Featured, Race & Politics

How The Fuck Do We Stop Trump From Being “Normalized” When Literally EVERYTHING He Says And Does Is Absurd?

For the past year or so — and particularly over the past three months — the idea that we (normal people) need to do everything within our power to prevent Donald Trump from being normalized has been a consistent theme. As normal people, it is our duty to remain steadfast and to not allow the things he does and the things coming out of his mouth to be the status quo. It’s an idea that manages to be both hopeful and pragmatic. Perhaps we can’t do anything about the election and his new job title, but we can and should be vigilant and we can and should weaponize that vigilance; using it as shield and a sworn to protect ourselves from and slice through his relentless fuckshit.

And this sounds great. Until you realize it’s impossible.

I’ve been dealing with a nasty virus over the last week that has left me without much of a voice. Every time I speak, it sounds like I’m trying to rap The Whisper Song at the world’s saddest cruise ship karaoke night. Also, instead of leaving the house during the day to find somewhere with good soup and comfortable chairs to work and write, I’ve stayed home all week. And since I was home today, I was able to watch Trump’s press conference; allowing me to witness and acknowledge the futility of the effort to prevent him from being normalized. I know this point has been made ad nauseum, but after being reminded of it today it bears repeating — everything about him is absurd to the point of parody. Every. Single. Thing. The way he looks. The way he dresses. The way he talks. The words that escape his mouth when he opens his mouth to speak. His mannerisms and body language. The types of scandals associated with him. He is a spectacle. The spectacle. King Kong, but without the chains and the cage and the hand size.

This will be America’s reality over (at least) the next four years. Which means that any serious effort to prevent him from being normalized should possess, along with an edict to thwart him at each pass, a tirelessness with fact checking and other mundane measures necessary to hold him to some standard of accountability. But, realistically, how can we remain steadfast to call out everything he does when literally everything he does is worthy of that type of attention? How do you combat relentless fuckshit without relentless attention to the relentless fuckshit — leaving no time or energy left to do much of anything else?

This is a question I’ve asked myself when thinking about how I “should” write about Trump. He is the world’s biggest story — and a story that’s particularly relevant to me, as what he does and who he is is a direct and unambiguous referendum on who I am. But I also don’t want to spend any more time than necessary thinking and writing about him either. But how do you define “necessary?” I don’t want VSB to contain multiple Trump-related stories every week. But it can. Because he provides an orgy of material. And, since it can, should it?

These are not rhetorical questions, by the way. I’m asking not as a literary device, but because I literally don’t have answers and I wish to find them. If you have them, please share. I’m stumped.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Geechi_Luciano

    Did anyone catch this fool say Mexico is going to build his wall, and then get reimbursed for it? Listen, we’ve heard it all.

    • mssporadic

      I’m still trying to figure out how you can “make” them pay for it.

      • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

        Fees on monies wired from the US to family members in Mexico.

        • Val

          Then they will just mail the money or send it online.

          • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

            No one is mailing cash. Send it online to another country while avoiding regulations that require taxes be paid? You must know something I don’t.

            • Val

              Money orders.

              • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                There are ways around it to some degree, but it’s a lot harder than you would think.

        • mssporadic

          Won’t that affect businesses too?

          • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

            I didn’t say it was a good idea. Just giving the mechanics on how he could collect and claim Mexico was paying.

    • mr. steal your costco samples

      yesterday: nah, they gone pay.
      today: we gone pay and get reimbursed.
      tomorrow: we build it and pay.
      by the weekend: WHY IS THE DISHONEST MEDIA BRINGING UP OLD SHlT

      • Question

        Literally.

      • Brother Mouzone

        Yep, sounds about right.

  • One thing conservatives did very well was never letting up. President Obama is still a Kenyan. I just saw a YouTube commenter — not a troll — argue with sincerity that Obama’s birth certificate is fake. Instead of willfully ignoring reality, we can willfully reinforce it. If they can do it, we can. And you should if necessary. Maybe just change up the writers to keep the prose interesting. ;)

  • CrankUpThe_AC

    Please don’t have trump stories everyday. Life is stressful enough as is ( . .)

