The Gettysburg Address, as Delivered by Donald Trump, During the Battle of Gettysburg

gettysburg-speech

Alexandra Petri—who else?—imagines the scene:

[Lincoln steps onto the field at Gettysburg and produces a speech.]

Four score and seven years ago,

[A cannonball whooshes overhead.]

our forefathers brought forth on this continent

[Several cavalrymen go galloping past, scattering pages of the speech.]

a new nation, conceived in liberty

[A Minié ball whistles narrowly by, knocking off the speaker’s hat.]

and dedicated to the proposition

[A loose artillery horse rushes over in a state of confusion, gets its legs tangled and knocks over the podium.]

that all men are created equal.

[The remainder of the speech flutters uselessly to the ground.]

[The noise of many tramping feet draws closer.]

And now we are here to dedicate a portion of this field

[“Steady, men!” cries a voice of command.]

in memory of what a good job we have done

[“Hold your cannon fire!” another voice yells. “Wait for their approach!”]

in this battle that is clearly past.

[Bugles blow and drums rattle.]

[Serried ranks of men begin to make their way across the open field, banners waving in the afternoon air.]

[From behind the fence, the rifles open fire.]

He Can Name Barron, But He Cannot Name Barron a Baron

Barron

Alexandra Petri, Pamela Karlan committed the one unspeakable crime:

At last they have gone and done it. They have crossed that last frontier of decency. They have insinuated the unbearable — nay, the unthinkable: that Barron Trump is not a baron.

“While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” said Professor Pamela Karlan at the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing. I am chagrined to retype the words, so obviously loathsome are they. To state that a child is not a baronet — this is the worst kind of speech, and one of many reasons we ought to consider tightening up that First Amendment. …

No, this indignation is entirely justified. To allude to the fact that the president has minor children who are not royalty is the unkindest cut of all, and we must leave them out of it.

This outrage is certainly not trumped up — oh, no, now I have gone and invoked a child’s last name, too. Surely the tumbrel is coming for me.

All Seriousness Aside

All seriousness aside, sarcastic humor has its place. Like in this blog. Or, better yet, in an Alexandra Petri column.

But a witness is always advised to stay away from sarcastic humor while witnessing. It generally does not go over well.

The Devil’s Advocate

Trump in hell

Alexandra Petri writes,

… Barr then is in another hearing room. It is about the same as in Congress, only the light all feels artificial, as though it is deep underwater, seen through feet of smeared glass. Perhaps deeper than that. The walls of the room seem to heave and breathe and perspire.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) is still running the hearing, but he looks a little more concerned, and hotter. Barr is in the midst of talking. There is a Bible in front of him, but for some reason he does not wish to touch it. …

“I have not read the full evidence,” Barr says, “but I am confident this so-called Good Book largely exonerates my client. The serpent did no wrong.” …

“There isn’t any law against offering people free apples. Though it could be argued that those apples were planted there by his opponent and, thus, any attempt to use them to indict him is fruit of a poisoned tree. In fact, the real question is why a nude woman was trying to take ownership of a garden. The real question is what she was trying to cover up afterward.”

“All these allegations that they saw him transform into a serpent are just mind-bendingly bizarre, and I don’t know why they were spying on him. He should be allowed to transform into a serpent in privacy, although, of course he did not. ‘Spying’ is not a pejorative term.” …

“Tormenting a righteous man and covering him with boils and demolishing his cattle — some would call that Job creation. That’s what I call it.”

A deep sulfurous rumble, almost like laughter, like the belch after you had eaten a soul that did not agree with you.

“The real question is why this framework for judgment and investigation was constructed in the first place. My client has a right to retaliate when he feels he is being treated unjustly. If anyone comes along and seeks to cast you out of a place, you are entitled to retaliate. You are where you are because you deserve to be there.” …

“Did he try to lead people into temptation? I am struggling with the word temptation. I will spend up to 40 days struggling with it. Tempt? Did he tempt people? I’m sorry, I do not know what the word means. I am confused. Did he suggest that people do bad things? What are words? What is bad? I am sorry, I have forgotten the meaning of all words. I have forgotten even myself. I am just a little baby who has gotten here for the first time today. No word carries any value or meaning. I say them and they flutter away and I forget them, like instructions from a president.” …

“Yes, I am familiar with the people who have called him directly and personally responsible for every bad thing that happens, and who have castigated me for my willingness to serve as his personal defender. But afterward, I called them on the phone and they said they did not mean it. They said really they were upset because of the way it was talked about. They regretted denouncing me. I wish that instead of the evidence of all the derogatory things they said publicly in writing, you had evidence of all the good things that they said afterward, definitely, in secret, where only I could hear them. And my client, who hears all things. No matter where we are.” The light is gone. His voice echoes. “Where are we?”

