Shaidle Unchained

A Burgeoning Civic Religion

November 29, 2016


But it wasn”€™t until I joked in a separate, throwaway post, that Barron Trump “€œlooks like he’s auditioning for the sequel to The Omen,“€ that the hardcore bumpkins alighted:

I was set upon by a gaggle of elderly bores for daring to make this lamest (if most accurate) of jests about the spawn of Our Great Leader. Individuals who you just know love to laugh at the left’s “€œthink of the children”€ rationales were now somberly informing me, like brown-shirted Emily Posts, that “€œkids are off-limits.”€

I considered telling them they sounded like Miss Jean Brodie extolling Mussolini’s virtues, but then realized”€”judging by their bald-eagle and/or unborn-fetus Facebook avatars”€”that none of them would recognize even that most middlebrow of references.

Perhaps it was my offhand reference to the spawn of Satan that set them off:

Whatever the benefits of a Republican presidency, one of the unavoidable side effects is an emboldening of our side’s flakier elements, who weave two most unsavory obsessions”€”the occult and “€œpedophile rings”€”€”into singularly elaborate and ultimately groundless conspiracy theories.

Sure enough, right on cue: Type “€œPizzagate”€ into YouTube’s search engine and soak in the overblown paranoid hysteria.

These kooks and simpletons were harmlessly wrong about Harry Potter turning your kids into witches, and tragically mistaken about the “€œSatanic panic.”€ At the very least, they”€™re a colossal embarrassment, but they also undermine serious business undertaken by serious people.

A big difference this time around is that the president himself won”€™t be immune to the lure of such twisted, empty-calorie distractions. Trump used to be Birther-in-Chief, remember? And he’s on Twitter.

One saving grace? Unlike Reagan and Bush, Trump isn”€™t prone to playing cowboy, or affecting a hickish, down-market sensibility. That means, I hope, that the right’s worst bores”€”the “€œI hate sushi and subtitles and don”€™t have a passport or a TV“€ rubes”€”will, at the very least, be reduced to a dull roar for the duration.

Of the varied “€œsigns”€ that attended Trump’s historic triumph”€”the stock market’s bull run, Castro’s demise”€”it was an omen of a lesser kind that struck me as the most encouraging and oddly apt of all:

The day after the election”€”as if it had been pink-slipped by the very cosmos itself, its services to flyover country no longer required”€”Duck Dynasty was canceled at last.

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