I love this. As you’ve no doubt read, Trump is having a hard time lining up entertainers for his inaugural events, even though the Trump inaugural organizers are reportedly “willing to pay anything” to get top celebrity performers to participate. A-list performers like Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, KISS, and Garth Brooks have all stuck their tongues out at Trump when asked to perform. (It’s true that Bocelli had originally agreed to do it, but when his fans threatened to boycott his performances if he threw himself in with Trump, he did the right thing and pulled out.) You can read about all this here and here.
Last night, Trump used his tiny thumbs to send out this tweet:
This, of course, is nonsense. The Trump team is approaching the A-list celebrities, not the other way around. The Boston Globe‘s Renee Graham observed that this tweet was a familiar “mix of self-congratulation and insults” and that it “tellingly, attempted to draw a dividing line between “the PEOPLE” and the entertainment world, making for his latest divide-and-conquer attempt against American popular culture.” The Atlantic‘s Spencer Kornhaber astutely noted that with this tweet about the celebrity class, “Trump seems to be trying to weaken its [the celebrity class’s] sway over ‘the people,’ as he has tried to do for the media, as he has tried to do for his political opponents.” Kornhaber says:
One way to go about the task [of weakening celebrities’ sway over the people] is by simple debasement. When Trump says that Hamilton is overrated, or that SNL is unwatchable, or that Lena Dunham has “no mojo,” he’s technically not talking politics—he’s making a direct attack on the things that make any of these entities worth paying attention to, their entertainment value. He’s doing something similar in conjuring the image of celebrities begging for inaugural tickets and in mocking their inability to get Hillary Clinton elected. The access, the glamour, the power, the dignity associated with celebrities? All hoaxes, he says.
. . .
He’s also trying to escalate the culture wars, attacking a group of influencers who, it’s clear, doesn’t hold as much sway in the places that elected him—places where the term “Hollyweird” is thrown around and where boycotting Beyonce isn’t a joke. But the vexing fact for him is that so far, most Middle America megastars have not mobilized for Trump.
Then, Kornhaber takes us into what I think is the the most interesting controversy involving Trump-inauguration performers.
[Even] the most seemingly apolitical performers are running into controversy by showing up for Trump, more than they would for most any previous president-elect. On Thursday, Madison Square Garden Company chairman James Dolan announced that The Rockettes—a New York City fixture with wide appeal, steeped in mid-century nostalgia and catering to visitors from outside the city—would perform for Trump. Immediately, individual dancers began to dissent. “The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling,” one wrote on Instagram.
The women won. Today, the Rockettes’ owner announced that any of their dancers who wanted to opt out of performing for Trump-inaugural events could do so. Well done, dancing resisters! Let’s hope more artists — musicians, singers, dancers, and other performers — tell the Trump team to go to hell.
Meanwhile, here’s what Trump is left with: Jackie Evancho, a teenaged former “America’s Got Talent” runner-up (who cares?! she sings through her nose!), and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which has garnered serious blow-back from its hideous decision to perform at Trump’s ceremony.
My suggestion? Trump, America’s greatest carnival barker of all time, could organize a yuuuuuuge carnival on inauguration night on the national Mall between the Capitol and the Washington monument. Trump already has the people he needs to help organize the “most terrific, most wonderful, most successful” inaugural carnival in American history.
His new appointee to head the Small Business Administration is Linda McMahon, the co-founder and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. He could get her to mount a huge pro-wrestling event near the Museum of American History.
Why not get Andrew Pudzer, the CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. (Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Labor and — no surprise! — an outspoken critic of worker protections) to organize a carnival-like event near the Lincoln Memorial, where Trump supporters, from ten feet away, could try to throw nickels into the mouths of underpaid fast-food workers?
You get the idea.
Rex Tillerson could bring in thousands of barrels of oil, which could be used to set up some of those dunking booths that are so popular at school and town carnivals. Fill the pools with high-grade Exxon oil, and instead of positioning school principals or hapless teachers in seats above the oil, place frightened Muslims there. Trump supporters could throw bags of gold Trump coins at the paddles that would trigger the menacing Muslims to fall into the pool of oil. Fun!
Unite, Americans. We’re an inventive people! We can help Donald use the resources at his disposal to come up with an inauguration worthy of him and of his times!