If this were a nightmare, the sound would wake him, but it has not awakened him yet. He meant well enough. He knows where he is.

Senator Grassley Remembers the Ladies

remember 2

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s inability to attract Republican women might be caused by its heavy workload, a remark the panel’s chairman tried to retract a few minutes later.

“It’s a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it,” Grassley told [reporters].

Washington Post

Well, sure, I am going to vote yes on Kavanaugh, sweetie. Don’t become hysterical. But I just feel so awful it had to happen like this. It’s such a shame, I think.

I just think, dollface, if there is one thing that came out of all this, sugar, that was good, it is, pumpkin, that you got to have your say. Baby, you got to stand up in front of all these people and bear witness to what you felt like you had experienced, like a big girl! It was so important, and I absolutely believed you, sweetheart! …

I think the people who should feel bad, though, honey pie (not you, of course, duckling!) are the people who told you that if you said something, it might matter. That was mean of them. What was so cruel was that you, baby girl, had to bear witness thinking that something would happen. I suppose you didn’t know, sugar tits, that nothing was going to happen, doll baby. But I was so inspired by you and what you did! It was so brave, pudding! It was so wonderful, toots!

Alexandra Petri, But I hope you feel empowered, sweet cheeks

“Quid est Veritas?” Asked Rudy Giuliani, Depicted Below, Examining Jesus While Dreaming of a Butterfly

Rudi and Jesus

Channeling Pontius Pilate, Giuliani has claimed that “truth isn’t truth,” and then clarified this puzzling assertion by explaining that “truth is relative.”

This has been the occasion of considerable merriment. Eugene Robinson trenchantly observes, “Whenever the Trump administration ends, we already have its shameful epitaph: ‘Truth isn’t truth.’”

Alexandra Petri amplifies Rudy’s thinking:

The thing you have to understand is that there is nothing to testify about. Certainly, objective reality does not exist. None of my actions have consequences because there is no world outside myself. That is why I work for the Trump administration. (Which does not, of course, exist — a fact that is a constant balm to the consciences of those who work there, assuming they can be said to work for a thing whose existence is in doubt, and assuming they possess consciences.)

You, Chuck, are, I believe, limited by the notion that we share a frame of reference. That what one of us does affects another. This is, of course, untrue. …

All I know is the line between law and crime, between truth and untruth, between reality and fantasy — there is no line. They are infinitely fungible. Everything is real, or, perhaps, more simply, nothing is real. This is a belief system that the president and I share, although he is of course not real, merely a cruel joke concocted by my mind, like a dream metaphor that feels too on-the-nose. (I often have dreams that are too pointed; flying, falling, mainly falling. I have not troubled myself to understand them.) …

I snap my fingers — the wall exists already! It is beautiful and tall. I close my eyes; my hands become enormous, large enough to engulf entire cities. I merely wish, and I am an expert upon any subject. The instant I cease to recollect the existence of Puerto Rico, it ceases to be a problem. I am the measure of all things. When I say that there are good people on all sides, it becomes so. Global warming is, of course, not real, because, again, nothing exists. …

Maybe there is no morality or law. Does the Constitution exist? Is not the existence of any kind of law or truth not the greatest lie of all?

Our actions have no consequences, and we move aimlessly in a void. How do I sleep at night? How do you know I am not sleeping now?

Good Question about Sleeping, Rudy: Zhuangzi Wondered about the Same Thing

The story, as translated by Lin Yutang,  goes like this:

“Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.”

Alexandra Petri ‘Splains It All

cat

Rudy Giuliani has violated the Trumpworld canon:

It would be petty to accuse Donald Trump of lying. He is doing something more complicated. He has been painstakingly constructing a fictional universe over the past 30 years. (Happy Star Wars Day, Internet!) He has built a world full of colorful, mustachioed characters — some doctors, some lawyers, some national security advisers — in which he possesses supernatural powers, a secret identity (John Barron), and wealth and health that cannot be measured using ordinary tools. He has also been elected president of the United States.

Nobody is lying in Trumpworld. The facts are evolving. The canon is constantly being revised in order to satisfy passionate fans, and the haters can suck it up. …

The boundaries of Trumpworld are controlled only by the Word of God (Trump, its creator). His statements alone carry weight, until they don’t. …

This is the reality-TV kind of reality where, in post-production, you can unsay anything. If Trump hadn’t been elected president, he would still be building this world in his basement.

If this were simply real life or simply fiction, it would be much easier. But Trumpworld is a fictional universe in which real people are being forced to live. So you cannot say something either happened or did not happen. You must check with the Creator to see whether it happened, and sometimes his answer will change mid-sentence. Somebody who thought she was familiar with the plot points will make a statement that seems to logically follow, and it will turn out that she did not know what she was talking about.