    • MsSula

      Seriously. I already have Trump fatigue.

  • [Insert Creative Name Here]

    I’d rather talk about Obama’s farewell address and how much he loves his wife and kids.
    Oh, and this:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5c6b9a36194df6f9354c37a8e2b56e9f53b4b24eac64c8f302d5b2c5dbe286bc.png

    • Ms George Zip

      I’m in such deep sadness and denial that I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. I haven’t watched Hillary’s concession speech, either. Legit hoping for a miracle, which is saying a lot of my agnostic but more like athiest if I’m being honest self.

      • IAmMikeBrown

        Just hang loose, blood.

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Man…that’s spot on!

  • Mary

    Damon, it might be unavoidable, the same way Pres. Obama does not get to be the average former president. He was ringing warning b pls last night and will feel obligated to continually doing. That leaves no time for normality.
    Maybe VSB will be an archive for future grad students reasearching th black community’s concerns and responses to Trump.
    To be honest. the Trump’s absurdity is scary and on a darker note, maybe VSB is a chance for free expression before free expression is taken from us. Extreme?! Maybe, but folks who’ve lived under communism and dictatorship are sounding the alarm over the familiar trajectory this seems to be taking.
    Maybe we need to check out pre-Hitler society history for an idea of how they handled these times, as well as the post-Hitler memoirs for what they would have done differently.
    As black folks we’re used to living our lives despite society, but this time may be different. We may not have the luxury of going about living lives outside of the white sphere.
    There are some truly smart VSB members here that are better thinkers than I, so I really look forward to their comments and perspectives.

    • TeeChantel

      “Maybe VSB will be an archive for future grad students reasearching th black community’s concerns and responses to Trump.”
      Good point. I’d also add studying emotions and responses trending on social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as well.

    • One of my Italian friend freaked out when she first heard about Trump running for president and she mentioned Berlusconi. I thought she was exaggerating at the time. How wrong I was….

    • Cherron

      My thoughts exactly. We are so used to staying out of “their” issues and just living our lives and naturally that’s what we would like to do now. We’d like to ignore this or minimize our exposure but it’s too big. And honestly the safe spaces for blacks to openly discuss our reactions and opinions are shrinking. I also love that you mentioned this being used by future students to gauge the black community before and during the Trump presidency.

      • Yahmo Bethere

        “We are so used to staying out of “their” issues and just living our lives and naturally that’s what we would like to do now.”

        The Jews did that in the 19th and very early 20th century. Don’t get hung up on the modern day fiction of safe spaces.

        Your generation is far too ignorant of history (I’m not trying to be nasty, I’m trying to shake you awake). The Coming of the Third Reich (Richard Evans). Download, start reading tonight.

      • Yep. We shouldn’t relinquish our voice in the conversation.

    • Annalise Keating

      “As black folks we’re used to living our lives despite society, but this time may be different. We may not have the luxury of going about living lives outside of the white sphere.

      Please show me how you have been living your lives outside of the white sphere in the US and have managed to be very successful economically. I genuinely want to learn. My daily, constant and unavoidable reminders of white supremacy is pushing me to the brink of insanity.

      • Raspberry04

        Daily…

    • Yahmo Bethere

      I’ve been ringing the alarm for over a year about Weimar Germany. Black folks need to realize that white folks history is your history. It’s our context for entire existence whether you like it or not. Black folks died in the holocaust. Many well before the chambers.

      Every single one of us needs to read The Coming of the Third Reich (Evans). Anatomy of Facism (Paxton) is next.

  • TeeChantel

    I think we’ve had enough with the Trump stories. Just think about it, this man’s face will be plastered everywhere over the next 4 years. VSB needs to be our safe, Trump-less space. Damon (and this can be open to the room too): Do you plan to watch the Inauguration?

