview and audition young men of talent who had yet to work professionally, and one of them came to the school I attended. They had sent advance instructions that any young men who had evidenced a strong interest in theater should be rounded up and brought to see them, and at my school that was me. I do not recall who else was invited, but I know I was the only student who had been in a production every semester, sometimes more than one. I was that kid, believe me.
I was, as you might imagine, quite excited, not just at the possibility of being in a movie. You see, I was entirely devoted to Ms. Shields. I had seen every one of her movies since “Pretty Baby”, which was directed by Louis Malle and nominated for two Oscars, thank you very much, because at 16, I was very sophisticated in my tastes, an image of myself I cling to and which you might well accept as long as you don’t look up a plot summary online. If you do, please gently remember, no 16-year-old boy is anything to write home about. I also owned “The Brooke Book”, which not only contained a number of photographs, but her short stories, poetry and musings as well. As a cultural artifact which I now recall better than I’d like to because Internet, it’s more than a little bit alarming, but that’s retrospect for you, and I think it’s worth recalling that almost everything about the 70s is best remembered hazily when remembered at all. It was a different time, and by different I mean in many respects shameful and icky, but at the time of this story I was not looking back on it, I was existing in it. We also wore a lot of velour. It’s not as if where we are now is anything to be proud of.
As the day of my interview approached, I can’t say I felt confident, I most certainly did not, but nor was I overwhelmed by my general anxiety, and I’ll tell you why. I had an almost magical bit of synchronicity on my side. A virtual talisman of coincidence.
You see the prep school I attended? Was “Brooks.”
And the school newspaper, for which I wrote frequently? “The Shield.”
“The Brooks Shield.” Oh, yes. Destiny, right?
And while I understood this was in no way a lock, it was certainly suggestive. I mean, how could any publicist pass that kind of gold up?
So while I was not cocky, (at that point in my life I could no more have been cocky than I could have rode to my audition on the back of a magical, wish granting unicorn that I myself had pooped out immediately after breakfast), I walked with what I imagined was just a hint of swagger, although it probably looked more like I had some sort of mild neurological disorder.
And I opened the door to the Headmaster’s office, because that was the sort of school Brooks was, it was a school with a Headmaster, and this meeting was so important it was taking place in his office. And before the Headmaster could even introduce us, the casting agent looked up, saw me, and said:
“Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. That’s not what we meant.”
It’s the kind of event you remember the rest of your life with intense specificity. He said “No” exactly eight times.
A young gentleman by the name of Christopher Atkins got the role, and if you Google his image, not just 16, but at any point in his entire life up to and including the present day, I think you’ll see why. In the trailer for the film, immediately following a shot of him holding a spear, standing ankle deep in the ocean, wearing nothing but a tan and a loincloth, the narrator says, “He is like a young god sprung from the sea.” Having seen myself in a bathing suit, I was forced to agree with the results of the audition.
My CoviDiary 7/06/2020: A Tale of Two Tweets: Bubba vs. Donald
BY MAX BURBANK | I’m sure this is going to come as a shock to all of you, but I’ve been in Twitter jail once or twice. I can’t tell you what I crime I committed, they don’t tell you what you’ve done specifically. That’s pretty dumb, ‘cause how is a person supposed to mend their ways when they don’t know what ways need mending? It’s not just mysterious and opaque, it’s counterproductive. I can tell you what I did just before I got notified that some of my “functions” had been “limited,” or however the hell they put it.
I called Donald Trump, the president of the United States, a “Whiny little bitch.” It wasn’t the first time I’d ever done it. But this time, I hit “Tweet” and BOOM! The hammer came down. Who knows, maybe it was for something else entirely and the timing was coincidental. They don’t let you know this shit. They’re the Greek Gods of social media. Capricious, cryptic and whimsical. And to be honest, I don’t even know what Trump tweet it was that made me feel like pointing out he was a whiny little bitch was the appropriate response.
It doesn’t matter, because whatever that Tweet was, that’s not the one I want to talk about.
I want to talk about this one, from earlier today.
“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!”
In case you haven’t been following this story, Bubba Wallace is NASCAR’s only full-time African American driver. Bubba was instrumental in getting NASCAR to ban confederate flags at their events. He also found a noose hanging in his garage. I don’t think I need to spell out to anyone who’s already inclined to read my stuff why that’s bad, what it means, and why it would be perceived as a threat.
The FBI investigated and found no hate crime had been committed because the rope, which had been tied into a noose and used as a garage door pull, had been in that particular garage since October.
Let’s clarify a few things. Wallace wasn’t the one who first saw the noose, and he wasn’t the person who reported it. And no one, including the FBI disputes that the rope was tied in a noose.
So Wallace, not to put too fine a point on it, has shit all nothing to apologize for, and it’s absurd, outlandish and racist for Trump to demand an apology. I say racist, because Trump didn’t ask whoever reported it to apologize (and whoever they were, there’s no reason for them to apologize either), he asked NASCAR’s only black driver to apologize. It should be noted that Trump, who even his closest allies agree has said some pretty egregious shit in his career, has never to my knowledge, ever apologized for anything in his entire life. He’s on record as saying that you should never apologize for anything because it makes you look weak, but he regularly demands other people apologize, because he’s something of a whiny little bitch.
