Wagging The Dog, Literally

“The President of the United States called a woman a DOG,” author Stephen King tweeted this morning, continuing with what may be one of the most horrifying things he’s ever written, “Let me repeat that: he called her a DOG. Have we gotten so numb to Trump’s ugly, demeaning talk that this means nothing? You might like her, you might not, but to call her a DOG?”

“He didn’t just call her a dog,” I replied. “He tweeted it to 53.7 million people (and bots) so millions more could wallow in the fact that the President of the United States called a woman a dog in order to get a reaction out of us.

“Who is wagging who?”

This is not the first time I’ve referenced the notion that we are all participating in a scripted reality program akin to Barry Levinson’s 1997 film “Wag The Dog,” in which the President of the United States and his spin team hire a Hollywood producer to direct fictional war in order to deflect attention from his real-life scandals, but this is the first time I can comment on how blatant it’s become.



The “real” President of the United States also happens to be a Hollywood producer. Not just any Hollywood producer, but one who creates reality TV shows featuring performers like Omarosa getting hired and fired -- multiple times. Except this time it’s “real.”

And the most horrifying thing about this production is that unlike “The Apprentice” or “Celebrity Apprentice,” we can’t change the channel. And now the producer literally is wagging his dog -- right in our faces -- and there seems to be nothing we can do about it.

We cannot flip to another channel. We cannot turn it off. We are forced to endure the twisted alternate reality of a petulant, vindictive, mean-spirited power that has us under its control. And like the characters in one of the most horrifying episodes of the best non-reality TV series ever created, we are powerless to do anything about it.

Shortly after Donald Trump got elected and began wagging his omnipotent power in our faces, I mashed up an image from that episode of “The Twilight Zone” to express how I feel and I pinned it to the top of my Twitter feed. It depicts Donald Trump as Anthony Fremont, the omnipotent, petulant six-year-old who toys with the people held captive in his dysfunctional “reality.”

The episode is named after the Jerome Bixby short story it is adapted from: “It’s a Good Life.”

The worst part of Trump’s presidency for me is that unlike everything he’s done leading up to it, I cannot ignore it, because there are real-world consequences when the President of the United States starts calling people dogs and wagging it right in front of our eyes.

13 comments about "Wagging The Dog, Literally".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 15, 2018 at 9:24 a.m.

    It's not totally hopeless, Joe. After all, "we" still have the right to vote and make the needed corrections---providing the opposition party doesn't mess things up with equally unworthy candidates.

  2. William Hoelzel from JWB Associates replied, August 15, 2018 at 11:05 a.m.

    Not sure what you mean by "mess things up with equally unworthy candidates"?

    I just can't imagine a Democrat who (on video) talks about grabbing women by their private parts; who consorts with porn stars and pays them off; who has been sued by more than 25 women for sexual misconduct; who paid $25 million to settle a lawsuit with students from his "Trump University"; who retains a sketchy attorney who pays off Trump's attackers and tapes conversations with Trump to protect himself; who bullies people on Twitter every single day; who insults our friends and praises our enemies, including a Russian autocrat who has ordered murders: who can't name a book he's read or a principle he lives by; and who denies the truth until it can no longer be denied.

    I'm just not able to imagine the Dems choosing such a candidate.  But, of course, I couldn't imagine the Republicans would, either  . . . .

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 15, 2018 at 11:46 a.m.

    William, I think you've answered your own question.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 15, 2018 at 12:37 p.m.

    If you add in the names of the media companies who supported this parasite, MP will edit you out.

  5. John Grono from GAP Research, August 15, 2018 at 5:18 p.m.

    Joe, very thought provoking.   What is the politcial equivalent of cord-cutting, or maybe unplugging the TV set, the wirlesss router and switching your mobile off.

    But i think Peter Finch said it best of all ...

    "I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’"

  6. Ken Kurtz from creative license, August 28, 2018 at 3:15 p.m.

    William, you should be able  to imagine the Democrats choosing an "unworthy candidate" as recently as they offered one up. Hillary was a horrific candidate, entirely antithetical to what the left has proclaimed to stand for throughout recent decades. All the Bill baggage, and the lies, and the demonization of the women that accused her husband of sexual harassment (proven true). Hillary's unworthiness is the primary reason that Trump is President.

    I find it interesting that you seem to draw a line between somebody with the audacity to actually "talk about about grabbing women by their private parts" as private citizens but seem OK with Presidents like Kennedy, and Clinton that sexually harassed women, and abused the power of their office to fornicate with women other than their wives in the Oval Office as long as it was kept secret. As long as it was LIED ABOUT.

    Again, considering the laundry list of lying swindlers that have occupied the Oval Office, the endless succession of career politicians that have lied about their intentions just to secure votes, only to go on and do nothing to bring those lying promises to fruition, WHY ARE YOU WORKING SO HARD to get people outraged over yet another flawed, and broken man that is currently occupying that office? It's unnatural.

    Trump is an outlier. Like his predecessors, his relationship with the truth is loosey-goosey. But unlike his predecessors, he couldn't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks about him, which leads him to say whatever is on his mind at any given time. In a weird paradoxical way, we actually wind up getting more truth, more "what I really think" about situations out of Trump than any career politicians. I didn't vote for Trump, but his penchant for speaking his mind regardless of who it pisses off, or alienates is weirdly refreshing. Every President before him had a constant finger in the air to test political winds before gauging responses, or speeches, or "promises"... Trump's too busy making sure the wind doesn't mess up his orange combover, and again, there is something weirdly satisfying about that.