    • mr. steal your costco samples

      fk nah. wifey going down for the women’s march tho

    • funkydonut

      I’m not gonna watch. I’m going to actively watch something else. And I’m going to attempt to not see any clips of it either, although that’ll be harder to avoid, I think.

    • Val

      I mean, you don’t really want to watch car crashes but if there is one it’s hard to look away.

    • IAmMikeBrown

      We should all go out that weekend and do some type of good in the ‘hood.

      • TeeChantel

        I’m all for it.

    • `Abdu’l-Karim Ewing-Boyd

      I’m leaving the District Thursday before the inauguration and will be leading a group of DC young people on college tours to UVA, Virginia Tech and ODU on Thursday and to Hampton and Norfolk State on inauguration day. I’d much rather watch them see how beautiful an HBCU or two can be that day than watch the madness.

      • TeeChantel

        That is such an awesome plan.

    • Cheech

      We know one of the only things Hair Furor cares about is ratings, so, no. Tv off that day.

  • Bridget Kelso

    I don’t have an answer either. I’m feeling exhausted by the daily trauma of this man, so I’m trying to pace myself. But I do know that we have to press on. We don’t have to wonder anymore what it must have been like to be under attack in the 20’s and 30’s by a carefree KKK. And if our ancestors found ways to survive, we will too…

  • funkydonut

    A scheduled, weekly trump fuckshittery update? Like, all Trump news confined to that one post so that the rest of the week, vsb is a relatively trump-free space?

    • mr. steal your costco samples

      I would prefer this.

    • TeeChantel

      I vote for this option.

    • Good idea

    • Janelle Doe

      I like this and maybe we can even rename it the coping post and leave his name out of the title altogether?
      *for a troll free experience

      • Gibbous

        The same title would also allow us to choose when and if to read it. I gotta tell you, some days my own life is such that I just cannot deal with anybody or anything else. I’ll save it for the weekend.

        • Sharonjstoker

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !ud90c:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !ud90c:
          ??
          ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash380WebRapidGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!ud90c:….,….

      • IAmMikeBrown

        The Trumpster Fire.

        • Michael A. Hill

          Despicable T :-)

          • Janelle Doe

            :-)

        • NonyaB?

          Trumpster Orange Dumpster Fire

          • IAmMikeBrown

            F×ck L’Orange.

            • NonyaB?

              Fxck la merde orange!

            • Professor

              I veto this one. L’Orange is a pretty dope Hip Hop producer. I don’t think Trumps name should be associated with someone that we may actually enjoy

              • IAmMikeBrown

                *tables motion* How about Orange Pee-l

        • Raspberry04

          Cheetos R’ US

          Mr. Hot Fries

          Orange You Glad It’s Friday (if it’s posted on Friday)

          • IAmMikeBrown

            Cheetos Never Prosper.

            • Raspberry04

              ??

          • Helga G.Pataki

            I like Orange You Glad It’s Friday

          • TJ84

            Orange You Mad it’s Monday??

            Why ruin Friday with his f*ckery?

            • Raspberry04

              I stand corrected. (Well, I’m actually sitting, but you get my drift.)

        • MostlyMax

          The Orange Anusmouth Report

      • Molly, you in danger girl

        The talking yam…

      • MsSula

        Make it like the Tpocalypse updates that Tristan has been blessing us with.

      • Jones123

        Definitely. I think it’s reasonable to stop using his name altogether. Just pick something else that everyone will understand, like “That Man Who Assaulted All Those Women” or something shorter like “Putin’s Puppet” or “Shitface.”

    • Charles Wilson

      Definitely in favor of this option.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      This,

    • Julian Green

      That could work.

    • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

      Gets my vote.

    • Valerie

      In favor.

    • StillSuga

      This is the best option!

    • thamonsta

      This is a good idea. I like this.

    • IAmMikeBrown

      They Ayes have it! *bams gavel*

    • `Abdu’l-Karim Ewing-Boyd

      Tristan curates a weekly Trumpocolypse update?

      • Raspberry04

        Good one.

        It’s not like Aggie’s coming back anytime soon. ?

