In 1934 Gertrude Stein was on a book tour of her native America after 30 years living abroad in Paris. After arriving in San Francisco, she decided to take a ferry across the bay to Oakland to visit her childhood farm and the house she grew up in on 13th Avenue, but when she got there, she found the farm gone and the house razed. She wrote:
….there was no there there…. Ah, Thirteenth Avenue was the same it was shabby and overgrown…. Not of course the house, the house the big house and the big garden and the eucalyptus trees and the rose hedge naturally were not there any longer existing, what was the use…
You may think it strange, but the words “there was no there there” conjured up a fantasy-picture, a vision in my mind, of an imaginary scene wherein a latter-day Gertrude Stein went looking for Donald Trump decades after they had been childhood friends, only to find that the boy she’d known had not merely been raised but razed, and there was no there there….
If you’ve ever given much thought to why people turn out as they do, perhaps the above whimsy may not seem so strange after all. Obviously, we’re not all destined to become men and women of unbounded fulfillment (however that may be defined), but was Stein looking for a man grown so full of himself, so far removed from there, what was the use? How does a man who would be king — or at least President — become almost a caricature, a pretender, if you will, to the prone, meaning those prone to embrace simple answers to complex issues/prone to settle for simplistic bombast over substance? His bandwagon may have many jumpers-on, but, to quote Warren Buffet, A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.
Humor and satire being my preferred manner of dealing with the theater of the absurd, I seldom write seriously about politics/politicians….but, with The Donald, seriously: Where is the substance? Is there a there there?
In the end, it matters not, Trump deriders. You’ve heard of snake oil. Deal with it!