In addition, the FBI did not say the noose incident was a hoax. The word “hoax” has a meaning, and it isn’t “Any statement Donald Trump doesn’t like.” A hoax is malicious deception. No one but Trump has suggested any of this was a deception, deliberate, malicious or otherwise.
As to Trump’s claim that this “Hoax” and the “Flag decision” had caused NASCAR’s “lowest ratings EVER!,” Fox Sports executive Michael Mulvihill noted on Twitter that the circuit’s viewership on Fox’s networks is up more than 8 percent since the sport returned from its Coronavirus related hiatus in May.
So if you were Bubba Wallace, don’t you think Trump’s ugly, racist little tweet might make you mad? Don’t you think Bubba would have been justified in calling the president a “Whiny little bitch?” I sure do.
But that’s not what he did.
I want to make clear, I know absolutely nothing about NASCAR. I’m not much of a sports guy, and I don’t get auto racing at all. I’m not saying there’s nothing there, look at the size of the fan base, obviously there’s something there. I’m saying I don’t understand it. At all. I’m not a big Football fan, but I can follow what’s going on. Auto racing? There’s cars and they go round and round and somehow one of them gets to the end before the others. That’s me describing something I clearly don’t understand. Here’s what I do understand: Bubba Wallace is a better man than I am. He’s more mature, he has more self control, he’s certainly nicer and he clearly has a better idea of what the big picture is than I do. I know this because of how he responded to Trump’s tweet:
“To the next generation and little ones following my foot steps..
Your words and actions will always be held to a higher standard than others. You have to be prepared for that. You don’t learn these things in school. You learn them from trials and tribulations, the ups and downs this crazy world provides. You will always have people testing you. Seeing if they can knock you off your pedestal. I encourage you to keep your head held high and walk proudly on the path you have chosen. Never let anybody tell you can’t do something! God put us all here for a reason. Find that reason and be proud of it and work your tails off every day towards it! All the haters are doing is elevating your voice and platform to much greater heights!
Last thing, always deal with the hate being thrown at you with LOVE! Love over hate every day. Love should come naturally as people are TAUGHT to hate.
Even when it’s HATE from the POTUS..
Two Tweets. Two visions of who we can be as Americans. Donald Trump and Bubba Wallace. One of those visions encourages us to respond to hate with love. The other says, be a whiny little bitch.
I’m not gonna say which is which, or which you should pick.
I don’t feel like I need to.
My CoviDiary 7/05/2020: Yeezy for Prezzy
BY MAX BURBANK | Last night on Twitter, while everyone and their damn cousin was setting off cheap-ass fireworks non-stop for ten hours, Kanye West announced on Twitter that he is throwing his hat in the ring and running for president. Which is weird, because his hat is a red, made-in-China, MAGA cap.
Never mind that he’s on record as being all in for Trump, nevermind that the president invited him to the oval office where Kanye joyfully said the word “Motherfucker” (something only Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson had ever done before, although collectively between them they said it 216,428 times), nevermind he’s missed all of the filing dates and can’t even get on the ballot in many states, nevermind that he might be kidding or having an episode or that his tweet may well have been an autocorrect fail of “Ye got such a craving for Cheese Curds right now”, because it’s on.
It’s only been a few hours and he’s already been endorsed by Elon Musk and Mark Cuban, so he’s locked up the rich, white asshole vote.
In more than one platform in the social medias the kids are all about today, I’ve seen people ask “Who had Kanye running for President in 2020 on their apocalypse Bingo card?”
Not because I’m an awesome prognosticator or super talented at Bingo strategies (though I am both of those things), but because Kanye TOLD US he was going to run for president in 2020 five years ago.
In 2015, Kanye West was presented the Video Vanguard lifetime-achievement honor at the MTV Video Music Awards by TAYLOR SWIFT. Remember how that was the kind of thing that passed for super crazy back in those innocent times? He wrapped up a bizarre, nearly incomprehensible acceptance speech that felt like it ran about nine hours by declaring: “And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
I was so taken with his speech, I wrote a piece about it, one of the ones where I take an actual transcript and rewrite it, leaving much of the original language intact but messing around with it, adding delightful “wisecracks” and generally trying to reveal the subtext of what I think they meant, and then I claim it’s what they actually said, inevitably resulting in some readers asking “OMG, did they really say that?!”. It’s possible the fact I tend to use this technique with people like Kanye, Trump, Giuliani and other word salad enthusiasts has something to do with the confusion.
So, here’s my version of Kanye’s VMA speech. I’ve edited it slightly from my original 2015 draft, and I want to add a caveat about Miley Cyrus for context. Miley was at the awards and this was during her rebellious “I’m not a little Disney Kid anymore, I’m all grown up which means I take a lot of drugs and talk a lot about taking a lot of drugs and I’m mostly naked a lot of the time and I stick my tongue way out almost any time a camera is on me” phase. During Kanye’s speech, the camera cut to Miley a LOT as she mugged and made weird, seemingly random faces, gestures and poses. In the intervening years, she has entirely pulled herself together to the point where it’s hard to even remember just how in your face bonkers she was. I feel the need to mention this because my mockery of her leans toward cruel and I feel it needs context. In addition, as a card carrying member of the white patriarchy, I think it’s important I place our official seal of approval on her successful rehabilitation. Good for you, Ms. Cyrus. The caucasian middle aged men of America find your behavior acceptable.