    • L8Comer

      This works for me. Most news media outlets are so saturated with trump stuff that I don’t even watch the news unless I’m watching democracy now.

      • Yahmo Bethere

        I don’t know what to do about staying informed. Watching Ifill was a regular part of my evening routine. Now, I don’t even want to watch.

        • L8Comer

          My sister put me on to democracy now. I like it because it’s not 80% trump and you hear about other things going on in the country. Other than that I don’t watch the news… I hear about things on here and look at my news feed every now and then. What’s Ifill? Why don’t u like it?

          • RagesAgainstMachines

            Gwen Ifill, the journalist. She died in November.

            • L8Comer

              Ohh yeah, duh. That was so sad, I hadn’t watched her recently either

    • Damon Young

      This isn’t a bad idea at all

      • Baken Greese

        So we’re looking at about 52 trump articles for 2017

    • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      That’s a great idea.

    • fedup

      And, on that note, can we get a weekly update leading up to the Chris Brown/Souljah Boy fight in Dubai? I don’t watch boxing, and pretty much dislike the both of those two, but the idea of this fight just…speaks to something inside of me. Can’t put my finger on it though?

      • Junegirl627

        it speaks to the inner hood-booger I have inside of me because “When the East is in the house OMG, Danger! I try to keep hoodashique in the basement zip tied to the radiator where she belongs but the Breezy Souless Soulja beef give her the strength to break free.

      • Cleojonz

        I feel this way too. I am entirely too old to even care about this kind of tomfoolery but If somebody purchased the pay per view I would watch lol.

    • NonyaB?

      Jinx! My first thought was also a weekly fxcksh*t update.

      In line with Janelle’s point about renaming, I suggest these titles:
      The Gaping Sphincter & its Circle of Boils

      Rancid Sphincter, Fetid Boils
      The week in Orange FxckshitOrange Fxckshit Update

      • Raspberry04

        #OFU

    • Mochasister

      I like this idea. Everyone can vent at that one time on that one day and be done with it.

  • Rewind4ThatBehind

    It’s your site. Run it how you see fit.

    But you’re just like us too Damon. We don’t need daily dosages of Trump. We already know what we can and cannot handle. We already know this is going to be an excerise in futility.

    I’ll take up arms in the fact that we will have to be vigilant from here on out about how we recieve information. We can’t be easily swayed nor grow tired so quickly. This is literally our Civil Rights Movements. We’ve all see the footage, read the stories, learned the facts. May not be chased with dogs or sprayed with hoses, but brutal is brutal, and none of us have the luxury of shrugging our shoulders.

    But everything in moderation. We need to take this in stride.

    However, everyone, if you’d like to start off with something, thanks to our good VSS Maris for pointing out something she found on Twitter. There is a website called familytreenow.com that has ALL OF OUR PUBLIC RECORDS ONLINE. Meaning if they know your first name, last name, state and your age, THEY WILL KNOW YOUR ADDRESS AND NAMES OF FAMILY MEMBERS.

    This is the sh*t we’ve already been talking about. It already began. Take the first step. Go on that site, search for yourself. If you see your name, you can clink on the privacy link at the bottom of the page and opt out of having your records online. Damon, this goes especially for you because of your family.

    Take this seriously people.

    • Marceline

      Thank you!

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        You’re welcome!

    • TeeChantel

      Opting out.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        You know it

    • Valerie

      Yeah that was scary to see.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        Just stay on the look out hun

    • Jennifer

      My gawd! It has every address I have ever lived in and all of my family members.

      • Tam

        So it’s legit?

        • Jennifer

          Some of the information needs to be updated, but yeah.

          • Tam

            Yikes.

      • Glo

        It had my college addresses, too. O_o

        • Jennifer

          It’s got the family we don’t claim.

          • L8Comer

            Me too!

          • Mochasister

            Lol at family we don’t claim!

          • Raspberry04

            Lol.

            Them n*ggaz never go away, do they?

        • BmoreLikeLA

          my college ROOMMATES are even on here

      • Tam

        I just googled my aunt..It is all there.