    It's clear that he doesn't think much about "business as usual" in DC... and that's refreshing too. This ongoing worshiping at the altar of big government in the face of decades of inneffectuality, and inefficiency, and unaccountability, and poorly negotiated treaties, and nuclear deals, and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. Every predecessor to Trump has been dishonest about all these things, and Trump is turning that dishonesty on its ear.

    Some of our best Presidents have been misogynist pigs, and liars. JFK. Nixon. Clinton. These men were flawed, and broken as we all are to some degree. But they got things done. We should never forget this.

  7. Ken Kurtz from creative license, August 29, 2018 at 7:48 a.m.

    Most interesting to me, in this saga of "the dog," is the degree to which even wordsmiths like Stephen King will become "forgetful" of the English language with which he's made his fortune, and intrigued so many with his stories as he pursues his own personal ideological "correctness."

    Surely, Stephen King as well as everybody here understands the meaning of the phrase to "dog" someone. Flawed and broken individuals that we are, we've all probabaly engaged in the act of "dogging" at some point in our lives. For those that would like to pretend that Trump could only mean that Omarosa was "ugly" in a hypocritical attempt to make an ideological point that surely Trump must be more misogynistic than the "other dogs" (yet another meaning of the word dog) that have preceded him in the Oval Office, here are some of the definitions of the verb "dog" that a quick Google search provides...

    "To treat people badly by leading them to believe that you actually care about them for personal benefit, or gain"

    "To lie to others to deny them of something deserved, or promised (for example, loyalty)"

    "To betray somebody, either rightly or wrongly."

    Considering Omarosa's surreptitious taping in the White House, her "tell all" book (that provides scant evidential support for what she's "telling"), and the multiple unsubstantiated charges she's leveled at Trump (he uses the "N" word, but I've never heard him use it)... I think it's safe to say she "dogged" the hell out of him. Hence, in that context, she's a "dog."

    And considering her obvious physical attractiveness, that's how Trump meant it when he called her that in the aftermath of her obvious "betrayal."

    Continue to illogically, and ideologically fire away at him, though. He's proven throughout his campaign, and time served thus far that it only has a paradoxical effect, and only reflects poorly on the left, in all its apoplexy. 

  8. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, August 29, 2018 at 9:24 a.m.

    This is literally what Trump tweeted: "When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!"

    Personally, I don't think it requires much interpretation. I'm pretty sure he meant "dog" as in a canine, and probably a female one.

    But it's quite possible Trump was using literary metaphor. Um, nah!

  9. Ken Kurtz from creative license replied, August 29, 2018 at 3:25 p.m.

    Oh, I see Joe. You're pretty sure that Trump meant "dog as in canine." So Trump was calling Omarosa "man's best friend?"

    Why the uproar then? That's a positive. 

    The only derogatory usage of the word "dog" that I know of, especially as it applies to women, is "ugly."

    Omarosa is not ugly, but she did "dog" (betray) Trump with her recent, self-aggrandizing actions. No literary metaphors required...

  10. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, August 29, 2018 at 4:23 p.m.

    There's another one, but I don't even think Trump could get away saying it explicitly in public:

  11. Ken Kurtz from creative license, August 31, 2018 at 3:59 p.m.

    Ahhhhhh. I see.

    So now, in your ideological omniscience, you're changing your opinion to "He actually meant to call her a bitch." 

    What's funny about that is the idea that anybody thinks Trump couldn't "get away with" calling somebody a bitch in public. Oh my, the political correctness. Oh my, the silliness.

    One thing for sure. I've heard many people declare many times that things Trump said, or did would be "the end of him." The end of his candidacy, the end of his chances, the end of his Presidency. Every time, those people have been wrong. Shockingly wrong. And paradoxically, every denouncement seems to have the opposite effect... elevation of Trump, and his chances and diminishment of the people doing the bogus forecasting.

  12. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, September 2, 2018 at 10:15 a.m.

    @Kenny Kurtz: I never declared that would be the "end" of Trump. If I had to, it would be a political process (impeachment) following overwhelming evidence of his criminal activities. But that's just a guess.

    My column was mainly about how he gaslights us.

  13. Ken Kurtz from creative license, September 2, 2018 at 10:08 p.m.

    No. You didn't specifically say anything would be the end of Trump. Not now, anyway.

    So many have made those proclamations, though, perhaps even you in the three years since he started his run for the Presidency.

    But you did say...

    .. but I don't even think Trump could get away with saying it explicitly in public.

    ... which is almost worse, and really silly. If Trump did call Omarose a "bitch" (a word that doesn't even get bleeped in broadcast situations in our society) instead of a "dog"... what do you think would happen to him? What do you mean by "he couldn't get away with calling the woman that turned on him, and has leveled some pretty salacious charges (absent evidence) against him a 'bitch?'"

    As for your guess that he will be impeached for his criminal activities, I've not heard of a single criminal charge against him, and even ;less about "overwhelming evidence."

    Continue to pillory, though. You and the rest of the left.

    And if Trump is impeached, would it be "the end" of him like it was "the end" for Slick Willy? He of "it depends on what the meaning of is is?"

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