As an extra treat, if your memory has failed you, or you didn’t pay very much attention in 2015, and you want to refresh your memory of Kanye’s actual words and be shocked and amazed at how little I changed, you can watch his rambling, 11-minute speech by clicking on the words “rambling 11-minute speech.”
KANYE WEST’S 2015 VMA ACCEPTANCE SPEECH TRANSCRIPT VERBATIM, TOTALLY UNEDITED BY ME AND NOR ALTERED OR ADDED TO IN ANY WAY BY ME, SCOUTS HONOR, OK, I WAS NEVER A SCOUT AND MAYBE I CHANGED IT A LITTLE.
Bro. Bro. Listen to the kids.
(Two minutes thunderous applause. Kanye nodding seriously)
First of all, thank you Taylor Swift for being so gracious and awarding me this award from you. Thank you.
(One minute pause, Kanye looking down, thoughtful)
And I often think back to the first day I met you, also, Taylor Swift. You know, I think about it when I’m in the grocery story with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice… not… with my daughter. I discuss it with… some other person that’s there… you know…and at the end they say, “Oh, you know a lot about juice, you are… well versed… on juice, so I guess… you’re not as bad as I thought you were ever since that time you interrupted Taylor Swift !”
(One minute thunderous applause. Kanye nods, looks down, pooches out lower lip defiantly)
I think on it sometimes. It crosses my mind when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. Or a Basketball game. And people boo me. Or I’m stopped at a red light and the person in the next car is all booing me and shit. It crosses my mind a little bit that the booing is on account of that one time I got up on stage and stood in front of Taylor Swift while she was doing something or getting something. ‘Cause I cannot think of a single other thing I have ever done that would make people boo me. I mean, they don’t actually say “Kanye, I am booing you at this red light ‘cause of how mean you were that one time to Taylor Swift”, but what else, right? Why the hell else would anybody ever boo Kanye?
(One minute pause. Miley Cyrus sticks tongue out.)
And I think, If I had to do it all again, what would I had done? Would I have drank a half of bottle of Hennessy and gave the rest of it to the audience? Y’all know you drank that bottle too. A small portion of you all in the audience taking a sip off my bottle is ethically identical to me being so drunk at an award show I didn’t know or care if I was supposed to be on stage or not. The fact that I’m the only one in the whole audience who got up on that stage when they weren’t supposed to was… what now? What’s that thing where one thing happens and another does after it, but the two got nothing in common? Consequence? A Conference? I don’t know. If I had a daughter at that time, would I had went onstage and grabbed the mic from someone else’s daughter, which I assume Taylor Swift is? I have a daughter of my own now, right, but if like there was this time machine? And I got in it to the past? But my daughter went into the future and came back grown up? And she was getting’ an award and somebody… somebody got on stage an… an said, like, “Okay, but somebody besides you shoulda got hat award, ain’t your TIME MACHINE ENOUGH FOR YOU, KANYE’S DAUGHTER?”… I’da killed that son of a bitch. Talk to my daughter that way.
(One and a half minute pause. Kanye looks confused.)
LISTEN TO THE KIDS, BRO!
(Four minute thunderous applause, Kanye looking down. Kanye looks briefly to the side. Five minute pause)
Forgot what I was saying.
(Two minute pause)
The problem was the contradiction. The contradiction is, I do fight for artists. But in the fighting I did that one time when I am supposed to have disrespected Ms. Taylor Swift, I somehow was disrespectful to all artists, of which she is supposedly one of them. I didn’t know how to say the right thing, the perfect thing. But one thing I am sure of is, it was time for me to say SOME thing. I have no doubt at all that it was totally appropriate for me to get up on stage at that moment and say stuff. Maybe not that stuff, but going up on stage right then? You know, I felt like I wanted to, I had the desire to, so I was supposed to, right? I just… I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and Cee-Lo lose. And bro, Justin, not to put you on blast, but I saw that man in tears, bro. You know? He lost and he cried. Right in public. And I was thinking like, he deserved to win Album of The Year! No one wants to see Justin Timberlake cry like a cub scout with a skinned knee! That’s some embarrassing shit, Justin! Give Justin the damn award so he won’t cry! I can’t look at a ex-Mouskteer cry! He was in the Mouseketeers at one time… right? Did I get that wrong? Was that someone else?
(Seventeen minute pause. Miley Cyrus sticks out tongue, a full three inches more than the last time.)
Sometimes I feel like all this shit they run about beef and all that? Sometimes I feel like I died for the artist’s opinion. You know, like Jesus? Like how he died for… something or other? He really died, but I feel like I metamorphically died, for being all mean to Taylor Swift that ONE TIME. So I’m pretty much the same as Jesus, except he didn’t sing and I DO! I died for the artist to be able to still have an opinion, even after they were successful. An’ people boo me and shit ‘cause I had the temerity to not be all quiet and all “Oh, thank you thank you for making me famous, I’ll be good now, I won’t speak my mind no more!” Well I did speak my mind, right in front of oh so pretty miss Taylor Swift and Ya’ll CRUCIFIED ME with your booing and shit! At Basketball games… and when I’m… talking… about juice… to people.
