Commentary

The Gift Of Trump: We Shall Overcomb

Let’s face it: Donald Trump’s presidential announcement (otherwise known as throwing his hairpiece, or clown-nose, into the ring) was the gift that keeps on giving (in premium gold lettering, with signature molding, lit-up-in-neon and then set on fire.)

From its very first moment of optical pompitude, the launch achieved heights of comedy platinum that defied even Candidate Trump’s newly silver (but still differently abled) signature combover-whirligig hair-chitecture. That’s when, rather than choosing to deliver his address from on high, the Donald instead rode the Trump Tower’s escalator down into the bowels of his announcement pit, while waving to his fans Kim Jong Il-style. An unwitting reference to an Austin-Powers joke; all he needed to do after that was arrive by the pretend power of canoe-paddling. 

Some theorized that the rambling announcement/45-minute speech/pre-made "Saturday Night Live" skit was so stupendously over-the-top, even by the Donald’s super-mogul standards, that it might actually be enough to keep Jon Stewart in his job at "The Daily Show."

Later that night, Stewart did admit that Trump’s sudden run for office might make his “last six weeks the best six weeks.” But I have to say I was disappointed in "The Daily Show" coverage afterwards. Perhaps the writers didn’t have enough time to come up with a better bit, but having two male correspondents plus Jon fake orgasm through the segment -- by writhing and dramatically moaning instead of speaking -- seemed to come off as unoriginal, and even objectionable, adolescent-boy filler. (Call it jejeune, a word I’ve waited my whole life to use.) Certainly, Meg Ryan’s fake-moaning and screaming her way through that indelible delicatessen scene in "When Harry Met Sally," lo those 26 years ago, was funnier.

More importantly, it squandered an opportunity to lob the kind of intense attack that Trump, seemingly speaking from the top of his bird-nesty head, so richly deserves. His point was that the U.S. is now “dead,” and that the rest of the world is “laughing at us.” Certainly his speech will go a very long way toward making that notion a reality.    

Take one tiny example. Given that Trump’s adopted party (he has at one time or another been both an independent and a Democrat) lost 71% of the Hispanic vote in 2012, it might behoove him to try to clean up his statement about Mexican immigrants. He said that they are “bringing drugs, bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.” Of course, he will prevent any such border hombres from achieving their suenos de Americanos in the first place by building a “great, great wall — and I know how to build walls” — that the Mexicans who are “not our friends” are “going to pay for.”

For serious thinking on the Middle East, how about the idea that Trump knows how to beat ISIS because they are both in the super-luxury hospitality business? Seems the radical insurgents built a hotel in Beirut, seriously overstepping their bounds into his turf. And here’s the topper, the real cosmic unfairness — ISIS doesn’t have to pay any interest, he said, since they took the oil that was rightly his. His line, “I beat China all the time” would seem to be the next “I can see Russia from my house!” in popularity. (And yes, Sarah Palin never actually said that. Tina Fey did, based on what Palin had said about Russia being a neighbor in her “air space.” )

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Not surprisingly, Palin is a big fan of the Trumpster. They share certain anti-Obama, birther outlooks, and also some issues with grammar: “Iran is taking over Iraq, and they’re taking over bigly,” he said.

Golden nuggets in the speech aside, "The Daily Show" will no doubt have time to polish its material: a few hours later on “Good Morning America,” the “short-fingered vulgarian” (as Spy magazine famously referred to the real estate mogul/casino owner during the 1980s) was asked by host George Stephanopolous who would be his running mate. With a straight face, Trump said he’d like his vice-president to be Oprah.

That brings to mind two other one-named (or whittled down further, to one initial) contenders: “Jeb!” the just-announced Republican whose logo seems like a leftover from a Big Lots! promotion. (He had the bad luck in timing to announce his formal run the day before Mr. “You’re Fired.”) And the leading Democrat, "H" or Hillary, whose single-letter-plus-right-leaning-arrow logo I dissed as a hospital sign when it was first released. It certainly looked modern, sleek, and worked well around the grounds of her re-re-introductory rally at Roosevelt Island.

Both campaigns eschew the use of a family name, since that conjures up the dynasty issues. And neither of them wants particularly to get into the subject of money, either, for obvious dynastic reasons. Whereas for Trump, the cornerstone of his campaign is his statement, “I’m really, really rich.”

