What do Bashar Al-Assad, Kim Kardashian, Snooki, Nicolas Maduro and Donald Trump have in common?
If you feel a little loopy just trying to answer the question, I understand.
Given my teacherly disposition, I will make it multiple choice:
(a) Five people I nor you will likely ever have dinner with nor care to
(b) Five people whom nearly all of us wish their 15 minutes of fame were over
(c) Five people who regularly tweet, as in more times a day than they likely poop or sneeze
(d) all of the above
All are worth answers, but the full credit response is…… Drum roll please, unfortunately (d). Yes D for Donald Trump or D for dimwits who really think the world wants to know what is on their mind more often than they eat. Five modern day sophists who have added to the historical progression of thought by kindly donating several daily 140 character brainfarts to the written record. Five of our more enlightened and of course, well-intentioned souls who have exhausted every other possible means of communicating with their fan base before opting to tweet.
Here’s a sampling of the President-elect’s tweets from Friday.
Sorry in advance if my sarcasm is unappreciated. Perhaps I am underestimating the viral power of the social media version of having electrodes perpetually hooked up to our brains. Perhaps I am also underestimating the power of compact philosophies, tweet-sized aphorisms like “I think therefore I am” or “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. After all, Yogi Berra made an indelible name for himself with his famous Yogi-isms like “If there is a fork in the road, take it”.
But this isn’t about the pun-ish, self-deprecating wit and wisdom of one of the Yankees greats. Nor is it about the enduring power of proverbial comments. This isn’t even about the role of Twitter, which gives millions of us starstruck or at least slightly overcurious and under attentive souls including myself the chance to follow our favorite icons or catch up on what is trending such as #donuts or #Christmasjingles.
This is about a man who is six days away from becoming the most powerful person in the world and has a seemingly untreated addiction to tweets. And it’s not as if he is sharing mundane details such as ” I had Boston cream pie for my lunch dessert and it was off the chain” or “Go Tom Brady. You’re the only guy with a better life than I have” or even “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”. Those would actually be catchy glimpses into his unique thought process.
No. Our president-elect prefers to use Twitter to make bold policy proclamations, play verbal games of uncle with unsupportive celebrities and most likely, deal with his insomnia in the way most 70 grandfathers of five do, by settling discomforting grudge matches with anyone who deigns to try to get under his skin. The man who famously had someone ghostwrite the “Art of the Deal” now wants to do the writing himself in the wonderful high art platform of social media.
Mr. Trump, once accused of being callous, narcissistic, manipulative and you name the other pathologies, must show his 5 million followers that he is also, well, a little sensitive. Where is Oprah when we need her most. Or Freud.
To provide tangible evidence of the sources of my bewilderment, I am going to post a few of Trump’s more prominent twitter exchanges, or as I would like to call it, Twittantrums. As a burgeoning journalist, I should probably be grateful for Trump’s candor and compulsions.
But as a relatively well-informed citizen and regular voter, I am perplexed. So much for old adage of sticks and stones….. More on that later. For now, I will select four exchanges out the 2100 tweets Trump has posted since declaring his intention to run for president. I will let you decide if he picks his battles wisely.
(1) If you can’t catch him, then at least try to scare him on Twitter. Trump v. El Chapo
-Fortunately your plan to build a big wall will certainly prevent El Chapo or any of his pals from entering the U.S.
(2) Trump v. Alec Baldwin – SNL is a longstanding satirical show with a heavy bend towards political satire. Trump actually has hosted the show twice and claim to have loved it both times. He along with hundreds of other candidates has been parodied. But clearly the love is lost once you become president-elect.
Trump hosting SNL in November 2015…
One year later…
(3) Donald Trump vs. Mark Cuban – My billions are bigger than yours.
If Trump should like anyone this world it is Mark Cuban. They have Texan sized egos, a fearless approach to business, and love bringing their egos/unique brand of entrepreneurial opportunism to the big screen. But somehow, and go figure that there would be some software glitches this election season, they ended up on opposite teams. Frankly, I wish Mark Cuban had run on the Democratic ticket. Here’s a little Trump snippet from earlier this fall,
Note to Donald. This was one of your lamer tweets. I doubt”failing” at Benefactor keeps Mr. Cuban up at night.
(4) Today’s Twittantrum – Trump vs. Civil Rights leader and longstanding congressman John Lewis. Amazingly Trump and Lewis are about the same age (Lewis is 76). And I give Trump credit for aging and choosing wives well. But Lewis has fifty years of experience in public service, which includes being re-elected over twenty times and taking many blows to the face while leading Civil Rights marches in the 60’s.
I would add more but I have two fears. One, I might begin seeing these tweets as so absurdly entertaining that I follow Trump on Twitter. Two, I might think there is a method to his madness and begin tweeting more myself. So before I drift into the oceans of hypocrisy, I will offer Mr. Trump some free, Freudian styled advice. After all, he seems to be very receptive to what others say about him.
(1) Get help. As one who has spent time in 12 step groups, I know that compulsions don’t have to dominate our lives, with the exception of eating cheese or cheese popcorn. Seek a Tweeters Anonymous group near you or simply ask your newfound higher power for guidance as to best presidential practice. My guess is over-tweeting is a gateway drug and not so presidential.
(2) Give your tweets the old 24 hour rule. This of course will involve something slightly neurotic like leaving a draft of your desired tweet in your phone “notes” or sending a text message for yourself but if there is something so urgent that you must share with the world, perhaps something that pierced your skin, sit on it for a day.
(3) If you can’t sleep at night or wake up really early, grab a book. Just read, one it will tire your eyes out at night and two, you might find reading to be a nice diversion from the pressure of reducing profound thoughts into 140 characters.
(4) Tweet, but tweet with a slant – This is an allusion to an Emily Dickinson poem about truth. If you are tempted to fire back at Alec Baldwin, try a different approach like “hey Alec, if you are ever in DC, I could use a stunt double so I can get some golf in. Come on by 1600 Pennsylvania Ave when you’re in town. And bring your wig.#MSNLGA”
(5) Get some thicker skin over the next six days. Most presidents get criticized, ridiculed or even lampooned quite frequently. Get used it. Millions of people won’t like you here in the U.S. and billions worldwide. It’s part of the job of being the boss.
(6) If you really like social media that much, maybe appoint yourself White House Social Media strategist or even better, become your archenemy – a journalist.
(7) If you really want to engaged in playful verbal combat, follow me @anamebyanyother. I’m up for the challenge and let the truth be told, could really use some more followers.
You can even tell me to…. “tweet off dude”. I won’t take it personally.