Be sure your s(k)in will find you out

Those years sitting as a boy-chorister in the stalls of St Nicholas, Wells-next-the-Sea, laid their marks upon me. For one example, I know this is from the Book of Numbers. Admittedly, I had to check to find the precise reference:

Then Moses said to them: “If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war, and all your armed men cross over the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies from before Him,  and the land is subdued before the Lord, then afterward you may return and be blameless before the Lord and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LordBut if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out. Build cities for your little ones and folds for your sheep, and do what has proceeded out of your mouth.” [Numbers, 32, 20-24]

There’s some decent guidance there for a modern political campaign:

  • don’t go in too early, but choose your time;
  • but do strike when the opportunity is timely;
  • and then get on with exploiting your expected victory and building the new society.

Now let’s consider the current state of Trumpery

My, my: the man has some problems —

Conceivably, by the end of another day he will have added more to the charge sheet.

Meanwhile Hillary seems to have jumped at least five opinion-poll points, and even her “unfavourable” numbers aren’t significantly worsening. While Trump’s could and should well be.

Shameless?

Last Sunday’s Observer had a piece by Gaby Hinsliff, Twitter Wars. It includes this:

The chilling thing about Trump isn’t just the casual racism and sexism, the breathtaking indifference to whatever is stirred up. It’s the niggling worry that he’s lighting fires under American life not because he can’t stop himself, but as a coldly calculated means to an end. Lacking an established political machine behind him or a war chest for TV advertising, Trump has been reliant on saying ever more incendiary things to keep his name in the news – which may be why the real jaw droppers have a knack of surfacing when he most needs free publicity.

“The norms have completely gone,” says a US strategist who has worked on the last three Democrat campaigns. “I remember in 2012 we’d try and call Mitt Romney a liar for basically telling lies and David Axelrod [Barack Obama’s chief strategist] would say: ‘Change that to falsehood.’ Trump doesn’t have any of those rules whatsoever. I mean, ‘Delete your account’ was pretty much outside the limits of what Hillary would have done four years ago, but you can’t even compare that to someone who’s retweeting white supremacists and Nazi memes.

“To get free media, he has to say stuff that’s reportable, and the level of extreme language is directly linked back to that. They took a conscious decision to make a remark about Mexicans being rapists for his launch to throw a spanner in the works of the other launches. I suspect he doesn’t even particularly have a worldview; it’s driven by a need to feed this publicity machine.”

All true and good. But I note in that the even more “chilling thing”. The Trump campaign has gone beyond pushing the acceptable limits of political discourse out of “indifference”. There is a “coldly calculated” intent to coarsen the debate, in the same way an aerial bombing campaign deliberately demolishes, degenerates and dislocates enemy infrastructure before the land-based assault. If Trump can reduce the political dialogue to his gutter level, he has won.

News management

Tim Fenton, the Guru of zero-street, was yesterday puzzling over the last item of that above bulleted list: why has Melinda Trump’s “modelling” career come to the attention of the New York Post at this precise moment? Except Tim sees it in a broader perspective:

Has Murdoch Abandoned Trump?
Trump still has one formidable backer in the shape of Rupert Murdoch, who has stood by while Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) has been The Donald’s main cheerleader, with hosts such as professional loudmouth Sean Hannity falling over themselves in their efforts to grovel before The Great Man. Then came the forced resignation of Fox News head man Roger Ailes. And that may have changed things.
That Rupe may be experiencing buyer’s remorse is hinted at as the New York Post, a Murdoch tabloid with the same subtlety level as the Sun, splashed an old photo of Trump’s current wife Melania on its front page yesterday. She used to be a nude model. The caption could have come from Kelvin McFilth himself: “THE OGLE OFFICE … Exclusive Photos … You’ve never seen a potential First Lady like this!” Yeah, phwoar, eh?!?!?
One argument the other way is: that was then, this is now. After all, wannabe UK royal princesses can now be papped in degrees of déshabillé and the world keeps turning. The ubiquitous camera/mobile phone ensures that no public embarrassment, no “wardrobe malfunction” can escape the likes of a Daily Mail‘s “sidebar of shame”.
In the matter of Mrs Trump I noticed that, as the New York Post were unveiling the object of the Donald’s affection, the man himself was going all coy and demure. Betsy Woodruff made her play for The Daily Beast:
Playboy Cover Model Donald Trump Pivots On Porn, Signs Pledgetrump-playboy

Businessman Donald Trump posed on the cover of Playboy. GOP nominee Trump has a very different take on porn. 

