I get my joy and hope where I can, these days. It’s hard with Trump parading around the White House as everyone pretends that he’s President. Hannah Arendt put her finger on something important when she coined the phrase “The Banality of evil,” in Eichmann in Jerusalem. Trump shows us something else, though: The pettiness of evil. He’s far too flamboyant to be banal; most of the time, he seems to be trying to act out a classic supervillain who cackles and boasts to the hero about his evil plans. But everything Trump says or does is driven by a pettiness of mind, spirit, and imagination that you just don’t get from Doctor Doom or a Bond villain.
Last weekend, I got a lot of joy — and some hope — from watching the coverage of the anti-Trump demonstrations in the UK. Since the first day I woke up knowing that it had really happened, I’ve gotten my strength from knowing that other people are scared and angry — that it’s not just me feeling like reality is careening off the rails.
So, the Brits did a beautiful thing when Trump came out. The baby balloon was just the first step. I’ve always been very bad at coming up with snappy, smart protest signs (I have much the same problem with titles for blog entries), so there’s more than a little envy at work here.
Like so many, this one made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. And god, I want this to be possible so fucking bad:
London trump protester. pic.twitter.com/6kiWWGtwJQ
— Betrob2 (@pbetsy22) July 15, 2018
Dear USA, We’ll keep him occupied while you change the locks and cancel his passport. Love, UK
A lot of them showed this kind of dry humor, which is both very English and very appropriate to the confused urge to laugh and cry that I feel so often nowadays. But what I like most about this is that it comes from someone who has never gotten in the streets before. I feel like we’re starting to see a lot of these people in the United States as well, and if anything saves us, it’s going to be that.
— Clare Meakin (@Meakstweet) July 14, 2018
Front: Trump: The Sh*t that happens when you get complacent.
Back: Never Protested before but I’m British, so if I know anything, it’s how to queue and complain.
Kate Bottley, a well-known minister and reality television star, turned the Englishness up to fucking 11 with one of my favorite signs ever. I think Rowdy Roddy Piper would approve:
— Kate Bottley (@revkatebottley) July 14, 2018
“I came here to drink tea and fight fascism and I’ve just finished my tea.”
One of the local fish shops apparently wasn’t having it with all the “civility” bullshit that we’ve been sold, and encouraged everyone else to toss fish entrails at Mango Mussolini. Sadly, I doubt anyone got the chance.
The Scots, of course, come up with the best swear phrases in the world. I start taking notes every time they start to curse out Trump. This one is actually from the protests in George Square in Glasgow. According to the New Statesman, other anti-Trump curses included:
- “Shut your 18 holes,”
- “Get tae, ya feckin plonker”
- “Trump is a pure fud”
- “Jog on, you orange bawbag”
- “Beat it ya big orange jobbie”
But seriously, it’s hard to beat “Tangerine wankmaggot,” even if I don’t know what a wankmaggot is, or what color it should ordinarily be.
Trump's Scottish – from across the pond, thank you, Scotland 🏴 pic.twitter.com/J8SLVKfL9T
— Vanessa (@pink80sgirl) July 14, 2018
“I’m missing Wimbledon for this, you Tangerine Wankmaggot. Return those kids!”
This, of course, has become a nearly-iconic example of British rage at the London demonstrations. Some people object on the grounds that it would be cruel to the corgis, but I think that after all the years they’ve spent living at taxpayer expense, they have certain royal duties. Chow down and think of England.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 13, 2018
But of all of them, the thing that delighted my geek heart the most was Dalek Trump. The idea of Trump as a Dalek isn’t a new thing. It’s kind of obvious, actually. Like Trump, the Daleks are not only vicious and cruel, but so convinced of their own superiority that they frequently fuck up their own plans through hubris. This Dalek actually has a human driver inside, and was accompanied by an entourage of Secret Service agents (wearing jackets boldly labeled “SECRET AGENT,” and Theresa Cyber-May. Dalek Trump and Theresa Cyber-May stood on one of the bridges over the Thames and pledged, “We will destroy the planet together.” Dalek Trump also committed itself to “Make Skaro great again.”
A longer look at Dalek Trump and its entourage, if you have the time:
It really is a grim kind of humor that cuts very clost to the bone, especially when you remember that Terry Nation literally did model the Daleks on the Nazis when he created them back in the early sixties. But if anyone ever asks me what good all these demonstrations and protests do, I can tell them this: Hearing the rage of other people helps me hang on for just a little while longer.