The wreckage of the Trump presidency is a matter of lived history. It has all been well and duly noted. Our planet is menaced, our nation's precepts stained and our daily discourse debased. From tweet to tweet we witness a man bent on unconscionable acts whose goal always points toward self-aggrandizement. Those who continue to support him are complicit in a way no less criminal than the Germans of the thirties who read Goethe and listened to Beethoven while they implemented a program of bestial behavior towards their neighbors. They shall live with infamy.
What has been lost in the rubble of the past three years is common sense, common decency and concern for the commonweal. The man simply does not have it. If he once had it is now gone. No further indicator is needed than his absence of a sense of humor. He seldom laughs and when he does it is a snicker of ridicule at someone else’s expense. He has the funny bone of an eight-year old. No irony. No word-play. Certainly not any self-deprecation. I submit that humor is a matter of maturity, intellect, nuance and quickness of mind.
In an effort to explain behavioral types the ancients came up with the nonsensical notion of four body humours, blood (sanguine), phlegm (apathy), yellow bile (aggression) and black bile (melancholy). Amazingly this theory lasted until the mid-19th century. Whether Trump should be described as bilious (violent) or choleric (self-important) I leave to my betters. None of these humours have anything to do with wit.
Wit and humor do not reside in slow minds, said Cervantes. We don’t seem to tell jokes much anymore; just one-liners. Either way, to get a punchline we need to go along with a sort of leap into the unexpected. It jolts the mind and propels us into a new perspective.
A sense of humor is a function of empathy. It calls for extending oneself into another’s skin, living his/her momentary experience. It all happens so fast it resists analysis. But when it is absent and replaced by insults, derision, verbal daggers and innuendos the air we breathe feels noxious. This is yet another pollution the President has bequeathed us.
During the vacuum of his presidency a Golden Age for comedians has been generated. We take solace in the absurdity of his mis-speaks, his tone-deaf blabberings and blunders, the very outrage of his misanthropy and our own human predicament. It has become a refuge from derangement. If it is true that laughter stimulates the immune system maybe we can laugh our way through the next fourteen months.
A horse walks into an Oval Office……….