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Yesterday afternoon, I read a thorough and illuminating piece from Morgan Jerkins at The New Republic, where she articulated how Trump’s presidency is hurting the book publishing industry. Her premise — and this is one several agents, authors, and editors agree with — was that the news coming out of Washington has been so bizarre and ridiculous and absurd that we (collectively) haven’t had as much of a need to read fiction for entertainment. Also, the perpetual diarrhea stream of Trump-related stories has so dominated the news cycle that there isn’t as much space for anything else.
Monika Woods, a literary agent at Curtis Brown LTD, said that amid the rapid news cycle from fall of 2016 to early 2017, “Fiction writers were booked on ‘Good Morning America’ and they had to be rebooked and rebooked and rebooked. Even New York Times bestselling authors with books out in Fall 2016 struggled.” Industry insiders noted that Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am and James Gleick’s Time Travel: A History, for example, failed to meet sales expectations, even though both authors had their previous novels on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Sarah Bowlin, former editor at Henry Holt and current literary agent at Aevitas Creative Management, echoed Woods’s thoughts, saying, “When you have a news day of four different revelations, there’s less room in a cultural conversation to talk about a debut or bestselling author.”
(Fortunately, this has resulted in a hypervisibility for Black and Brown writers, as, to quote Jerkins, “the same identities that are being persecuted and demonized by the Trump administration are finding a warm welcome from an increasingly diverse literary audience that is eager to hear vulnerable voices.”)
And then, literally seconds after I finished reading that, I clicked on and read Anthony Scaramucci’s Mooch Eruption in The New Yorker, demonstratively proving the truth of everything Jerkins said. How the fuck are authors supposed to compete with a freakin White House communications director who leaks every fucking thing to a reporter while calling him to bitch about and expose leakers? I will never say or write anything more compelling and ridiculous and hilarious than “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.” (Which might actually be the way I introduce myself to people from now on. The next time someone shakes my hand and asks my name, I’m going to say “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”)
Anyway, the most interesting revelation in the Mooch’s rant (to me at least) is one I’ve had for months now. The men of the White House are obsessed with penises. Engrossed with wangs. Bedeviled with cocks. Bewitched with dicks. All of their policies and beliefs reflect this dick-obsessed world view. They want to ban transgender people from the military. And remove sex education from schools. And make gay men go through intensive reeducation camps, like learning how not to be gay is like training to be a yogi.
This, naturally, is par for the course for the right. As a working and active obsession with what people decide to do with their penises and vaginas is the second question on the conservative questionnaire, right after “(fill in the blank) Lives Matter.” But what makes the particular brand of charlatans and chickenhawks currently in the White House special (well, special-er) is that they’re obsessed with each other’s dick’s too! There’s Anthony Scaramucci sharing that Steve Bannon must have had his ribs removed or something and giving us the WORST. IMAGERY. EVER. There’s “Reince Penis” — which apparently is the White House inner-sanctum nickname for Reince Priebus. (And what I will refer to him as for the rest of my days.) And there’s The Ribless Wonder himself, Steve Bannon, who reportedly called Paul Ryan a “limp dicked motherfucker” and whose favorite insult is “cuck” — a transparently racist term derived from a porn genre where White husbands watch their wives have sex with well-endowed Black men. These men have balls on the brain! Cock on the conscience! Their medulla oblongatas are peaking with peckers!
Of course, there are many possible reasons for their wang infatuations. Including one that reminds me of the time my inspection stickers were expired and I rode dirty for like three weeks and, because I was so self-conscious about my own substandard sticker, suddenly became obsessed with everyone else’s. I had severe inspection sticker envy. And maybe they’re obsessed with dicks because they’re dicks themselves. Sentient penises with crackling foreskins writing policy and enacting laws. (No one has looked more like an 80-year-old’s, swinging-happy-and-free-in-the-YMCA-locker-room flaccid wang than Steve Bannon.)
Who knows? I just know that they seem to be taking “fuck the world” literally. Which I guess explains why they hate condoms.