As a Nazi, President Trump has proved lackluster. The brownshirts and concentration camps that Hollywood types warned us to expect haven’t materialized. As an authoritarian, too, Trump is falling short of expectations: When judges defy his executive orders, he doesn’t send in the goon squads. He simply sends out a couple of tweets.
Liberals these days, especially showbiz types, are subtly altering the way they frame Trump. They can’t plausibly identify anything he’s actually done as an outrage to the Republic. So they’re internalizing the supposed Trump threat, claiming injury to their psyches, their souls, their selves. Insidiously, the harm Trump does comes disguised as harm they are doing to themselves. He won’t play along with their fantasy that he’s Hitler, so they’re devising an alternate fantasy where he’s more of a . . . witch.
Just as the Salem witches were blamed for the convulsions, mysterious ailments, and inscrutable gabble of a group of girls, the 31-year-old swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen, a proud left-wing Resistresse, complains that Trump is to blame for her anxiety and teeth grinding. She demands that the president compensate her by paying for her Botox injections.
“So f*** tired of this manically insane, incompetent president and this dumpster fire administration I’m gonna have to go on another med,” Teigen tweeted. “That is not a joke,” she added. “I think I need to either up my dosage or talk to my doctor to ‘see what works for me’ when the world explodes.”
Being more specific, she complained: “Today I had a tooth shaved down because crippling anxiety makes me grind and rock my teeth on one side. I blame trump.” Moreover, Teigen revealed, “I also had Botox in my jaw muscle to relieve tension from constantly clinching [sic]. I was not like this before. Pay my bill, POS POTUS.” (POS is a rude Internet acronym. It does not mean “piece of sunshine.”)
Like the Salem witches, Trump has provoked irrational outbursts and episodes of sudden raving that get mistaken for physical torment. The comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted after the election that she and others were suffering a “spiritual and emotional” Great Depression, adding, “Our bodies r breaking down w fear and rage.” Silverman later provided evidence that Trump was causing her mind, at least, to break down, when she mistook utility-company markings on sidewalks for swastikas.
The Hollywood Reporter claimed that “all the mental health experts” it consulted agreed that Los Angeles was in the grip of a Trump-induced mental-health crisis — an actual syndrome of mental derangement induced by Trump. In classic Salem style, Hollywood shrinks seem to be enabling unstable thoughts by acting like the witchcraft investigators who accepted at face value the delusions of the girls and urged them to blame others for their disquiet. Mental-health professionals in L.A., the Los Angeles Times reports, have been saying things like, “This is so monumental because we are not in normal anymore” and denouncing Trump as “so evil.”
Just as witches once were held to account for both floods and droughts, Trump is said to cause both weight gain and weight loss. On March 4, Barbra Streisand made an announcement to the world:
Donald Trump is making me gain weight. I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!
Just as witches once were held to account for both floods and droughts, Trump is said to cause both weight gain and weight loss.
Five minutes later, she cited Trump’s allegation of wiretapping by the Obama administration and added, “Seriously crazy times. Time for more pancakes.” The filmmaker Judd Apatow, though his physique in the Obama years was unlikely to be confused with Dwayne Johnson’s, told the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd that “it’s very hard to lose weight in the Trump era.” He fretted that Trump might cause him to gain as much as 30 pounds, noting:
There’s so many things that are hard to hear every day that you do want to have some Oreos. . . . Most of us are just scared and eating ice cream.
Yet Apatow’s creative partner on the TV series Girls, Lena Dunham, pinned her notable reduction of avoirdupois on the commander in chief, telling Howard Stern:
Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food. Everyone’s been asking like, “What have you been doing?” And I’m like, “Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.”
The fell clutches of Trump are everywhere. If critics don’t like the Netflix series Iron Fist, its star says that Trump is to blame. When black cops drag an Asian doctor off a flight to Louisville, it’s Trumpism in action, as actor John Cho (of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) implied when he blamed Trump for the United fiasco last month. Though a renowned teetotaler, Trump has even proven able to trick the unwitting into overindulgence in demon liquor. After Montana Fishburne, daughter of The Matrix star Laurence, was stopped by police with an open bottle of wine in her car and a reported blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, she cited “the situation we’re going through with Donald Trump,” clarifying, “I really don’t like the political situation in America.” Yet Trump also has the ability to make alcoholics stop drinking. Consider the Bust feminist writer with a history of alcoholism who credited Trump for inspiring her to stay sober because, she noted, “when I drink, I can’t be of much use to the world.”
Nearly 300 years after the mass hysteria in Massachusetts, historians theorized that there was an underlying cause to the Salem insanity: Ergot, a fungus associated with rye, could have caused hallucinations similar to those brought on by LSD, which is derived from ergot. Perhaps in 300 years, we’ll get a similarly sensible explanation for Hollywood’s Trump-induced hysteria. Is someone dropping acid in the ice-cube maker at the Ivy? Perhaps. But it seems more likely that celebrities are naturally bonkers. If so, it might be unwise to give much credence to their political commentary.