“PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” is the funniest thing to happen this year — peak fascist befuddlement, & very Dada.
As we’ve learned after three long years of bright orange misery, Dada is perhaps the most fitting response to the abject nonsense of the moment. In a world where long lists of lies and errors and crimes against the state are addressed with a presidentially-sealed squeal of “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”, the only counterpoint is not more facts but a giant pie in the face, a bucket of red paint over the head, a whoopee cushion under the ass. Give me the presidential candidate who rides around in a giant tricked-out plexiglass President-Mobile, throwing sour gummy worms and $100 bills at the crowds, and lipsyncing "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” (Is this Andrew Yang?)
“PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” is an “explosion of imbecility,” which is also how avant-garde artist Tristan Tzara summed up performances at Hugo Ball’s Cabaret Voltaire in 1916. It is a celebration of nonsense in the face of logic. It’s like overturning an apple cart with an atom bomb. It’s that scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where the knight’s limbs are chopped off and he says, “It’s just a flesh wound.”
Whenever I feel like people are picking on me and it’s completely No Fair, I like to yell “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” Because no person should be stigmatized and targeted and bullied, even when that person happens to be one of the most powerful humans on the face of the earth, capable of untold atrocities, willing to destroy the planet for his own personal gain, for his own petty advantage, to achieve his own clownish aims, on a whim.
Whenever my kid asks for something or my dog wants a walk I yell “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” which is a catch-all phrase meaning “I’m personally offended and horrified that you expect me to perform the basic tasks and fulfill the responsibilities that I freely chose for myself!” Whenever anyone emails me, I have an auto-responder that writes back two words: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” This means: How dare you try to reach out to me, glorious me, untouchable me, with your silly requests!
When you live inside a giant clown show, you can sometimes dull your pain and soothe your anxiety by becoming a clown. But you can only join the simulation for so long. Real clowns love a good clown show, and hate angry people saying facts out loud. Real clowns drive home from a climate summit at the UN anxious for more “executive TV time.” Real clowns need their good buddies on TV to call their enemies big stupid dummies for hours, until it’s time for nighty night.
Clowns cannot grapple with facts. Clowns require water balloons, noogies, water guns, spankings with a wet noodle, water cannons. Clowns require perversity. Clowns love confetti and rabbits and honking horns and piss. Clowns demand gigantic wedgie-administering weapon of mass clown destruction. Clowns require Dada. Fox News is Dada: An absurdist explosion of imbecility, 24 hours a day.
But I like it when clowns get very sad. I like to see them cry into their big clown hands. It’s like a scene out of “The Great Santini” or “The Sopranos,” when we realize that goofy fun-time dad is actually just a violent dickhead.
“Your plane is nicer and bigger than my plane,” the obsequious clown said to the malignant, insecure clown, who was tired of talking and wanted to go back to playing grab-ass with the world. The patriarchy has never looked weaker or more foolish. But surely it will soldier on. Clowns just love soldiers.
And clowns love to win, at any cost.