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  • Writer's picturePhilip Drucker

Communique "MAGA, MAGA, Hey, Hey!" 7-15-2021

I have been looking for historical parallels to try to explain the current mindset of your average Q/MAGA/tR.U.M.P. cult-regressive party member. I’ve been hoping to find some guidance from the past as to why even when faced with lie after lie and the inevitable disappointment after disappointment of for example picking another day when the Orange Chum Bucket Crappy Patty Planktonesque Bottom Dweller will be installed as president, although remember half of his fleeced flock already believe he is the legitimate shadow president right now, buy hey what’s a few more inconsistencies among the holy and pious believers, these days the more the merrier, and their ability to not only carry on with a narrative they know to be untrue, and still attract more ruby red rubes to the grand illusion.

Then I found it, or more accurately, him. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but the historic figure I find most analogous to certainly the tR.U.M.P years, yet is applicable to every Republican president since Reagan the actor is the story of Phineas Taylor Barnum (P.T.) who is quite possibly still the GOAT of American showmanship.

We all know about the man who famously stated, there is a MAGA born every minute, well, maybe he didn’t say MAGA, but he would have, and that is my point for old P.T. was the master of observing and reacting to the public psyche. Or, to put it more succinctly, he knew how to make the rubes give up their nickels they saved for when the circus came to town.

It’s hard to imagine a time when the circus took such a front and center importance in the life of your average circa 1920s-30s American lifestyle. But with not only the promise of entertainment on the horizon, the circus and cinema were the two places people shell shocked by the events of the Great Depression could go to escape the doldrums and anxiety of the hopelessness caused by poverty.

Having founded the Barnum & Baily Circus in 1871 most of his other accomplishments have gone relatively unnoticed. Among his many accomplishments, P.T. served two terms in the Connecticut Legislature and he spoke before the legislature during open debate in support of and for ratification of the 13th Amendment.

But P.T. was not one to delve into too much self-deception and stated, "I am a showman by profession ... and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me". And so, it was that “to put money in his own coffers” he spent most of his year perfecting ways of separating the MAGA of their day from their hard-earned nickels.

You see, in his day, once within the B&B circus, patrons were presented with a series of acts all held behind closed doors, windows and curtains containing what we refer today as a freak show. The Bearded Lady, Half Human Half Mermaids, along with as many Elephant Man attractions as you can imagine might interest your average circus goer.

Many times these attractions were greeted with the ooohs and ahhhs of satisfaction. Many times, they were not. For when times got tough, old P.T. would roll out a series of accurate, yet not quite what the seemed to be freak shows that remember, you can’t see until after you coughed up that nickel. So, you see, many of his most popular acts were nothing but hoaxes.

My favorite of these less than truth in advertising offerings was always “Man Eating Chicken”. Sounds pretty scary and quite nickel worthy to see such a bird that could actually eat a man. Tempting and a little different to say the least. I mean, how many times can you see Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy or Lionel the Lion Man before needing an extra jolt of man, myth and mayhem in your life? “Man Eating Chicken” was one such performer who proved to be profitable. Here’s the punch line.

Once inside the darkened tent, the lights went on to reveal a rather plain looking fellow, in all probability a roustabout in overalls sitting on a stool in the middle of a small stage, you guessed it, eating chicken. Here’s the catch.

How was it possible that this complete failure of truthful advertising was so profitable? I mean, after seeing the charade you just fell for, once back out on the grounds, wouldn’t you tell all the patrons you could that it was a hoax and not worth the price of admission? Well, they didn’t and here’s where the psychology lesson comes in.

Not only did those MAGA adjacent suckers not spill the beans, they were known to actually help spread the rumor that the Man-Eating Chicken was worth your hard-earned money you kept in the circus jar for just this type of situation. Why? Because they didn’t want to be known as the only fools who fell for the trap and reckoned that the more persons who got got, the less gullible they looked in comparison. Stupidity loves company much?

Now while it was true this practice was also seen as far less than the nefarious plot some might make it out to be and became part of the fun, to see if you fell for it could you get some other unsuspecting soul to do the same? But, are you getting the grok of where I’m going?

Reagan was an actor who peddled the voodoo economics we at the DR call “trickle down poverty”. The Bush/Cheney years showed so much disrespect for the truth that we eventually attacked Iraq based on a fabrication of weapons of mass destruction, in return for the events sparked in large part by the 9/11 Twin Towers attack. Despite the fact there is no reliable proof the Iraqis had anything to do with it.

It sure sounded good though, didn’t it? And hey, even if we were wrong, would the world be better off without the likes of a Saddam Hussein in power? And away we went. Suckers all.

The tR.U.M.P. years were a version of guile, greed, misinformation and a special type of derangement similar to the above, no? On steroids. I have to admit if I were a crooked politician I would think my job all the easier if the truth was a multiple-choice question, wouldn’t it?

The truth being whatever I wanted it to be? Until it wasn’t? Yet the fish I hooked, rather than take their lumps, bear their ridicule and move on, prefer to stick with the lies and half-truths in an effort to swell their ranks because for some insane reason, they believe the more people that believe a lie makes it true?

When in fact the as P.T billed them, “The Peerless Prodigies of Physical Phenomena and Great Presentation of Marvelous Living Human Curiosities” were in reality human beings just like ourselves who don’t usually present an accurate image to the public all that often anyway, now do we?

Arguably, P.T.’s most famous fake was the FreeJee Mermaid, an altered by taxidermy compilation of a monkey and a fish. Barnum spent his later years writing his hugely successful autobiography “The Life of P.T. Barnum, Written by Himself”. Once again, a wise man got out ahead of the crowd and penned his own book about himself that may, or may not be entirely true…

Speaking of which, is anyone out there looking forward to the autobiography I believe he should title “Mein Tweet” “he” is supposedly writing? I’m not, but rest assured there will be many of MAGAts still wearing their hatred and grievances on a red hat who will “interpret” without much scrutiny mind you, the obvious lies, rumors and innuendo as gospel to catch yet another fish in their net of deception, division and delusion.

I have to say it. "Gabba gabba, we accept you, we accept you, one of us." – “Pinhead” by the Ramones. Yeah, it’s like that, see?

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