In a parallel universe, “Donald Trump runs for president” is a pretty funny sketch. It could be the cold open on Friday Night Fun, perhaps with host Michael Richards as his exasperated opponent. Comedy Trump is supposed to talk politics, but he only speaks in vague, hyperbolic terms about what a great businessman he is, and everyone finds it hilariously absurd. It helps that we all understand critical thinking from our free liberal arts educations, courtesy of President Sanders. Today is Friday, and the line between our world and one invented to amuse better versions of ourselves is thin and permeable. Won’t you try to distinguish comedy from reality with me?
Remember that thing I wrote yesterday about summer hours? Yeah, that wasn’t true. I’ve got a job of work to do today, just like any other day, and summer hours are but a bitter dream. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Today is Friday, and nuisances are tenacious. Neither president nor weirdo in his apartment is safe, and hope is a fool’s fortress. All we can do is enumerate the slights against us. Won’t you compose a quick list with me?
Yeats said that poets were the invisible legislators of the world. It is not totally clear what he meant; he definitely preferred the poets, but it’s hard to know whether it was because they performed a more vital function than the visible legislators or simply because he didn’t have to look at them. There is also the old adage about seeing how sausage is made. Have you ever looked at a person who makes sausage, though? Way more gross, especially once you get to thinking about it. Today is Friday, and the men and women we have elected to represent us are repellent to us. Probably that’s because they are such irresponsible scoundrels—it couldn’t be because they are an accurate reflection of the people who voted for them. Won’t you seize on the most comforting answer with me?
I pretty much only know via books, but being persecuted appears to suck. Anne Frank, the dude in Invisible Man, every character in the field of postcolonial studies—the only good thing about these people’s situations is that they are fictional and we sympathize with them. The real lives and diaspora on which they are modeled offered no such comfort, in both cases pretty much by definition. Actual persecution is a drag, but imagined persecution—especially when it’s imagined by members of a comfortable majority—rules. You get none of the actual inconvenience of institutionalized prejudice, plus the benefits of victim status. Today is Friday, and our link section is chockablock with jerks who have convinced themselves that they are crushed under the heels of jerks. Won’t you manufacture a smug self-pity with me?
The three images above are of the 19th-century fresco “Ecce Homo” by Elias Garcia Martinez. The first is the original, the second is a version damaged by moisture, and the third is the botched “restoration” performed by 80 year-old Cecilia Giminez. Dueña Giminez is not a professional art restorer. She was trying to fix the fresco, which was one of her favorites, but it got out of hand. Authorities disagree on whether she did it with permission or what. If you would like to understand the problem of others, take a look at Ecce Bigfoot up there. A nice old Spanish lady who loves Jesus did that. You can’t be mad at her. All you can do is keep trying.