Donald Trump, the Tasteless

While many of you drive to work, I travel to work. I have a long commute. Besides, I need to go through a tunnel and a bridge. How long is my commute?  Well, if there are no traffic jams en route, it takes over an hour each way. But these days are rare. Days of 90-min commute each way are common. Sometimes, it even takes 150 minutes. Once the Parkway freezes due to bad weather or accidents, automobiles only crawl, not only on the freeway, but also on all the alternate routes.

I’ve tried several things to keep myself busy during my long commute — like trying to memorize Sanskrit shlokas and Tamil verses — some of them ribald and scatological; listening to NPR; rock or country music; or the fire-and-brimstone or syrupy Christian preachers. But nothing like radio talk shows. For a variety of reasons, most of the radio talk shows have a strong right-wing tilt. Having listened to them for long, I have a high threshold for their predictable rhetoric.  So, I listen to Sean Hannity on 104.7 and his adoring fans on FM every day on my way home. Sometimes Quinn and Rose on my way to work.

My threshold could be high for right-wing rhetoric, but my tolerance is rather low for tastelessness, as I found out recently listening to Sean.

It was on January 24, and in the 3rd hour on Hannity’s afternoon radio talk show, somewhere between the 20th and 40th minute. He was interviewing Donald Trump. Hannity patronizingly admires Trump for his business acumen, wealth, bravado, ambition, his expensive lifestyle, and also for his charming wife and lovely children.

That Donald Trump is vainglorious and pompous is well known. But vanity and pomposity can make one quickly slip into tastelessness, as it happened that day.

Trump was responding to Hannity adoringly telling Trump how lovely his daughter was.

I was astounded by Trump’s response. I did not get the exact words.  But this is the gist of what he said:  “Sean, my daughter is so gorgeous that if I were young today, I will date her.”

Trump is known for his garish tastes. But still, could he not have found some other way of telling how gorgeous his daughter is?  It ruined the reminder of my long commute back home, as if getting stuck on the Parkway staring at the tailpipes of the vehicles in front of me was not bad enough.

My colleague at work once told me, “Venkat, you cannot buy taste with wealth.”  How true!  Besides, as a Tamil saying goes, “For every crow, its fledglings are the most beautiful.”      –  By   K S Venkataraman

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