On Books & Reading: Why Delve into Trump and Trumpism?

Fun fact: In order to be a good writer, you need to be a constant reader. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hi there, Dear Reader. It is late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Monday, August 9, 2021. It is a hot mid-summer’s day. The current temperature is 87˚F under sunny skies. With humidity at 79% and the wind blowing from the east-southeast at 3 MPH, the feels-like temperature is 98˚F. Today’s forecast calls for scattered showers in the afternoon and a high of 92˚F. Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy. The low will be 74˚F. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 49 or Good.

As you know, lately I have been reading quite a few books about former President Donald J. Trump, two satirical works of fiction (MacTrump and And the Last Trump Shall Sound), and one journalistic non-fiction title (I Alone Can Fix It). I did not buy them because I admire Trump; I dislike the man intensely and would rather read a good book about World War II or a Stephen King novel instead. But since I am working (sporadically) on a screenplay that delves into Trumpism and its effects on the American psyche, I thought I owed it to myself to read about “the Donald” and – through the parody books – get some insights into how I can dramatize the whole MAGA worldview.

I am not going to discuss I Alone Can Fix It today; Yesterday I spent three hours writing a review of Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker’s 592-page tome about Trump’s last year in the White House, so if you want my insights about the book – which, by the way, I’m still reading; I skimmed through enough of It to be able to critique it – here. The most that I can add to my opinion about I Alone Can Fix It is that its revelations confirm my sincere belief that the man is not fit to hold any elected office, let alone the Presidency of the United States.

(C) 2019 Quirk Books. Illustration by Chloe Cushman

MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy, Part I and the alternative history collection of novellas And the Last Trump Shall Sound are different literary animals. I bought them for various reasons, including the basic “for my reading enjoyment” motivation. After all, if you are going to spend money on a book that is not strictly for academic or work purposes, it might as well be for pleasure, right? And sure enough, I am enjoying both, especially the Shakespearean-style parody MacTrump.

I mean, seriously. It takes a lot of talent and wit to take current American political history and morph it into a five-act Elizabethan era tragicomedy written in iambic pentameter:

Chorus: One nation, under God, divides in twain –

Half to the right, their power in the rise,

Half to the left, in fury and disdain –

Two peoples held by aging, fragile ties.

Is this America, which once, so proud,

Above the height of lesser nations stood?

How hath there come this overwhelming cloud

To darken freedom’s light, so pure and good?

Election, like an axe assaults a stump,

Hath torn the country easily in two,

And, from the ashes, riseth one MacTrump,

Whose government begins with much ado.

If thou hast humor, hear our history,

Which may prove comedy or tragedy. – Ian Doescher and Jacopo della Quercia, MacTrump

Not only did I get these three Trumpian titles for enlightenment and enjoyment, but I am also trying to figure out how current events and social traumas such as the January 6 attack on the Capitol can inform a work of fiction. I sort of managed to do that with Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss, but my new script is a bit more ambitious and therefore harder to get a grip on. My hope is to learn from MacTrump and And the Last Trump Shall Sound, even though my set of characters and the plot I have in mind have very little in common with those two works.

All is quiet on the West Virginia front. Game design elements (C) 2017 Game-Labs

I don’t have much in the way of personal news, Dear Reader. I have not played Ultimate General: Civil War since Saturday, so I don’t have any updates about my progress with that game. And, of course, my day-to-day routine is basically the same now that I’m single and live in the time of COVID-19.

So, my friend, this is where we part company.

As the Bard once wrote:

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” ― Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet[1]

[1] It’s still daytime here as I write this, but some of you might be in Europe, Asia, or Africa, and there is that thing called “time difference.”

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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