Copy deadlines dictate that I am writing this article more than a week in advance of the US presidential election. That aside, the timing of this edition’s theme could not have been more apt. The theme of marking sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence comes at a time when a high-profile court case frees a previously-jailed professional footballer on a re-trial following a previous rape conviction and a US presidential candidate is recorded making outrageously misogynistic comments on camera.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, Donald Trump will have failed in his bid for the White House. Had Trump won the election, nobody in Aberdeen will be reading this article, as their city will have been obliterated by a series of air-strikes in retaliation for building a wind farm next to his golf course, and for Robert Gordon’s University revoking his honorary degree.
Trump dismissed his recorded sexist comments as being ‘locker room banter’ which is code for ‘I didn’t mean what I was saying’ or ‘I was talking utter bollocks’. Hardly a vote-winning position: ‘Vote for Me. I’m a total bull shitter’.
Trump attempted to shift attention away from his comments by again focussing on Hilary Clinton’s leaked e-mails. However, were scrutiny to be placed on his own internet browsing history, I think, he would hardly be so smug. Goodness knows what specialist porn would come up in such a search.
The great and the good of Republican Party immediately come out to denounce Trump’s comments, including the former Governor of California himself. When you are seen as being too much of a sleazy sex-pest by Arnold Schwarzenegger, it really is time to take a long, hard look at yourself. (I hopefully typed those words in the right order !)
To explain away such offensive comments as ‘locker room banter’ is really no excuse. Since when did being in a changing room suddenly negate all rules about political correctness or human decency. I have been a member of various gyms in a number of different cities in both Scotland and England stretching back over twenty years. On an average of two to three sessions a week – let’s call it two-point-five to make the statistics more accurate – this amounts to approximately two thousand, six hundred visits to the gym. This works out at nearly two-thousand, one-hundred and sixty-seven hours, or a little over three months, spent in locker rooms. While the banter tends to be banal in the extreme, I can honestly state that in all that time I have never overheard remarks as boastfully offensive and denigrating towards women. But then, I obviously do not spend as much time in the locker room as Donald Trump, who must spend at least thirty minutes after he’s come out of the shower attempting to get that haystack of a hairdo back into place.
This could, of course, illustrate Trump as being incapable of even the most basic example of multi-tasking? It could be that he finds changing out of his trousers into sports gear at the same time at the same time as remembering what constitutes unacceptable language a little too difficult. We call recall that a past president, Gerald Ford, was famously once described by another past president, Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ), as being ‘unable to walk and chew gum at the same time’. The saltier version was ‘fart and chew gum at the same time’ but the US media translated it into a softer version for decency.
We have all been aware throughout the past eighteen months leading up to election day on November 8 that Trump is a monster. It is the changing nature of his monstrosity that has continued to simultaneously intrigue and repulse the public that has kept his campaign fascinating. He appeared at first to be a blowhard braggart and borderline fantasist, but then developed the persona of a boorish racist bigot who went onto reveal himself as full-blooded fascist before being accused of being a serial sex pest. It’s been like watching Walter Mitty turn into Alf Garnett who morphs into Mussolini but actually turns out to be Jimmy Savile all along.
Predictably, Melania Trump stood by her man, as all putative first ladies must. But even her statement of support, which was almost certainly written by somebody else who was probably a bloke, seemed somewhat lukewarm. Her statement ran along the lines that what her husband had said was not acceptable but that he was still the man to make America great again. Which is akin to saying: ‘Think what you like about Rolf Harris but I reckon he could lead Australia out of its current recession’.
Melania Trump’s stilted speaking manner reminds me of those recording that kidnappers release where the victim re-assures their family and loved ones that they are safe and well, and that they are being well fed and looked after. That, combined with her rabbit-in-the-headlights facial expression, makes her resemble someone suffering from severe post-traumatic stress – which, after eleven years of marriage to Donald Trump, she probably is.
The very idea that Trump ever stood for election will hopefully be seen in future years as being the greatest moment of madness to be inflicted on a once-proud nation. Unless, of course, Charles Manson gets out on parole in time to make a bid for the presidency in 2020. The very idea of Trump as a presidential candidate is as obscene as Ched Evans being nominated for BBC ‘Sports Personality of the Year’. God help us all, and hopefully the American people will have voted with their heads come 9 November.
Vladimir McTavish will be appearing in The Stand Comedy Club’s satirical revue Topical Storm in Edinburgh on Wednesday 19th November and Wednesday 21st December and in Glasgow on Monday 28th November. All shows start at 8.30pm www.thestand.co.uk