Compared to countries that are a thousand years old, the U.S. is essentially a teenager. And we often act it. Americans are enthusiastic and open, but we can also be brash and rude. Of late, it seems we’re getting worse.
One thing we’ve definitely gotten is heftier. In fact, one of three Americans is obese. And while many countries don’t have enough food, July 4th in America includes eating contests on national TV. This year’s winner at Coney Island consumed 62 hot dogs — 13,000 calories — in 10 minutes. And regurgitated it all afterwards. A lovely image … not!
As a nation, we’ve also gotten obscenely narcissistic. Our top-rated TV programs are reality shows highlighting people’s extraordinary shallowness. And get this, Americans post 100 million selfies a day. So it only makes sense that extreme narcissism has come to politics, witness Donald Trump currently polling second for the GOP presidential nomination. Who is more like an obnoxious teenager than the Donald, the bloviating billionaire?
It started with his “announcement speech” on June 16 in the gaudy Trump Towers. In Donald’s grand entrance, he rode down the escalator like a puffed-up potentate. (Trump has gotten so heavy, soon he’ll need a girdle.)
Ever-pompous, Trump bragged about the large crowd as if testimony to his charisma. However, reportedly Trump paid out-of-work actors $50 to cheer for him. Then began his long-winded, almost incoherent speech. Repeatedly, Trump reminded the audience how rich he is, which, if you think about it, is pathetic.
In fact, Trump’s boorish behavior somehow reminded me of the 1958 best-selling book “The Ugly American,” turned into a movie starring Marlon Brando. (For trivia buffs, Brando’s sister, Jocelyn, a Santa Monica resident, had a supporting role.) All of this to say, if anyone is the epitome of the “ugly American,” it’s the bully billionaire Trump. And no, I’m not referring to just his hair.
Back to Trump’s speech. As he rambled, it became obvious that he hadn’t bothered to write one or, if he had, he was so in love with the sound of his own voice that he abandoned it. Soon he managed to offend much of the world by describing Mexican immigrants as “rapists, murderers and drug dealers.” Imagine the potential damage Trump could cause if he were president for even a day? Or an hour, for that matter. The thought gives me chills.
Switching subjects, recently I listened to another narcissist, our former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was being interviewed by Howard Stern, who’s not long on humility either. Stern asked Arnold about the end of his 28-year marriage to Maria Shriver. But before I comment on Arnold’s bizarre answer, let’s review an aspect of his personal life.
Amazingly, Arnold campaigned for governor knowing he had fathered a “love child” with his housekeeper in 1997. In fact, Joseph was born five days after Arnold’s youngest child with Maria, Christopher. Arnold must have had to juggle delivery rooms. But it wasn’t until 2011, while in marriage counseling with Maria, that Arnold finally confessed. (To have been a fly on that wall.)
Inexplicably, Arnold kept the housekeeper working for him. In fact, Joseph, who unfortunately has Arnold’s chin, was practically raised in the Schwarzeneggers’ Brentwood home.
Arnold told Stern that he took “full responsibility” for his infidelities but proceeded to blame his and Maria’s therapist for the breakup of his marriage. Commenting on that, Dr. Drew Pinsky of the HLN Network’s “Dr. Drew” show noted that Arnold’s “taking responsibility” sounded like empty words. In fact, Dr. Drew (not to be confused with Dr. Dre) suggested that Schwarzenegger may have a borderline narcissistic personality disorder. (I say forget “borderline.”)
Despite leaving Sacramento with three times the debt as it had when he took office, Arnold was still quite popular. Had he been a naturalized citizen, he likely could have won the GOP 2008 presidential nomination. (Had details of his love child surfaced, he couldn’t have won dog catcher, assuming dog catcher was ever an elected office.)
Trump is popular with 12 percent of the GOP, but a record 57 percent view him “unfavorably.”
And while years ago the Donald’s ludicrous “birther” campaign made him look like a complete fool, his “Mexican rapists” comments got Trump dumped. NBC, Univision, Macy’s, Serta, NASCAR and the PGA are among those who have ended their business relationship with the bombastic Donald.
Thankfully, Trump has zero real desire or chance of being president. In fact, many pundits predict he will quit, and in an ugly manner, long before the GOP selects their nominee. So why is he running? The same reason Arnold blames the therapist. Ego.
At gunpoint, you couldn’t force me to view Arnold’s “Terminator Genisys,” which is bombing at theaters everywhere. But I’ll absolutely be watching in August when the Donald bullies his way onto the GOP debate stage. Trump’s bound to be rude and repulsive. A lovely image … not!
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and email@example.com.