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presidenting is hard

possibly fewer
i'm caught in a new sort of anguish. on the one hand, i'm hearing the apparent leader of the united states tell one of the world's largest journalism organisations that his new job is harder than he thought it would be, and that he assumed it would be easier than his life as a businessman [where, let's face it, he'd long since ceased to be an active daily participant] and reality television star. i mean, one look at the before and after pictures of the last three presidents should be enough evidence that, yes, the job is really goddamned hard. all three of those men began their two terms looking somewhat younger than their actual age, and left looking like elder statesmen. come on, there's a reason they do those presidential portraits right after you're elected.

on the other hand, i'm a little surprised at his candour, which is as close to the man admitting he was wrong about something as we're likely to get over the next four or, god forbid, eight years. that said, he hasn't been shy about saying that he didn't know anything when he was mouthing off during the campaign, and now that people are taking the time to explain things to him, and now that he's forced to sit and listen to them over an apparently delightful piece of chocolate cake, he's changed his mind about a few things.

earlier this week, our own prime minister had to explain the nafta agreement and the penalties to withdrawal for him and his country. [trump, true to form, spun this as the other partners convincing him to stay.] keep in mind that prime minister justin trudeau is only six years older than the donald's eponymously named son, and can't claim a whole lot more political experience than his american counterpart. having to explain a trade agreement that trump made a central feature of his electoral campaign is akin to the grandchild who has to explain the internet to a grandparent who's already been using it for two years to forward emails in support of donald trump.

there's a fine rand mcnally store in washington. it is your friend.
[side note :: i suspect that trudeau did not explain that many in canada would love to renegotiate nafta, if only to strip away some of the provisions on the energy trade. before nafta, canada's export vs. import ratio with the united states was 8 to 1. since nafta, it's fallen to 3 to 1. guys, we'll capitulate on the fucking cheese.]

angela merkel had to take the bullet as the first person to explain something to trump, when she apparently had to go over what the geneva convention was, and that it wasn't just a statement of good intentions, but conferred actual obligations on its signatories. germany, the country responsible for the last major expansion of the geneva convention, is now teaching the united states what it means.

but the weirdest spectacle of all [unfortunately not conducted in public] was chinese president xi jinping giving the cheeto benito a condensed lesson on the history of china and korea [which dates from about 108 bce]. i have to admire president xi's economy of words, since this was accomplished in about ten minutes, but the fact that the donald came out of the meeting saying that korea used to be a part of china calls the objectivity of that crash course into question.

yes, mr. trump, presidenting is hard. your avowal that all that had to be done to remedy the situation was for a strongman to push china to take on the bulk of the work always seemed jejune to those of us with functional brain cells, but it's nice to see that you're catching up. i suspect that you're
devout christian. still a bad hombre.
 about to discover that your job only gets rougher from here. and while would love to see you crash and burn like the hindenberg, i know in my heart that that would be a very bad thing.

so, in the interests of security and sanity, i am putting together what i suspect will be an ongoing series of posts on how you can president, packed with information you need to know, but organised in blog post format, with cute pictures, to make it more fun.

so, mr. so-called president, welcome to "presidenting is hard", where you will learn about all the simple things that affect your job, and even get some ideas about what you could do to fix them. [keep in mind, i have even less experience than you do, so you'll want to ask a few other people for their opinions.]

get ready to take some notes. i would suggest doing this on your phone, which will both save paper and keep you from tweeting, thus killing two birds with one stone. [note :: do not kill birds during these lessons. don't let your odious offspring go hunting the bald eagle to extinction either, since your environmental policies are probably going to legalise that bullshit.]

classes will begin shortly, and we will be starting with your current cause célèbre/ bête noire*, north korea.

*ask your buddy marine le pen what those terms mean. she has some free time on her hands.

Comments

Reading the difficulty of the job in the before and after photos of his predecessors would have required empathy, which he doesn't possess.
Kate MacDonald said…
I remember seeing a (very bad) movie about prosecutions following WWII, and one of the characters hypothesizes "Maybe that's what evil is: a lack of empathy". I'd believe it about Trump. I'd also believe that he possesses characteristics of some pretty serious mood disorders, because he seems incapable of feeling or believing anything at more than surface level.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

mental health mondays :: employee of the month

one of the things that makes mental health difficult to manage is that it can be difficult to tell which are the symptoms and which are the root causes of a disorder. another is that sometimes the symptoms can disguise themselves as things we normally value. both of those things collided for me reading this piece in the atlantic, which deals with the possibility that work addiction may be a coping mechanism employed by people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

the idea isn't particularly farfetched; after all, 52% of men and 28% of women with ptsd will at some time in their lives meet the clinical criteria for addiction. and ptsd is often first identified through habits linked to displaced anxiety. and what gets linked to anxiety more than a demanding job? but drawing the line between the two isn't quite as easy as it looks.

work addiction isn't accepted as an addiction disorder in the way that alcoholism and drug addiction are. that makes it a little difficult to talk …

mental health mondays :: the dangers of diagnosing

when you take a look at any reputable online source of information about mental health, it comes with a warning that anything you read on the site should not be considered a substitute for evaluation by a medical professional. so why are so many people jumping on the bandwagon to diagnose donald trump?

it's not uncommon for people to make glib judgments about the mental health of others, because we think that we understand what disorders entail. when i was working in offices, i noticed a lot of this: an immature and garrulous employee being labeled and partially excused because others were certain he had adhd, or a moody and indecisive boss dismissed as bipolar. [as you can imagine, that one struck me as particularly ignorant and, since i was the audience, ironic.] but in the case of trump, even professionals are weighing in on the subject. no fewer than twenty-seven psychiatrists have collaborated on a book called the dangerous case of donald trump. up to now, it's been unde…