Please be advised before reading on, should you choose to, that you are hereby being give a trigger warning: the subject of the next few hundred words could bring about an unhealthy increase in blood pressure, of foaming at the mouth and even of acts of violence in many readers, the subject being the current POTUS, the very President of the United States of America himself.
So virulent has proven the response of “the resistance” to the leader of the free world (full apologies to Canadians, but for the moment it is not PM Trudeau), that merely to mention the name emotes a visceral response, so much so, that the name now joins the pantheon of words that cannot be uttered, the N word being the classic example for our times, and so are known only by their first letter. Merely to mention the name, or anything related to it, even in passing, is to focus the listener’s attention, not on the actual subject, but rather on the T word itself.
For example, mention Elizabeth Warren and her – shall we say, s-t-r-e-t-c-h – in self-identifying as Native, and the listener, in this case my dear sister, will immediately respond by deriding not Mrs. Warren, Harvard’s quite white first woman of color, but Mr. T, for the sin of labeling her “Fauxcahontas.”
Being partial to cheap puns, and given that the DNA tests Senator Warren herself decided to take revealed that she is no more Native than the average American, meaning that the slick play on the word/name Fauxcahontas is not inaccurate, I rather thought the name clever, if not, shall we say, presidential, when deployed by the current holder of said office.
Not so my sister, who was more than willing to give the erstwhile senator a pass in order to slug it out with her tormentor, he of the orange hair, and by extension, me, for having uttered the name in the first place. There passed a moment of awkwardness until we could once again regain our rhythm and discuss the difference between her southern climate and my more temperate weather zone.
For one’s star to have risen, or fallen, depending on the view, so quickly that he must now be referred to by the “T word” is extraordinary. It is surprising that sociologists, culturalists, psychologists and the like have not begun to publish a storm of PHD theses analyzing the phenomenon. Perhaps they have more important avenues of interest to explore, or perhaps they fear their efforts being rejected out of hand when submitted to their advisors bearing the five-letter name that shall be nameless. And so, I suggest to them The T word, or even Mr. T (more apologies, this time to actor Laurence Tureaud) that they might not miss such rich, fertile academic endeavors.
Having acknowledged this singularity, it is time to unpack it, to deconstruct it so as to glean some insight into postmodern society and into ourselves. However, this will require deeper, more rigorous thought, and given that the social media such as Facebook and Twitter are trolling the Internet for hate speech, that being defined as anything other than what they prescribe as being in keeping with their orthodoxy, any further meandering along this line is likely to find itself, and its author, excommunicated and banned, my WordPress account closed and nailed shut.
And so, most rare today, this essay leaves you to ponder yourselves the Mr. T marvel, unhindered by the random and unenlightened thoughts of its writer, who, in actuality, really knows no better than you. (Though if this goes unscathed, might take a shot!)