“This constant coverage becomes a compulsion fixation for us all…Yet, we gorge ourselves on such toxic infotainment with a niggling sense of impending doom” (Betty T. Peng, in Lee, pp. 231-2).
I am no exception. I’ve ‘gorged’ myself on the following since early 2018:
Fire and Fury - Michael Wolff; Fear - Bob Woodward; Everything Trump Touches Dies - Rick Wilson. All 2018.
Siege - Michael Wolff; A Warning - Anonymous. Both 2019.
A Very Stable Genius - Phillip Rucker & Carol Leonnig; A Year at the Circus - Jon Sopel. Both 2020.
Add to these seven the above mentioned Mary Trump and Bandy Lee books, and you have NINE tomes. So, as opposed to books on Trump’s ‘malignant narcissism’ and the ‘malignant normality’ that it engenders, I have less on Bob Dylan, and I’ve been buying books on him since 1972! What on earth is it all about then? One theory is that it represents an epistemological ‘anxiety attack’, ‘DERIVED FROM A REALITY ONLY HE KNOWS’ (Teng, page 230, my upper-case), which invites a paranoid existential weltanschauung. ‘Trumpanschauung’ is not ‘objective’, so we sink into its world of subjectivity, which only the Trump Corporation can explain. Look at the medieval Catholic Church for another example of ‘reality banditry’, one which I’m sure that Mike Pence would fully endorse.
This new world has its own Trump-related pathologies/norms/symptoms, which is a remarkably perverse triumph/achievement for the former ‘reality TV star’, who has now achieved an almost Palmer Eldridge-type (dis)continuity over his ‘world’ (a reference to the Phillip K. Dick novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldridge), with Chew-Z and Can-D replaced by hydroxychloriquine and bleach/’light’ injections. This is truly the stuff of horrors. Some have come up with diagnoses such as ‘Post-Trump Stress Disorder’ (with PTSD- like effects) and ‘Trump Anxiety Disorder’, to reify the New Era of Trump-related symptomatology. One simple definition of a ‘delusion’ is ‘a fixed, false belief’. so are Trump and his followers deluded and ignorant, or merely suffering from ‘magical thinking’? Or all three, in one toxic package?
This is merely one conundrum for the Goldwater/Tarasoff disputants to argue out. Whatever the ‘confidentiality’/’duty to warn’ dilemma, there are many of us who worry that “Donald Trump is causing a trauma epidemic” and at times feel “overwhelmed and immobilised by anger or anxiety in the face of Trump’s erratic and vindictive behaviour” (Lee, pp. 223-4). And that’s before we get onto the more parochial topic of Brexit and Boris Johnson’s government-of-all-the-crooks, which is our very own creek/paddle, self-imposed nightmare.