It was Donald Trump’s “disaster” interview. “Shocking,” declared The Guardian. “Weak and flailing,” said CNN. “The president has a bad brain,” proclaimed one late-night talk show host, apparently without irony. So, after a few days, I sat down to watch this “car crash”. By the end of 40 minutes, I was, frankly, confused. Had I been watching the wrong video? Was there some segment I had missed? Did he fall off his chair after the cameras stopped?
Yes, the president made a number of preposterous claims. When he boasted about the brilliance of his pandemic travel bans, I felt irritated. When he cast doubt on South Korea’s Covid data, without any evidence, I sighed. When he claimed that he had done more for African Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln, I snorted.
三级成人视频And yes, the journalist asking the questions, Jonathan Swan of the website Axios, employed a more effective style than most Trump interviewers. He neither barraged the president with aggression nor fawned over him. He interjected useful follow-up questions and used facts. Many of Mr Trump’s answers sounded poor, but mostly in the usual politician way – “it never crossed my desk”, for instance, is almost Clinton-esque.
But where was the killer blow, the knock-out humiliation all these clever commentators were crowing about? I started watching, convinced that the US’s Covid record was dire. I came out of it still thinking so, but also surprised to hear that the country is conducting one of the world’s most extensive testing programmes三级成人视频 (yes, this claim of Mr Trump’s does stack up). I began the tape thinking that Mr Trump’s stance against postal voting was pure cynicism and ended up conceding that he does also have a point: postal voting on the scale being suggested for November sounds like mayhem. In short, I pressed “play” expecting all-out crisis denialism and instead heard the president concede things are difficult.
There wasn’t much there to convince an average viewer, who probably doesn’t follow Covid statistics or debates on intelligence briefings, that this was a man with “scrambled egg” for brains, as one leftie “comedian” put it. Based on his character and his incompetence, he should be toast in November. But if the American Left is too busy sharing “hilarious” memes to understand how most of their fellow voters see the world, they may end up seeing an awful lot more of Mr Trump.
Could it be superstition that stops you getting a post-lockdown haircut?
I still know several people awaiting their first post-lockdown haircut. In one case, it’s an abundance of caution. In another, it’s pure dedication to one particular stylist, who seems to attract fiercely loyal customers. Her backlog is so large that she was booked up until September immediately after reopening bookings.
There is an element of superstition to this sort of commitment that reminds me of a passage in The Golden Bough, a history of magic and religion by James George Frazer (a book I’ve mentioned before, as attentive readers may spot). In a discussion of ancient taboos, Frazer records that hair clippings hold a special status in many magical or religious belief systems.
三级成人视频Most commonly, innumerable tribes have believed over the years that anyone who could get hold of a lock of their hair would thereby obtain the power to bewitch or cast harmful voodoo spells on them. They took great care only to cut their hair in specific circumstances and to store or destroy the cuttings. Some believed that when the day of resurrection arrived (a startlingly widespread concept across the world), they would be accountable for all their various bodily detritus and needed to know exactly where to find all their old clippings to avoid extra faff on the day.
三级成人视频Few, however, could match the anxiety felt by the chief of a tribe in Fiji, Frazer records. Whenever his need for a haircut arose, it was such a serious matter that the tribe convened a special council to select a man whom the chief could eat before his visit to the barber, to obtain protection from any baneful effects. “Eat out to help out”, as they say.
Eat out to payout?
On which note, one country pub I know found that all of its older clientele were carefully staying away even after it reopened – until, that is, the Chancellor announced meal deals for all.
Generously, I suppose one could theorise that Rishi Sunak’s ten quid offer was a signal that it really was safe to come out. Less generously, perhaps these older pub-goers put a somewhat lower price tag on their lives than Government policy does.