Sunday, February 12, 2017

Taibbi's "Insane Clown President": In the Footsteps of Hunter S. Thompson



Since early November, I have been trying to make sense of just how Trump won the election and is now our president. Needless to say, my sense of shock was magnified by the idea that there was no chance that Trump could win. The margins in the polls were too broad, and living in a blue state, I was more or less a spectator to the proceedings since by the laws of our land, the few big competitive states are what matters for the presidential elections. 

So, I read this book with interest. Taibbi is a keen observer of both human nature and the political process. The essays in this book are mostly campaign-related reportage, so they were written in real time in the guise of Rolling Stone’s patronage of Hunter S. Thomson’s journalism in 72. What I’m afraid of is that I still feel at a loss. I had read a lot of the essays here in real time on the website, and they are only sadder in retrospect. 

I bet that when the editors had the idea of this book, it would have been more in the idea of reviewing the possibility of danger that a Trump president would have presented and thus we would be able to find solace in the fact that Hillary wasn’t left enough by looking at this and wiping our brow, going “Phew!”. But that was not what happened. This book shows a preview of the last month in the narcissism and disorganization that the Trump presidency has been. 

My thoughts are that the Trump win makes this a more marketable book than it would have been in the case of a Trump loss, as well as a more historically important book. When the future civilizations shift through our wreckage, they read books like this and ask how it happened and didn’t we see it coming. I bet it is bittersweet for Taibbi.