I saw on the news today where the investigators dealing with Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, said they’ve called a halt to the investigation Paddock killed 58 concert goers and wounded a hundred more, and they have no motive and will probably never have one. Apparently he was a pretty ordinary guy; they said he was an ‘unremarkable man.’ I wondered how someone like this maniac would react to being called unremarkable. After all of his planning, stockpiling of weapons, picking his time, I would think that in his case, as I believe it is with most others who carry out such acts, unremarkable is not what he was going for. I’m sure that in sick, distorted minds like his, the object, beyond the killings themselves, would be to attain a certain glory. Get copious attention. Earn fame through the spilling of blood. Being labeled unremarkable would be a huge disappointment, even devastating.
That made me think, of course, of Donald Trump. He was a headline-grabber even before his run for president. Self-aggrandizing with an ego that will never be satisfied, he lives for attention and, most especially, adulation. But if praise and worship are not forthcoming, he’ll settle for any kind of attention he can get. He’s been called misogynistic, narcissistic, racist, stupid, even evil. But that’s inconsequential to him as long as his antics stay front and center; ironic, of course, since he denounces the press as the enemy of the people and refuses interviews for the most part except with his lap dogs at the FOX network. He counts on those same news folks to keep his name on everyone’s lips, and they have been more than willing to report his insanity. They covered him like the second string television celebrity that he was, and probably helped get him elected.
Trump praises himself at all of his ‘rallies,’ inciting the crowds to be a sort of demonic cheerleading squad. No matter where he appears or where he speaks, Trump is his favorite topic, whether he’s addressing the Boy Scouts, the military, the veterans, or grieving parents. He claims the biggest crowds, the longest and loudest applause; he boasts of having ‘all the best people,’ knowing that, with few exceptions, those he surrounds himself with will frantically stroke his ego with the same fervor as a whore strokes her way to a client’s happy ending. And those who don’t praise his greatness are shown the door post haste. When he can’t create a fuss and furor on any given day, Trump simply pulls out what an author once referred to as ‘big windies.’ He lies to get his headlines and create his own newsworthy reality. His collection of absolute lies is exhaustive, but it achieves his end: it keeps him on the front page.
So he’s been labeled many vile things (many by me) and, though he often seems oblivious, I’m pretty sure he craves attention so much that even this satisfies that part of him. He would, of course, prefer praise and adoration. He, in fact, envisions an America in which these things are demanded and received because he is Trump. His grip on reality is clearly slipping by the day, but he has his GOP boot-lickers (speaking of whores) to grab headlines for him.
So, like the Vegas shooter, Trump clearly craves the attention, both good and bad. He feeds off the glory he gets from his cultish supporters but welcomes anything that highlights his importance and his self-perceived magnificence. He sees himself leaving a legacy greater than any of his predecessors, especially Obama, even though the stark reality is that his legacy will be more like a snail trail that slimes up the side of your house.
I propose, then, that the best way to deal with Donald Trump is to regard him as an ‘unremarkable man’ and to make sure that he knows it. Merriam Webster defines remarkable as worthy of being or likely to be noticed, especially as being uncommon or extraordinary. So we treat Trump as common, as unworthy to be noticed, and totally unextraordinary,. It shouldn’t be hard because, in truth, he’s about as unremarkable as they come. We need to always give credit where credit is due, such as for the economy, unemployment rate, etc. And we need to do it loudly. Most of all, we need to remember him in history as a most unremarkable man, a cipher in fact.
As he destroys the environment, makes nice with dictators, sabotages healthcare, destroys families, and so much more, it’s easy and even logical to remember his hellish presidency and Trump himself with a whole host of derogatory, disparaging adjectives. But most damaging to him and his bloated self image would be a word as vanilla as unremarkable. That would sting far worse than any other label we could slap on him. And I want it to sting.
Other commentaries by Gail Barth:Extinction of All the Right Species
Trump-Putin Loyalty Program
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Real Fake News
Donald Trump: Clueless Idiot or Amoral Serial Killer?
Daughters in the Time of Trump