Sorry I vanished for a month, but I take my vacations seriously. But as a reward for maybe even looking once or twice to see if I posted something, I am printing the original unexpurgated text of my Open Letter to Donald Trump that was originally published last year in a magazine from the Low Countries. It’s in memory of my late mother who loved Donald Trump more than O.J. Simpson. No kidding.
An Open Letter to Donald Trump
Dear Mr. Trump,
That well dressed fellow whom you see at parties and restaurants and who sticks his tongue out at you. I confess, it’s me.
Usually I mind my manners. In fact I try to observe a far more ancient and elaborate code than whatever shards and remnants of social observance serve as etiquette today. But still I have a tendency to stick my tongue out at you whenever I see you.
As I recall the first occasion for this inverse salute was about a decade ago, at a party celebrating the birthday of the beautiful Stephanie Seymour. I don’t know what possessed me to make faces at you. but I suppose the exuberance of the party and the abundance of champagne lifted my spirits to the point where my usual psychic censor was asleep at the wheel. I screwed up my face, bulged out my eyes and stuck out my tongue. I know you might not understand but it was almost an autonomic gesture. There you were, almost within spitting distance! (Not that I would ever spit at you.) But your almost archetypal presence was as insistent a trigger as if I had encountered a bear or a shark. I knew that we have stress response instincts that tell us to fight, flee or freeze but at that moment I knew that there was yet another imperative: taunt!
A baffled look crossed that ruddy face nestled beneath a haystack of strawberry blond, apparently human hair. I’m sure you were puzzled. Here you were in a tent on a large walled estate in Greenwich, amid presumed peers with plenty of security around, and a well dressed seemingly affluent man not that much younger than yourself, was clearly making faces at you. What could this mean?
Had you been simply a private citizen, another human being, I might have felt that such signifying was inappropriate at a social occasion, when even enemies can lay aside their differences in an impromptu truce, but your insistence on your person being The Global Superbrand has taken you out of the realm of the human into the realm of the titan, where actions take on a larger significance.
I have long believed that there should be a Nuremberg Trials for architects, and now I believe that developers should be taken to task as well for sins against the landscape. Not that you should be imprisoned for life, like the architect and developer Rudolf Hess, but at the very least you should be made aware that a considerable and distinguished segment of the populace finds your influence thoroughly noxious.
Trump Place, the bland priapic hedge of faux luxury residences you erected along the Hudson, an atrocity committed against the skyline, should be enough to earn you eternal infamy as the reverse Baron Haussman, but alas that’s just the most glaring of the ways you’ve lowered standards of urbanity.
Let us count some other ways ways!
First of all, you’ve heinously ensorcelled my mother! She thinks you are the greatest of men. Even greater than “The Juice,” O.J. Simpson, which I didn’t think possible. If you are ever tried for murder, my mother will come to your defense immediately, even if you’re caught with a bloody six iron in your hand. Not only do I have to call her back if Celebrity Apprentice is on the air, she actually has one of those Donald Trump dolls that, if you pull a string, says “I should fire myself just for having you around,” and of course “I have no choice but to tell you, you’re fired.”
What kind of “global superbrand” is built on the notion “You’re fired!” A very negative brand, sir. Your broken record repetition of “fired, fired, fired” is tinged with a certain irony but have you considered the Satanic implications of all this fire? Release my mother from the spell your unholy brand!
Now let us examine Trump Ice, your bottled water. The label portrays you standing in front of what appears to be a vast curtain of fire, glaring at us like a predator. Below you is a city skyline, shrounded in what appears to be smoke. Were this an actual city in flames you would be approximately 6,000 feet high. Are you? And there you are wearing a lingerie pink tie with a windsor knot. We can only wonder “Why Trump water? And what does that mean? Is it “firewater?” Unholy water?
Your messages are so unclear as to seem deliberately misleading. You market Trump Vodka, which you claim is the “world’s finest super premium vodka.” And yet you not only claim you’ve never had a glass of alcohol, but you said to Esquire magazine, “I’ve never understood why people don’t go after the alcohol companies like they did the tobacco companies. Alcohol is a much worse problem than cigarettes.” Mr. Teetotal Trump, don’t you realize that people are swilling down this stuff merely because you’ve put your name on it and they think it will give them the strength to fire and fire again.
You are a walking contradiction of a global superbrand sir!