A day after his team praised the nude photos of his wife that the New York Postpublished, Donald Trump promised to be tough on internet pornography.

The mogul signed a document called the Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge, bemoaning “unfettered internet access by youth.” In signing the pledge, Trump also promised to “[g]ive serious consideration to appointing a Presidential Commission to examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth, families and the American culture and the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in the digital age.”

Wheels within wheels?

I find myself deploying a nano-second, factoring in the “other who and why”.

Who and why pointed the NY Post in this direction? After all, the Post — especially at week-ends — is not an obvious reserve of investigatory journalism.

So something very odd going on.

After the plagiarised speech, there was the sudden taking-off (there’s a lot of it going on, in this context) of the claim from the lady’s own web-site that she had a degree in design and architecture, earned in Slovenia. This claim appeared in the Republican National Convention program.

Whoops! On 19th July CBS demolished this, and asserted that Melania Knav (afterwards, that became “Knauss”) had dropped out after just one year of the course. The soft-core backstreet snappers of Milan and getting-her-kit-off offered a quicker a better, quicker deal for “Melania K”.

For a summary, I defer to Martha Ross, mross@bayareanewsgroup.com, and this — please note — in the “Local Sports” section:

Trump’s sanguine response raises more questions: notably, whether he or someone in his campaign helped make sure the photos were published.

After all, the photos were published in a newspaper that has endorsed him and might be inclined to gain some P.R. leverage.

And, what would Trump himself have to gain?

Gawker and the Huffington Post have some theories. A.M. Mitchell with the Huffington Post believes the publication of the photos was timed by Trump or his people to “plant a red herring into our political news cycle.”

Mitchell drills down on the timing. The photos went online after the Republicans had a pretty disastrous convention the week before and after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday … And after Trump this past week incited outrage over his various comments about NATO, Russian hackers sabotaging Clinton, Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine … And after he launched his controversial and lacerating criticism of the Muslim-American parents of a slain army captain.

What’s disturbing, Mitchell said, is that by publishing the photos, “Donald Trump and the Post are hanging Melania out to dry in a culture which is still, at its core, puritanical. … They are counting on her being retributively shamed by liberals who are hungry to avenge sexist slights against Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in order to gain what? A couple of points in the polls?”

She continues: “Donald Trump is complicit in allowing a publication which has endorsed him to victimize his own wife. If there is any story worth talking about here, that is it.”

Trump’s sanguine response raises more questions: notably, whether he or someone in his campaign helped make sure the photos were published.

After all, the photos were published in a newspaper that has endorsed him and might be inclined to gain some P.R. leverage.

And, what would Trump himself have to gain?

Gawker and the Huffington Post have some theories. A.M. Mitchell with the Huffington Post believes the publication of the photos was timed by Trump or his people to “plant a red herring into our political news cycle.”

Mitchell drills down on the timing. The photos went online after the Republicans had a pretty disastrous convention the week before and after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday … And after Trump this past week incited outrage over his various comments about NATO, Russian hackers sabotaging Clinton, Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine … And after he launched his controversial and lacerating criticism of the Muslim-American parents of a slain army captain.

What’s disturbing, Mitchell said, is that by publishing the photos, “Donald Trump and the Post are hanging Melania out to dry in a culture which is still, at its core, puritanical. … They are counting on her being retributively shamed by liberals who are hungry to avenge sexist slights against Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton in order to gain what? A couple of points in the polls?”

She continues: “Donald Trump is complicit in allowing a publication which has endorsed him to victimize his own wife. If there is any story worth talking about here, that is it.”

Cue Mrs Merton:

You know what comes next:

Let’s imagine the aftermath of the Trump/Knauss encounter at the Kit Kat Club, 124 W 43rd StNew YorkNY 10036,  (no relation), in 1998:

  • “So, the Donald, what first attracted you to the pneumatic (and subsequently enhanced) Miss K?”
  • “So, Melinda, who first attracted you to a billionaire, a quarter of a century older than yourself?”

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Filed under New York City, sleaze., smut peddlers, US Elections, US politics

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