And actually, as legacy brands, Jeb and Hill share a lot of the same problems. Perhaps Trump’s Mexican catastrophe will help Jeb, whose fluent Spanish sounds much more human and poetic than his normal robo-speak. And Hillary got points at her Roosevelt Island rally by being charmingly out and proud about her age and the difference that her gender makes: “I might not be the youngest president, but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States,” she said. (At 67, she is two years younger than Trump.)

“You won’t see my hair turn white in the White House,” she added, while talking about the toll the job has taken on past presidents. “I’ve been coloring my hair for years.”

The latter statement will be hard to top -- even though, with the declaration of his candidacy, Trump might have provided comedy writers with a skyscraper-full of Top Ten List material, the subject of his crowning glory will no doubt remain a no-fly zone.
 
23 comments about "The Gift Of Trump: We Shall Overcomb".
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  1. Sally Edelstein from Sally Edelstein Design, June 17, 2015 at 6:32 p.m.

    As another great American showman famous for his own circuses said " A sucker is born every minute."

  2. Jonathan McEwan from MediaPost, June 17, 2015 at 6:33 p.m.

    I have only one thing to say about the presidential election. Whoever claims and owns HOPE first will win the popular vote. Hope sells. Anger fails. I haven't really seen it yet. Certainly not from Trump. Everything he said was off key and tone deaf. But eventually somebody has to claim that mantle. "Morning in America." "A Thousand Points of Light." "The Man from Hope." [Nothing 2000/2004 - SCOTUS had to settle that one] "Yes We Can!" / "HOPE" … The clock is ticking ...

  3. chuck husak from august, lang & husak, June 17, 2015 at 7:27 p.m.

    Barbara -- Surgically profound!  After reading Trump's announcement speech, I'm thinking we should re-label the concept of "capitalism."  It's not an economic system -- it's some kind of disease.  Donald needs some rehab.  Somewhere inside Obamacare, there must be a place for him...  

  4. Roger Saunders from PROSPER BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, June 17, 2015 at 7:48 p.m.

    Since Lippert obviously is not writing about Marketing or Advertising, one must presume she's is trying to create her own form of Pop Culture.   

    Probably best to call it what it is, the lass wants to be seen as a politcal pundit.   Think I'll stick to the Editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and a combination of Fox and Morning Joe to develop my own balanced view.

    Barbara, don't wait for Saturday Night Live to come calling for your writing talents.

  5. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, June 17, 2015 at 7:51 p.m.

    Barbara, before starting SweepstakesToday.com, I won two trucks in online sweepstakes. The odds for a person to do this based on the total number of entries was about 5 billion to 1. Mr. Trumps odds in winning the White House is better than 20 to 1.  In short don't count him out after day one. People like Mr. Trump has a way to beat the odds and win.

  6. Jane Farrell from Freelance, June 17, 2015 at 9:29 p.m.

    You hit the nail on the head with the Kim Jong-Il reference! Trump is both more laughable - and less scary - than some of the other contenders like Huckabee and Santorum. And that is a sad, sad statement. 

  7. marnie delaney from doodlebug, June 17, 2015 at 9:33 p.m.

    Barbara, it's wonderful that this election cycle may easily provide you fodder for analyses previously directed to the dearly departed Mad Men.  If the crowd of political mad men running for President gets any bigger we'll have to reach way back to the 30's (1930's) when Deanna Durbin starred in a movie called "One Hundred Men & a Girl" for comparisons.  It, however, wasn't a horror film and Hillary certainly isn't a girl.

  8. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER, June 17, 2015 at 9:56 p.m.

    I DISAGREE with Mr. Saunders's assessment that Ms. Lippert's column is not about advertising and marketing. Poltiics is deeply into advertising and marketing. From pre-launch to launch to follow-up launch to logotype/design to naming the product, the whole kit and kaboodle exudes marketing and advertising. Marketing being how to get goods to consumers and advertising being the use of media to enable marketing. We (my partners and I) once did a Presidential feint ad for Mr. Trump. In 1987. Print. NY Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post. Subject: International trade and Japan/China. He paid us and the check cleared. He had been coming off good publicity by demonstrating he was an efficasious businessmen by finishing the re-do of the Wollman Rink that the city was unable to effect. The ad, of course, got none of the sound and fury of this intro. As for this year's group of GOP contenders, might make sense to look at the rules of each state and how they will allocate delegates and what the convention rules are. They are nothing like years past and if i follow them right, people may watch the convention to see who ends up the nominee and how it comes about.  

