Thursday, November 10, 2016


Obama and Trump meeting in the White House today, making the necessary diplomatic public statements, with much hemming and hawing to conceal their true feelings. What strikes me is this: why the theatre? Everyone knows what these two men think of each other and have said about each other. Why couldn't they just have spoken straight from the shoulder and the heart? Just a few seconds of genuine unrehearsed sincerity would have instantly introduced a constructive note into the whole divisive election aftermath. Maybe Trump could even have apologised to Obama for his 'birther' and other insults - wouldn't that have been something?

I'm always bewildered by the theatrical aspect of political discourse and the fact that we generally collude in the fantasy that what is on the stage is real, whilst being aware that it is a play - the manner in which most politicians speak their lines makes this perfectly obvious. But occasionally, rarely, a politician comes along who doesn't play the game and who talks like ordinary people talk when they're saying what they actually think. Not that the content is necessarily better: sincerity doesn't guarantee truth or wisdom or wit. But at least you get to know who you're really dealing with.

Trump played the 'sincerity' role in his campaign, the ordinary guy, one of us. Except that he's not and it's a carefully crafted script by a very crafty individual who has been play-acting all his life.

Obama in the White House must have learned how to play the game but, listening to him and watching him, you can't help noticing that it's stressful for him to play it. In those moments when he doesn't have to act you can almost hear a sigh of relief. It's what makes him endearing, whether you have agreed with him or not.

The Obama family ring true. The Trump cortège will be reality television in a White House setting. Anybody want to write the script?


Hattie said...

Horrible people. You see this is supposed to be ironic and is a sneer at the common folk.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

I don't know who concocted this photo, I found it on the internet. It might be a collage intended to make fun of the Trumps - I don't think it's a sneer at common folk. Maybe more of a sneer at the cult of celebrity.

Lucy said...

Polite/politics, same root to the word I suppose, civil/ civilised. Obama is never ungracious.

One of the most admirable things I've heard of Teresa May so far was, when issued the statutory invitation to dinner at the Blairs' mansion, she declined, saying 'I don't like Tony, I don't like Cherie, I never did and I don't want to see them or their house.'

For all W's sins,I didn't get the same sense of insincerity when the Bushes had the Obamas round after the 2008 election; the human response and warmth towards them as a family seemed quite genuine.

I find the whole Trump entourage beyond creepy; the women all look like clones and the young son looks weird and vaguely traumatised.

Lucy said...

Have a look at the video on here, it might bring a much needed smile

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Lucy, yes, cartoonists, comedians and satirists, not to mention social media in general, will have a field day for next 4 years. Humour will help but I fear there won't be much to laugh about.

I agree about the Trump entourage's creepiness but I wonder what the children (and even the wives) really think of it all. The boy does look traumatised and Melania...did you notice how she turned her face away when Trump went to kiss her after his victory speech?

I hadn't heard of that outspoken comment by Teresa May about the Blairs. It marginally improves my opinion of her.