(Thunderous applause. Three minute pause. Kanye crouches and broods.)
I’m not no politician, bro! Listen to the kids! Hear that? Hear that yelling and hollering and clapping? It mean the KIDS are right, and anyone who isn’t hollering and clapping about me is WRONG! About ME! Wrong about that ONE DAMN TIME I did that thing while Taylor Swift was standing there! This is an APOLOGY!… I’m doing something… I’m doing something here. I think I’m… doing… something.
You know how many times MTV ran that footage? Of me standing in front of Taylor Swift that one time? Did anybody ever think maybe she was standing behind me? Everybody rerun Kanye’s ‘bad behavior’. ‘Cause it get them more ratings! You know how many times they announced Taylor Swift was going to give me this award because it got them more ratings? Why you think MTV got Taylor Swift to give me this award? For the IRONY?! I did one tiny little thing and MTV EXPLOITED IT! That’s UNBELIEVABLE! That’s some UNBELIEVABLE SHIT! That’s one thing I would NEVER do! Exploit something… for like, money… or attention… that’s some bad MTV shit! Kanye just wants to talk to people at the supermarket about Juice! Why you wanna get in the way of Kanye discussin’ juice with folks, MTV?
(Thirty second pause. Miley Cyrus stick a foot and half of tongue out, makes Popeye face. )
LISTEN TO THE KIDS, BRO!
(Seven minutes, seventeen seconds thunderous applause. Kanye looks down, turns his back, squats, stands up, cocks head, lies face down on floor, gets up with back to the audience, pits head down, eventually turns around again.)
I still don’t understand awards shows. What is that? Like… on a T?… with people getting… nominated… and shit? For an… an award?… for some thing? I think that’s what an award show is. I know it ain’t no sitcom. ‘Cause a sitcom got a laugh track. It’s kind of like… Entertainment Tonight? Right? But it’s… you know… happening? At the time?… Like… live?…I guess that’s what an award show is. I don’t know, I still don’t get it.
(Two minute pause. Kanye touches various parts of his head.)
I don’t understand how they get five people who worked their entire life, sold records, sold tickets, to come, stand on… a carpet and… and for the first time in their lives be judged on a chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser? That don’t happen in art! People don’t judge art! If you do a concert, or, or… some other kind of… art… people don’t… You make a painting, nobody judge that painting!
(Thirty-five second pause)
I don’t understand it bro!
(Fifteen second pause, which seems like much longer, but is only fifteen seconds.)
LISTEN TO THE… Listen to the…
(Ten second super uncomfortable pause)
(One minute thunderous applause. Kanye tilts head all the way back, opens mouth, works jaw around. Miley Cyrus sticks out 7.5 inches of tongue, makes several complicated hand motions indicating and in the vicinity of her genitals.)
I don’t understand when the biggest album or the biggest video… I still don’t…I feel conflicted bro! I just wanted people to like me more. Stop booing me sometimes. You have to like me, it’s not okay for you to not like me even if I do stuff that’s unlikeable, that’s not what it’s about! You… people… are… REQUIRED to like me… all the time! Irregaardless!
(Thunderous applause have only just begun when Kanye interrupts.)
But fuck that, bro! 2015! That’s what the date is! I know that! It says so right on my WATCH! I will die for the art and for what I believe in. Like Jesus, IN CASE YOU FORGOT! I know I told you you had to like me and I don’t want no booing and shit, but that don’t mean I ain’t TOTALLY ready to die for my art! Just… you know… not literally. And the art… ain’t always going to be… polite. See, I’m the art… you get that, right? So I don’t have to be… polite… and shit. So whatever the hell I did to Taylor Swift that one time was JUST FINE, OKAY?! Y’all need to let it go. Kanye let that beef go. Long time ago. Kanye never even thinks about it. Don’t even know why we’re talking about that Taylor Swift beef. That beef NEVER crosses Kanye’s mind! Why you even gotta bring it up, ruin this evening when I’m getting my award! What kind of mother fucker ruins a moment when a artist get’s an award?! How DARE you?!
(One minute pause)
Y’all might be thinking right now, I wonder, did he smoke something before he came out here?” The answer is yes, I rolled up a lil somethin’! I knocked the edge off! Did I snort something? Why not? It’s a free country, right? Did Kanye put some of that airplane glue in a brown paper bag and stick his head in it before coming up here? What, is that against the law, now?… to do… that… Before… before… getting’ up in front of… cameras… and shit?
(Three minute silent pause, followed by sudden violent, thunderous standing ovation. Miley unrolls four feet of tongue and stamps on it repeatedly.)
I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, bro. I don’t know… I don’t know anything… like… at all. Like if you ask me, “Kanye, how do you… like, mow a lawn? or shit?… I would not know! And neither would you! Nobody knows anything! An’ I can tell you that ‘cause I’m the geniusest!
(One minute pause. Miley Cyrus is going to stick her tongue out, but Kanye points at her angrily and she freezes like a small animal a bigger animal is going to eat.)
