‘Being There,’ the remake; starring Donald Trump

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Joel Dyer | Boulder Weekly

You’re not crazy and it only feels like déjà vu. The truth is, that nagging feeling you’ve seen this show before isn’t wrong. You have.

It took me a while to put my finger on it. But the more I watched and listened, the more sure I became that I was witnessing a remake, albeit a B-quality remake.

It starts like this: A guy in his late 60s with bad hair and an expensive suit walks out on stage and says, “It’s like in golf. A lot of people — I don’t want this to sound trivial — but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive. It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink 3-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”

Huh? Gibberish, right?

But the media turns around and reports it like it was some kind of artfully crafted secret code aimed at disgruntled middle-aged whites.

And it keeps happening day after day. This inarticulate, clearly vacuous guy just goes on and on with these meaningless batches of word spaghetti.

For example, “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”

And “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall.”

And “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

And “The other candidates — they went in, they didn’t know the air conditioning didn’t work. They sweated like dogs… How are they gonna beat ISIS? I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”

And “I love the undereducated.”

And “I’m smart… I use the best words”

And so on and so forth including discussing the size of his penis during a presidential debate and instead of giving a victory speech following primary wins in Michigan et al, choosing to use his TV time to hock products with his name on it like steaks and water.

Each time, the major corporate-owned “news” media reacts to this mental midgetry in the same comical way.

The talking heads on cable news channels and even the networks just keep analyzing this dribble using words like strategic, street smart, straight forward, formidable and wait for it… genius.

That’s right, this guy who sounds and acts like Ron Popeil after a lobotomy has the corporate media treating him like some kind of political prophet.

And then it hits me, “Chauncey Gardiner.”
Trump is Chance in a real-life Being There remake.

Ring a bell?

So, for all you non-movie buffs and persons unfamiliar with 1970’s, I’ll offer this quick explanation. Warning, spoiler alert.

Jerzy Kosinski wrote a novella, which he later adapted into a screenplay that became the 1979 film Being There starring Peter Sellers.

Sellers plays a simpleton named Chance so lacking in cognitive skills as to be incapable of maneuvering through everyday life. Out of compassion, a very rich man allows Chance to live in his home and tend his garden. When the rich man dies, Chance is tossed from the estate with only the clothes on his back, which happen to be really expensive clothes thanks to his former benefactor.

The near-idiot Chance then steps in front of a chauffeur-driven car owned by an aging business mogul who also has the ear of the U.S. president. The mogul’s wife sees how Chance is dressed and assumes he is upper class and, of course, well educated. She takes him to her home to recover. When she asks his name, Chance coughs while saying, “Chance the gardener.” She hears “Chauncey Gardiner” and the name sticks because Chance is too simple to even correct her.

Long story short, Chance answers every question as would a person with an IQ in the 60s, and most times he answers in non sequiturs having to do with gardening.

The rich and powerful folks around him — which eventually includes the president — believe that his nonsensical answers are brilliant metaphors speaking to the economy, the investment world and global politics.

By the film’s end, the media is hanging on every word that Chance utters, and he is being touted for the White House.

It was a really funny film in 1979. The current remake is far less entertaining.

Donald Trump is a barely literate pitchman more at home on a reality TV show with a crazed Gary Busey as a sidekick than he is running for president.

But, apparently for credibility’s sake, cable TV newsrooms needed to justify the inordinate amount of airtime they have been giving to Trump’s idiocracy to drive ratings, so they opted to pretend his antics are done purposely and with great skill.

They invented this imaginary “Trump world” wherein his lunatic actions, including his childish bullying and overt racism, are analyzed as if part of a sinister scheme to take the White House that only a genius business man could cook up — a scheme so full of “best words” that we mere mortals are incapable of comprehending its sagacity.

And now that Trump is actually winning, at least in part because of this irresponsible overexposure at the hands of corporate establishment media, the cable and network news owners are trying desperately to destroy the Trump monster they created using a faulty brain that was clearly labeled “Abby Normal,” years ago. Yes, it’s a third movie reference.

But it is likely too late to destroy their creation.

While Trump himself may be the proverbial joke that went too far, his followers and the reasons they are voting for him are not.
Our nation is at a breaking point and thereby a turning point. And both Trump and Bernie Sanders are harbingers of what’s to come, the good and the bad.

I’ll be examining the more serious coming consequences of this mess going forward.

 

  • Darrell Walker

    You’re so right! The only difference is where as Chauncey Gardner had a sweet if peevish demeanor, there’s not a thing sweet about Drumpf beyond that cotton-candy-honey-toned weave of his. Mix in a touch of the out-of-his-fucking-mind Howard Beale from “Network” and you’re spot on. Ever see A Face In The Crowd”? That’s where this ends up. That’s where this ends. Sheriff Andy throwing a tantrum fit in his penthouse. “I’ve got the best penthouses. Many, many penthouses. Ask the Chinese. The Chinese love my penthouses. The Chinese will tell you I have the most expensive penthouses. They love me.”

  • Friedmab

    I wondered if anybody had made this connection…and so googled “Being There and Trump” and found that yes – you have expounded on this topic exactly as I feel!

  • Deb

    One of my favorite movies. Now it’s a reality and has turned into a horror movie. I’ve also got a Captain Queeg vibe from Trump (Caine Mutiny). And still the media is trying to normalize what he says. It’s maddening and wearing. Oh yes, then there’s ‘Gaslight’…..