Back in the saucy, irreverent days of Spy Magazine, young Graydon Carter acted as your self appointed nemesis, a calling you a “short fingered vulgarian” and sending you a check for 13 cents, which you were said to have cashed. (No shame in that. I think I once tried to cash a million dollar check from Publisher’s Clearing House that was patently fraudulent.) But your retort was significant. “In fact, my fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.” Although we have been unable to find any documentation regarding these allegedly long and beautiful parts, you seemed to be clearly infer that among them is your penis.
Your penis does seem to be an important part of your image and your thinking, your having cultivated a reputation as a ladies man. Among your assets today is a beauty contest, Miss USA, and a modeling agency, Trump Model Management. It is no sin to traffic in beauty in this benighted world, yet your ownership of these entities would seem primarily intended to enhance your status as a power is sex symbol.
Trump models represents only women. You do not own a Mr. USA. You seem interested only in female beauty. Again, no sin there, yet your role with the Miss USA organization seems strange. When it made the news that Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner tested positive for cocaine, had kissed Miss Teen USA in public and snuck men into her apartment in Trump Tower, instead of giving her a “You’re fired,” you said: “I’ve always been a believer in second chances.”
In 2010 When Carrie Prejean, who became Miss USA, was questioned during the competition about same sex marriage she stated: “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And, you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there.” Instead of being credited with inventing the brilliant terminology “opposite marriage,” she was widely derided by gay groups. You defended Miss Prejean for stating her own not-unusual beliefs, and when pageant officials considered possible repossession of her crown over contract violations based on her having posed for topless photos as a teenager, you gallantly intervened, stating: “We are in the 21st century. We have determined the pictures taken are fine” and “in some cases the pictures were lovely.” But then she was fired and your pageant sued the toothy tiara stand to recoup $5200 it had loaned her for breast implants. When a sex tape she had made eventually turned up The New York Post said you commented: “Maybe she should become a major porn star, make millions of dollars, and give it to worthy causes.”
You have a fragrance, Donald Trump the Fragrance for Men, apparently so that other men can smell like you for ($17.90 on sale.) It comes in a skyscraper-shaped bottle and is said to have notes of mint and black basil as well as a secret ingredient, an exotic plant which is said to lend it “a green effect.” If the idea was to make a man smell like money, I think you have may have failed. I find it has notes of poker chips, nickels and Bic pen. But there are worse smells. I am told that in northern England trump is slang for an anal escape of gas. Which brings us to your name.
Your family was originally named Drumpf, and it is not surprising your father Fred changed it, considering its unfortunate onomatopoetic aspects, and Trump was a canny choice. I believe that the name itself is a crucial aspect of your success. Trump, derived from the French trompe, means one who proclaims, celebrates or summons loudly. In playing cards trump is a corruption of triumph and means a card of a suit that outranks all other suits for the duration of the hand. And trumpery, of course, means deceit, fraud, imposture and trickery; something of less value than it seems. But to transcend trumpery and brilliantly transform an empire of innuendo into an empire of steel, glass and marble, that sir is no mean feat!
Perhaps this is why you were so upset with the author Timothy O’Brien, no relation, wrote a book claiming that you are a billionaire, rather than a billionaire. I don’t really care which sort of aire you are, although I can understand why you would, since your identity as a global superbrand is tied to the billionaire label. But your real genius is that you, more than anyone, have created a new model for wealth based on how much you can borrow, not how much you actually have. According to Forbes your net worth in 1990 was negative $900 million. You owed almost a billion dollars! You became the poster-boy for insane borrowing and this has become the American way. You are rich because you proclaim yourself rich. You are our Oz, the Great and Terrible. You have invented a new kind of rich, a Trump l’Oeuil rich.
Which is why I am now reaching out to you. I want your assets to be real, sir, in the same way that I want the dollar to be worth a dollar. (Or a euro or a pound, that would be even better.) I want you to have as much money as you say you have because if you can set this precedent, perhaps the nation will follow.
You seem to have unraveled one of the great mysteries in grasping the maya of economics, the fact that all value today is based not on gold but on human belief. Wealth is a form of religion, and if you are not a god in this religion, certainly you are a high priest. And you understand that today fame is currency. You are famous for being famous. Your fans, like my mom, are your depositors and share holders.
And so, for the sake of my mother and my country, I am resolving to never stick my tongue out at you again, sir. Instead I wish you well. I wish you improvement and genuine prosperity. And so I leave you with some advice. Think positive. Consider the unemployment rate, and don’t be so hasty to fire. Think of the mercy you showed various Miss USA’s. It might not have the same ring to it, but how about trying “You’re laid off.” Or best of all give America a new message: “I should fire myself for saying this but you’re hired!”