Friday, April 24, 2020

Dramatic Reading: Triggered: Donald Trump Jr: Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Class Warfare

Lot of stories of growing up. Learning from Dad. Hating the left. 

This is chapter four and I just can’t. It’s a lot of virtue signalling to certain blocks of voters. It starts with stories of Donald Trump walking job sites with his kids checking for sand trap depths and such. Then, stories of Lil D and his various summer jobs where he forged his iron-clad work ethic. Then, all the growing up rich he did. Then, some hunting.  Also, How his Dad underpaid him when he started doing a more physically difficult job. Pull your brain basket out for the big quote.

“I thought, I used to make hundreds of dollars in tips, smelling nothing but sunscreen and salt water, and now I’m in mud and sawdust up to my knees, wiping dirt out of my eyes, and working around sweaty dudes for less money. I decided I would tell my father that weekend after dinner what I had realized about my paychecks. I assumed that he would immediately raise my pay and commend me for realizing how unfair the system was to working guys like me.”

Certainly doesn’t paint that familiar picture of hard work being its own reward. I bet it works out just like this dumb laborer thinks it will.

Okay. I must bring this all to halt to tell you that, in the book, the discussion between Trump the elder and Lil D is presented in the form of a one act play. Cringeworthy move, Mr. Editor.

Here’s what you’re looking for:

“Why would I do that? You think people are going to give you more money just because you’re a nice guy? They’re not, Donnie. Anything you want, you have to go and get it. Nothing is going to be handed to you. Nothing. You have to earn it before you ask for it! Always remember: you don’t get anything you don’t ask for.”

The narrative gets a little fuzzy here on why Lil D believes he deserves more money. In the play, it’s because he’s doing more work at the job site. So, step by step:

“Anything you want, you have to go and get it.”

Now, my analytical skills are rusty, but I think that’s exactly what Lil D is doing. He’s going to negotiate with the boss about pay. Look, it’s made clear in the book that, in retrospect, Lil D considers this to be a formative lesson in negotiation. He compares it to “playing your first pick-up basketball game against Michael Jordan.” 

 “Nothing is going to be handed to you.”

Except, in this case, the job. Now, I’m not going to say that I remember every inch of this chapter, but I’d remember if there was a story about Lil D being the best available candidate for the job. How he’d interviewed really spectacularly against an array of top contenders from all the best places. I know, I know. People give their kids jobs all the time in an effort to teach them work ethic. But, what interests me most here is what’s taken for granted.

“You have to earn it before you ask for it!”

Right. So, earlier, Big Poppa Trump says that he didn’t give Lil D a raise because Lil D had not asked for one. If we apply this fun little algorithm which presumes to calculate pay after the work has been done, Lil D has done things in the correct order. In that, he is now asking for his more money after he has “earned it.” How can he also be wrong in not asking before he “earned it.”

“Always remember: you don’t get anything you don’t ask for.”

 This is the most sinister line of all. And I use that word carefully. I don’t believe this is addressing the apparent lack of appropriate remunerations. I think this is Big Boppa Trump telling his son that he was underpaid because he wasn’t smart enough not to be. That’s the dark lesson here from the Trump parenting playbook. If something bad happens to you, it’s because you deserved it.

That’s that good, good gravy. Because it would seem to make the opposite true as well. If something good happens to you, it’s because you deserve it. Anything you have or are given, by virtue of whatever attribute, you deserve. We’ve caught a vicious little Ourbouros.

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