Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Trumpist Wants to Slap My Face While Wearing a Leather Codpiece!

Brad (R), with a friend
Pete Castle was briefly the guitarist in my band The Pits 41 years ago, until he allowed some hair-metal hotshots to poach him for their own project. Then, in 2015, we played together anew, in The Romanovs. He’s a remarkable musician. When, out of sheer perversity, we decided to append Robbie Krieger’s guitar solo from The Doors’ “Light My Fire” to our re imagining of The Zombies’ “Tell Her No”, he played it flawlessly without ever having tried to, his fingers and mind’s ear working in tandem perfectly. He has a beautiful Muslim Indonesian wife these days, and a house, very near where he grew up — and thus very near to where I too grew up — with a small swimming pool, and is a staunch apologist for Donald Trump, whose personality he finds appalling, but whose policies (to whatever Donald Trump may be said to have policies) he believes will ultimately benefit America. He is as far from the usual Trump apologist as you can get. He reads in depth about the issues, and can discuss things, as most Trumpists cannot, in an informed, non-visceral way. I enjoy jousting with him on Facebook. 

In the course of said jousting, I have of course encountered in his threads a number of more traditional Trumpists, belligerent idiots, and occasionally enjoyed trying to get under their skin as well, none more than one Brad V—, whom I believe to embody many of the worst attributes of Trumpism, and to stand a few feet to the right of Alex Jones politically.

I felt bad about myself a couple of exchanges ago. Every time he spewed some mindless Trumpian jingoism in one of Pete’s threads, I mocked, and infuriated him, never more than when he asserted that it had clearly been Barack Obama’s intention to destroy the country, as I apparently wanted to destroy it myself. I said something snide, but later realised that running roughshod over him intellectually was no less distasteful than a big muscular 14-year-old bully physically intimidating a small classmate. In a spirit of conciliation, I sent him this private message the following day: I’m going to make a sincere effort to understand your point of view, without name-calling or sarcasm. How do you feel about the very high incidence of gun violence in our country? How do you feel about Trump's campaign to defund the arts? What leads you to imagine that the country is any less mine than yours, and that I want it destroyed? What I actually want is for my country to live up to its own branding, and be a place of compassion.

I then pointed out that, according to Facebook, we’d grown up very near each other, and wondered if he remembered, for instance, Woody’s Smorgasbord, on Sepulveda Blvd., where one could put his own condiments — in whatever quantities he wished! — on his charbroiled hamburger. I theorised that both our dads had probably eaten lunch at Joe Petrelli’s, a few blocks south on Sepulveda. 

I thought Brad's ignoring me voided our non-engagement pact. So when I wandered onto another of Pete’s threads last night, about gun control, and saw that Brad had posted the meme you see here, and declared, Hestonishly, that the only way anyone was going to disarm him was if he were dead. I said, approximately, “Go get ‘em, Brad! The American Way of Life has nothing to fear so long as patriots like you are here to protect it.”

Whereupon Brad pointed out that for six years he had Defend[ed] Our Liberty (capitals mine) by flying A-6 Intruder attack jets off aircraft carriers for the United States Navy. I wondered against whom exactly he had been defending said liberty — the Viet Cong? The Grenadians? The Iraqis, who hadn’t actually been involved in 9/11, but who cared when there were fortunes (like Dick fucking Cheney’s) to be made if “we” invaded their country? Whereupon Brad, apparently displeased, said, “Go fuck yourself,” told me how much he wished he were able to slap my smug face, and called me a piece of shit.

I pointed out that “go fuck yourself” and “[you’re a] piece of shit” are what one might expect from an unprecocious third grader. Did Brad not recognise them as not only witless, but also really…corny? As for the slapping part, I wished I’d said that I liked the idea, provided he wore his black leather codpiece, or pointed out that wanting to lash out physically is something most people stop doing at around age seven, but it was late, and I was tired. 

Today I tried to find the thread so I could quote brave, patriotic Brad verbatim, only to find it deleted. But we will look horns another day, he and I. His truth goes marching on!

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