But all I can say to my artists, my fellow artists. Just worry how you feel at the time, man. Just worry about how you feel.
(Thunderous applause, audience jumping up and down, many wetting themselves)
I believe in myself. We the millennials, bro. This is a new mentality. We are not going to control our kids with brands. Kanye is not about brands! We’re not going to teach low self-esteem and hate to our kids. We’re going to teach our kids that they can be somethin’. We going to teach our We going to teach our kids to believe in themselves. If my grandfather was here right now, I would be terrified, because that man has been dead for years!
(Seventeen minutes of applause so thunderous, several heads explode like in the movie ‘Scanners’. Miley Cyrus’ head explodes and her headless body stumbles comically around stage with a shop vac, milking laughs while she sucks up her head remains and then opens the shop vac, takes out the bag, places it on her head and a seven foot tall LGBTQ activist on stilts wearing day glow tartan rushes from the wings and sticks googly eyes on the bag and Miley presents her with an oversized novelty check with the words ‘YA’LL BEEN APPROPRIATED, SUCKA!’ In the memo.)
I don’t know what I’m gonna lose after this. It don’t matter though, because it ain’t about me… Wait, I said that wrong, it’s about me, I’M ACCEPTING AN AWARD HERE, JUST BECAUSE KANYE BAGGED ON THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF ARTISTS WINNING THINGS, WHAT DID YOU THINK? Thought I was gonna… what… turn it down? Shit! Kanye is not… Marlon fuckin’ Brando! Marlin Brando… right… was Superman’s DAD! Kanye is YEEZUS! THAT beats the FUCK out of fuckin’ JOR-EL any God damn fuckin’ DAY!
(Three minute pause. Audience loosens ties, whipes sweat off collective brow, smokes, falls asleep, wakes up and shamefully walks home in the clothes it wore the night before because it doesn’t even have cab fare and it sure as hell isn’t waking up whoever the hell it went home with to ask for money for a CAB!)
It’s about ideas, bro. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth.
And yes. As you probably could’ve guessed by this moment. I have decided in 2020 to run for president.
(Thirty second Pause.)
‘Cause you people will believe in any old shit. Seriously.
(mic drop. Seventeen straight hours of thunderous applause as people beat their hands to hamburger like pulp until one by one they die from blood loss. Miley Cyrus sticks out tongue. Lights fade to black Cut to commercial)
My CoviDiary 7/03/2020: The Universe Speaks Directly to Me, or How I fought Superman on Twitter
BY MAX BURBANK | Usually I deal with news that’s happening right now. That’s the whole point of a diary, to chronicle the day-to-day events of life. But two days ago I stumbled across a story that, although quite old, was simply too fascinating to ignore. It’s from February, before I even started My CoviDiary, absolutely ancient history in Trump time, but bear with me and you’ll see not just why I felt I had to examine it, but how, almost miraculously, events transpired that made it into something that indeed happened TODAY. Well, yesterday. This took a little bit longer to research and write than I initially bargained on.
Just trust me. Come on this ride with me.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — 2/27/2020, CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) Think Comic-Con, but instead of fans cosplaying superheroes and anime characters, everyone is dressed as the American flag, and in many cases violating flag code by putting the flag way too close to body parts the flag wants nothing to do with. And for big celebrity draws, instead of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, you get Tucker Carlson and the pretty lady from OANN who can mostly hide her Russian accent. Got it?
But wait! Plot twist! Thursday, after the lunch break, attendees are treated to…real celebrities? Sort of? Like, what passes for Hollywood folks if you think Scott Baio is a Hollywood folk? And they’re doing a staged reading of an original play. I know, right? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess a staged reading has never happened at CPAC before. It’s like if you went to the auto show and before you could go see the concept cars there was an Opera.
It gets super weird from here on in, so instead of describing it myself, I’m going to quote Business Insider, to create the maximum tension between dry journalism and a reality it’s describing that’s like if you took a fistful of questionably sourced mushrooms and binge watched a week of The Bold and the Beautiful on fast forward while running a cheese grater over your forehead.
“The Conservative Political Action Conference’s Thursday afternoon session kicked off with a staging of FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers, a play based on the texts between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page that have become something of an obsession to President Donald Trump and his supporters.”
In case the perpetual firehose of bullshit that is the news cycle during the Trump administration made you forget, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were FBI agents who worked on the Mueller investigation. They were removed from the investigation by Mueller when he became aware of criticisms of Trump contained in personal text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page during the course of their extramarital affair. Trump has repeatedly insisted that the content of these texts proves beyond doubt the existence of a “deep state” conspiracy initially intended to keep him from winning the presidency and continued after he ‘won’ in an attempt to remove him from office. Trump’s singular focus on the texts led to a real contender for the biggest national embarrassment and most uncomfortable moment of his tenure, when, at a 2019 rally in Minneapolis, Trump read the texts aloud, voicing both Strzok and Page, culminating in Trump pretending to be Page having an orgasm. This is arguably the only time a sitting president has stood before a large crowd and simulated climax, unless you count that one time with our 21st president, Chester Alan Arthur, a particularly seedy and lurid event that I just made up just now for the purposes of this joke.