      • Valerie

        It’s really scary!!!

      • Val

        Did you click on the privacy link and if so did your info disappear?

        • Tam

          Don’t you have to start an acct to opt out?

          • Val

            I’m not sure.

          • Marceline

            No.

        • Jennifer

          The link at the bottom of the page?

          • Cleojonz

            Thanks for this, it wasn’t showing an opt out option when I first researched.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        Same here, except for my current one, but even then, that’s a problem

      • L8Comer

        Omg me too. I have 5 sisters. All except one (the conspiracy theorist-ish one) is on there. I need to take a page from her book, she’s super low profile. My parents and my niece are there too.

        • Mochasister

          Please tell us what she does.

          • L8Comer

            She told me she stalks herself online and then opts out of each and every website she finds herself on. Says she did it long ago. Also, she not on any social media and never has been

      • Cleojonz

        This is kind of crazy. In legal research there is a people finder function on Westlaw. It will give you several addresses, but generally stops at the closest of familial relations.

        This ish right here is showing my ex-sister in-law’s parents and step sisters. This is really creepy.

    • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

      That was frightening. It picked up my ex mother-in-law and my wife’s condo in FL (my wife and I don’t have the same last name and I’m on none of the paperwork for her condo.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        That’s how weird this is, it just has a trace of anything attached to your name even if you didn’t actually reside in that place

    • crystal

      Thank you for the information re: familytree link. I’ve dealt with an online stalker before and having that information so readily available is incredibly disconcerting.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        You’re welcome, I’m just spreading the info because I know everybody should see this

    • Valerie

      Also keep in mind if your information was found on this website, this is not the only database that may have your information.

      A fellow twitter follower told me about http://abine.com/optouts.php for instructions on how to opt out of these databases.

      • YourProblemNotMine

        Maaaan, I do not have time to tackle all these sites listed tonight! Darn you for exposing me to this! You’ve ruined Christmas! No really , thanks for this. I plan to make the time to remove my self from any info database I find.

        • Valerie

          I’m doing it this weekend.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        Good eye darlin.

    • FeeFee

      Woooooow! I found all of my information. This is horrible.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        Same here, just found all of my crap

    • Annalise Keating

      Holy S*it!!!!!
      Thanks for this Rewind.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        You’re welcome Anna

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Wow…it even has my old roommates name and all of her family’s information on there. That’s creepy.

      The only problem is that they were missing two letters of my middle name…yikes.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        Even with spelling errors, it’s more than enough to creep you out, but at least you know now

        • Hugh Akston

          “No records found :(”

          welp not complaining lol

    • Raspberry04

      Nothing came up for me…

      …maybe I’m just a figment of your imagination, Re ?

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        *taps at your window*

        You sure about that?

        • Raspberry04

          :pulls cover over her head and closes her eyes: ?

          • Rewind4ThatBehind

            Can’t hide from Rewind!

            • Cranberry05

              ??

    • Baken Greese

      That site doin tooooo much.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        They need to cut iiiiiit

    • BmoreLikeLA

      I just told my whole family…thanks for the heads up

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        No problem bruh

    • And this is exactly why when I renewed my domain I clicked private registration. It’s absolutely horrifying seeing your personal & PRIVATE information public for the masses.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        I just never knew it was this deep, like anyone could access you. this false sense of security we all have needs to die, because this is way beyond what we expected or anticipated.

    • omg. Rewind, this is the Public Service Announcement of the Month. Thank you. And I’m not even that ‘public’ a figure – but this is invasive to the point of being all Skynet and such. The opt-out isn’t that difficult and I would recommend it to anyone who is active on this and other sites.

      • Rewind4ThatBehind

        Indeed, because it is way too scary out here. You’re very welcome.

  • MsMarie81

    I watched the “press conference” in absolute horror. Trump is an embarrassment. Not the racist, good old boy Jeff Sessions embarrassment, the full blown, ADHD, early dementia embarrassment. This entire country should be ashamed that we have this idiot as president.

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