  9. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER, June 17, 2015 at 9:58 p.m.

    Spelled efficacious wrong. Efficassius could work as a pun I guess. Not here though.

  10. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 17, 2015 at 10:40 p.m.

    Oh, Barbara, you gave me the biggest laugh of the day with Big Lots ! Sally, that number is truly underestimated....Chuck, the disease is called absolute power. Make people glean for shiney dimes. Now, if Bill makes an anouncement about donating their fortune to Gates and their own charity and it upheld in the wash, after it sweeps over the others with cracks and whacks, it would move the needle done right. She'll still live well with so much less. Lead Hillary, Lead where others won't follow.The other won't.

  11. Rob Frydlewicz from DentsuAegis, June 18, 2015 at 2:14 a.m.

    I truly believe Trump is sufferring from early onset dementia, which his sycophants are loathe to point out.  Like the Roman emperors, drinking wine from lead coated goblets appears to have taken its toll.

  12. Cathy Taylor from MediaPost, June 18, 2015 at 8:42 a.m.

    You can comment on politics any time you like, Ms. Lippert! And I will read every word!

    ;)

    CPT

  13. Cynthia Amorese from JAL Enterprises NY, June 18, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.

    Well said, Tom Messner. It's also worth noting that "pop culture" is part of Barbara's purview, which covers all the phenomena that -- for better or worse -- are part of mainstream American culture. 

  14. Cynthia Amorese from JAL Enterprises NY, June 18, 2015 at 11:33 a.m.

    Here's one for Mr. Saunders, a CNN piece titled "The Pop Culture Primary is Here" http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/17/politics/the-cool-primary/

  15. Jonathan McEwan from MediaPost, June 18, 2015 at 11:49 a.m.

    God, I really want a LIKE button for some of these comments. ;-)

  16. Hesh Rephun from Raging Artists, June 18, 2015 at 12:46 p.m.

    Thanks for this, Barbara - and for the Odd Lots line! We seem to have an embarrassment of riches this election season.

  17. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER, June 18, 2015 at 12:52 p.m.

    Trump was very good this morning on Morning Joe. Clearly his medium is conversation/Q&A/Debates/soft and hard...NOT the podium at which he is very much all over the place and most of the places being off the GPS. The Billionaire populist

  18. Michael Deane from Modern Times Film Company, June 18, 2015 at 1:26 p.m.

    Mr. Sander's sense of righteous indignation is pretty funny too.  Te fact that he takes himself so seriously reminds me of the bloviator who happens to be the subject of this piece.  And thanks for the laugh about the WSJ Editorial page which--at least to my J-school-trained eyes--makes The Tea Party and Fox & Friends look smart.

  19. Dave Migdal from Migdal-Underwood Consulting, June 18, 2015 at 1:56 p.m.

    It's ludicrous that someone can suggest this isn't a column related to marketing. We're talking about The Donald! We're talking about The Donald and Politics! It's ALL marketing and bluster. Loved the reference to Spy Magazine...and the King Jong-Il optics are priceless.  Thanks for making my day.

  20. mark alexander from agp, June 18, 2015 at 3:28 p.m.

    What's troublesome is that thrusing a clown of his caliber into the carnival might make the other dwarfs in this race on the repub side seem more viable in contrast.  Trump has the capacity, for instance, to make a Chris Christie look statesmanlike.  The dems are licking their chops.  Perhaps that's pre-mature and ill advised.

  21. George Parker from Parker Consultants, June 18, 2015 at 5:05 p.m.

    DidYaSee that all of "The Donald's" supporters turned out to be out of work NYC actors who got paid $50 to show up and wave Trumpesque banners, that then were found in a dumpster at the back of Trump Towers. Never forget, although Barbara will be concentrating on "Mad Men" studies as Dumbledore Professor of such at Columbia. She will also be offering supplementary classes in “Trump-Mania,” and understanding its place in today’s increasingly screwed up society!


    George "AdScam" Parker

  22. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, June 18, 2015 at 9:16 p.m.

    He's not really running. He'll never actually reveal his financials. This is distraction and self-promotion.

  23. Jim English from The Met Museum, June 18, 2015 at 9:43 p.m.

    Donald Trump is " [an] unbearably high-handed, humorless blowhard who is extremely self-deluded about his hair."  You got him right in 2004,  Barbara,  and you got him right now. 

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