Perhaps this event (Trump’s public fake orgasm, not Chester Alan Arthur’s made up public fake orgasm) was the inspiration that led Phelim MacAleer (a name I did not make up) , an Irish Documentary filmmaker, to write the play. In any case, someone brought it to Trump’s attention and the president was quite enamored with it, and hey presto, post lunch entertainment for the CPAC nerds.
But wait. It gets weirder. That’s pretty much the theme of this story, it charts ever weirder the entire time. Remember I said the performance provided it’s audience with what passes for celebrities with the ultra right wing white supremacist crowd?
Page was played by Kristy Swanson. If you don’t know who that is, it’s OK, I do, but only because I’m a sinkhole of useless trivia. She’s the person who played Buffy the Vampire Slayer who is neither Sarah Michelle Gellar nor in any way successful. You may or may not know that BTVS (I’m a huge fan, so I can deploy that acronym) was a 1992 movie before it was a TV series, probably because the series was a critical success with a sizable cult following and the movie… isn’t. It’s got good stuff in it. Paul “Pee-Wee Herman” Rubens is the head vampire and he’s awesome, and Luke Perry is in it, being all… you know… Luke Perry. But The film’s held back by Kristy Swanson being really pretty terrible as Buffy. And that was kind of the high point of her career. She also played Catherine “Cathy” Dollanganger in the film adaptation of V. C. Andrews‘ Flowers in the Attic, but that’s a whole other horrid, dank rabbithole for another time. She also dated Alan Thicke when she was 17 and he was… really old, and they were briefly engaged, so… uh… yuck? At some point her life long Republicanism was radicalized and she became a huge Trump supporter, mostly by way of ranty, quasi-literate Twitter posts. Here’s a cute representative Tweet from this Thursday:
“So, there’s a Black national anthem? Can someone please let American’s know what the White national anthem is? And the Brown national anthem too? Any other Colors of national anthems would be helpful also. Asking for an American Nation.”
If there’s drawer with the sharpest knife in it, it’s not Kristy Swanson. She says she got death threats after appearing in FBI Lovebirds, but I think if it’s true, they probably come from her being generally God-awful.
Strzok was played by Dean Cain. Not the Dean Cain that invented the Segway, the Dean Cain who played Superman. No idea who he is? Don’t worry, sinkhole here. Let me be your Google of pointless knowledge. Dean Cain starred opposite Teri Hatcher in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, from 1993 to 1997. It was popular, not BTVS popular, it doesn’t have an acronym, but hey, it lasted four seasons so… actually plenty of crap lasts four seasons on TV. It was not good. A lot of actors have portrayed Superman over the years. Cain is nobody’s favorite and a whole lot of people’s least favorite. He had way more of a career than Swanson, but his most recent acting credit was two years ago, and it was an infomercial for a company that tries to get people to attend meetings where they can learn about flipping houses. In 2016 he endorsed Donald Trump. Here’s a quote on the subject:
“I am fully pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-full equality. But there should be equality of opportunity, not of outcome. I’m not a Republican. I am an independent. I vote for the candidate I like best.”
Remember that knife drawer we were talking about? Pretty clearly Cain’s not in it either.
Hey, how much free time do you have? I ask because I have a real treat for you, depending on how loosely you define that word. You do not have to imagine how teeth grindingly awful “FBI Lovebirds” starring Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson is. Because the entire performance is on YouTube. Right here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCutKd11kjg&feature=youtu.be.
You’re welcome. Or, I’m sorry. Whichever seems most appropriate.
But stick with me. This is only the halfway point in my story, a story I told you only goes in one direction, and that’s toward weirder.
So it’s yesterday morning, July 2. And it’s important that you know that while Dean Cain is on my mind because I’m researching FBI Lovebirds, as it’s a hilarious story and I’m determined to write about it, this is a pretty rare occurrence. I do not have occasion to think about Dean Cain very often. I know who he is, but only because I have a lifelong interest in comic books, their history and their place in pop culture. Dean Cain is a teensy little foot note in that area of interest. I maybe watched one or two episodes of Lois & Clark, and that says something right there, because there was precious little superhero TV in the early nineties. To give you an idea of just how starved I was for superhero TV, the X-Men cartoon was running at the same time and I fucking loved that show. I devoured every episode, and while for it’s time and compared to other TV comic adaptations it was good, that’s the only way in which it was good. I know a lot of people have a soft spot for it, hell, I do, but go watch it. It’s wildly overwrought and the voice acting is shameful. The point is, for me not to have watched Lois & Clark, it had to have been pretty close to unwatchable. My point is, Dean Cain occupies very little space in my brain. If he came to mind once every five years, I’d be surprised.
So imagine my surprise when I got on Twitter yesterday, and one of the first things I see is a tweet about Dean Cain. “Well,” thought I, “That’s an odd bit of synchronicity isn’t it? Me thinking about Dean Cain, a thing I rarely if ever do, and here, coincidentally is a story about Dean Cain being interviewed on Fox.”
Because apparently there was Op-ed in “Time” magazine, the gist of which is that while folks are re-evaluating TV and movies centered around the police in the light of the nationwide confrontation with racism and police brutality we are currently in the midst of, shouldn’t we be re-evaluating superhero movies and TV as well? And naturally Fox News wanted someone to say something stupid and reactionary in response to that, So they needed a right-wing, Trump friendly, idiot with some connection to superhero culture, which pretty much narrows it down to Dean Cain.
So here’s this Tweet with a video of his interview, and the text says “Dean Cain responds to writer’s call to reexamine how superheroes are portrayed on TV.” Full disclosure, I didn’t watch the interview until quite a bit later, but I know Dean’s a Trumper, it’s Fox news, so he absolutely has to have said something stupid, and it has to be about Superman, because there is just no reason to interview Dean Cain in this circumstance for any other reason. (Sidebar: When I eventually got around to watching the interview, it turns out Dean mostly talk about how 99.9 percent of cops are selfless heroes, and a pretty big chunk about Paw Patrol, because I guess some folks think it needs to be re-evaluated ‘cause it features puppies that are police officers, and he honestly only says one sentence about Superman, and sre, it’s stupid, but it’s just one sentwnce.) Further full disclosure, I am something of a habitual Twitter asshole (@max_Burbank, follow me, I’m very needy) in that I primarily use the platform to make jokes, mostly political, at other people’s expense. So I immediately respond:
“Can someone let Dean Cain know that Superman was LITERALLY an illegal alien?”
Ha ha ha, right? Because Donald Trump hates immigrants, and routinely weaponizes racism by stirring up fear and hatred of undocumented immigrants and Superman is a literal alien in that he’s from frikkin’ KRYPTON. I can craft a joke like that right off the top of my head because I am a professional comedian, well known to be reliably hilarious.
And not five minutes later, Dean Cain, the actual Dean Cain, @RealDeanCain, blue check mark and all, RESPONDS, Tweeting:
“No, he wasn’t. See FOUNDLING LAW in Kansas in the 1930’s.”
And my head EXPLODES with delight! Because Dean Cain may be a D-list celebrity, but I am a No-list freelance political comedy writer, a former actor, and a lifelong comic book fan, and I am now in actual touch with a celebrity Trumper who PLAYED SUPERMAN ON TV and I am going to get to not just make fun of him, I am going to get to make fun of him TO HIM!
I know that’s small. I do not care. The heart wants what the heart wants and I am not ashamed because I am just as God made me.
And, and, AND, more than that, look at that tweet! It’s gorgeous! Because CLEARLY this is a subject Dean has THOUGHT ABOUT! He had the whole Kansas foundling law thing right at his disposal! See, Superman debuted in 1939, and even if you’re not a fan, you know the basic deal because it’s part of the culture; Last son of Krypton, rocketed as an infant from that doomed world, he crash lands in the field of Jonathan and Martha Kent in KANSAS! Never mind that Superman is a full grown adult in 1939, and so 1930s Foundling laws would have nothing to do with him, I don’t even know if there’s any such thing as a Kansas foundling law anyway, nor do I care ,because that in no way changes my bliss level over the fact that Dean Cain has the idea primed and ready to go at a moments notice, so quick as a whip, I respond:
“First of all I’m not wasting time fact checking you. Second, I’m pretty sure the foundling law applies to humans. Superman was created by the children of immigrant Jews and fought the Klan. I promise you, he is not a Republican…There is no legal path to US citizenship for extraterrestrials, not in Kansas, not anywhere, not ever. Our greatest fictional hero was a refugee fleeing environmental collapse, and his social security number is a violation of the law.”
And Dean Cain, the actual blue check mark Dean Cain who played Superman on TV responds to me AGAIN :
“What party led the Klan?”
Not, “Why do you assume that Republicans are racists?,” not “Who said anything about Republicans at all?,” but the absolute, by wrote, Fox News, moron Trumper, boilerplate response whenever the KKK comes up “Well, the Klan was founded by Democrats” which is kind of like saying “I’m an idiot and I don’t understand a blessed thing about history or politics and I heard someone say a thing one time and I thought it meant something so I’m repeating it.”
So I tweeted
“Yeah the Republicans were the party of Lincoln once, too. That’s been over since before Nixon peeled off the Dixiecrats.”
Because, you know, I’m nothing if not the kind of person for whom it is very important to make certain that Dean Cain understands I am very smart, historically literate and politically savvy.
Mr. Cain did not respond again and I have not heard from him since. I desperately wanted to needle him and see if I might provoke further interaction, but I resisted the temptation as I felt it could pollute what had been an entirely authentic and organic experience.
I know, the end of this story is something of an anticlimax, and for that I apologize. At some point in the future I’m sure I will retool this story with more erudite and hysterical tweets from me and an ending that is funny, poignant, thematically satisfying and largely fictional, but I wanted you to know how it actually happened. Don’t think that will stop me from fictionalizing it to my advantage in the future. I have already told you I will.
But think about it. Think of all the traffic on Twitter. Think of how random it was that I had quite accidentally stumbled across the story of FBI Lovebirds, featuring Dean Cain, a man who has not been in the spotlight in two decades, a story so odd, entertaining and politically absurd that I was determined to write about it. Think of the astronomical chances against stumbling over ANOTHER, totally unrelated Dean Cain story, the VERY NEXT DAY after honestly not thinking of Dean Cain in any way in I don’t know how many years. Now estimate the odds that on top of all that, in the vast ocean of snarky-ass Twitter comments that Fox News interview must surely have generated, the actual Dean Cain read mine and engaged me, placing him in the position of becoming my involuntary straight man in the sort of exchange that passes for humor with me. What are the chances?
I refuse to accept any explanation other than that the universe was sending me a personal message. What that message means is beyond me, but I do not care, because the Universe is a divine mystery, and the purpose of mystery is not to be understood, it is to be experienced.
Miracles surround us if we but only see them. Mine was small, unimportant, odd, unlikely and unlovely but I love it, I find it ennobling and I cherish it.
And with that I say, whatever bitches, and goodnight.
My CoviDiary 7/01/2020: A Trick You Can Only Do Once
BY MAX BURBANK | Way back on March 18, I began this project, and I told you that while it was my intention to write every day, that was not a promise. I did write every day for quite a while, and I could easily go back and check and see what day was the first one I missed, and how long it was before I missed one again, and how long it was before I missed two days in a row. But you know what? If you care (and I’m not assuming you do) you can go back and look, too.
My point is, it’s 11:25 right now and I’m just starting this and when I stop I’ll need time to wind down and watch an episode of Enterprise on my computer because that’s what I’m watching before I fall asleep right now. I didn’t watch it when it was first aired, and it’s grown on me, but I’m not wild about it. Let’s just say I like it better than Voyager and leave it at that. I tried to watch it when it was new, but I couldn’t get past the theme song which made me want to barf and still does, but now I can skip it, thank Christ. I inevitably end up hearing some, and any is way more than enough. The lyrics are garbage and why they didn’t know a Star Trek theme ought not to have lyrics is beyond m. A Star Trek theme is an instrumental, not a fucking pop song. If I had to guess, I’d blame Brannon Braga, who wrote the worst episodes of Next Generation and was all over Voyager like a cheap suit, and although I know nothing at all about him, I have decided to saddle him with all my Star Trek-related disappointments. It’s a pretty much random choice, but so what, I’m a free man and can do whatever I want, Brannon, and it’s a fact you have an irritating, pretentious first name, so suck it. At least they didn’t use the Rod Stewart cover for the theme and for that I suppose I should be grateful. Faith of the Heart. “Faith of my ass,” more like.
So I digress, but in my very first My CoviDiary entry (I’m back on track now, stop complaining) I spent a great deal of time writing about how I had, solely on my own authority, declared 3/18/2020 to be international Robert Goulet day, so if you didn’t get right off the bat that I have trouble maintaining focus, that’s on you.
What I’m saying is, I can’t do this every day. I never said I would, and I haven’t been anyway, and I don’t know why I feel I need to explain myself, but here we are, so stop interrupting and just for god sakes listen.
I didn’t think ALL THIS would go on for so long. It’s JULY! I thought quarantine or lockdown or social distancing or whatever you want to call this shit show would last a month, tops.
This is not me saying I’m quitting, I’m not, this is me acknowledging that I haven’t been writing daily and I’m not going to be. That’s me. I wax and wane. Sometimes I feel like I’m a giant wine skin of stories and all I have to do is pull the plug and they pour out forever. And sometimes I think there is not one damn thing in me that’s worth turning into words. Writing is the height of arrogance. It’s an assumption that people are dying to listen to you. And you have to believe that’s true, because when you don’t, you can’t write. I spent a lot of my life on stage, and that’s something you truly can’t do without an audience, because as I have told every acting student I ever had, acting for no one is just behavior.
When I got to the point in my life that I was no longer made of free time and utterly without adult-type responsibilities, and could no longer revolve around the multiple schedules of the many, many humans it takes to be an actor, I transitioned to writing, which I’d been doing as a related side gig. Because writing does not require partners, and it does not require an audience and the second part of that statement is either wrong or a lie or both, I cannot recreate my exact state of mind at the time I thought it.
I pretend I do this for me, and I enjoy it, but I do it for you because that’s how it works. And that “you” is nebulous. As an actor I could see the audience. As a writer I can’t. Many of you I know. More of you than not, I suspect, which it doesn’t take a genius to understand means I am not a very successful writer. That’s not meant to be self deprecating or an insult, it’s just a fact. If more than half the people who read your work know you personally… it’s a problem, careerwise.
No offense. Because God knows I love you guys. The ones I know. If you’re reading this and you don’t know me, I apologize for having made it weird. The point being, I feel an obligation towards you, the yous I know and the yous I don’t. And because I have grown too tired (or am not frantic enough) to stay on top of this daily, I feel like I have… let you down? Broken a contract? Missed an opportunity? Against all odds, the end of the America we knew (and that’s what this is, let’s not sugar coat it) has ground on long enough to become normal and normal is hard to write about daily, at least for me.
So. This entry, writing about not writing, is a tried and true device, a little stop gap, a crappy hack trick, and if you have any self respect, you can only do it once. Which I just did.
Now goodnight. I believe I will not skip “Faith Of The Heart” tonight, as a punishment. And tomorrow I will try again. Or I’ll skip it. It’s mysterious. I’m mysterious.
And at this point, I’m pretty sure you already know too much about me as it is.
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