The Independent

Donald's tromp de l'eoil


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The Child is Father of the Man

"My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety." -Wm. Wordsworth

Descended from one Friedrich Drumpf and Elizabeth Christ (you may look it up), what may we truthfully say about this scion of 'natural piety'?

Putting aside the surname of his maternal ancestor -- as this is largely about fathers and sons -- we'll explore the perhaps Oedipal aspects of this famously famous personage, with an 'eye' toward seeing him as he was (child) and is (man).

While acknowledging the perverse use to which my own surname has been put by both Communists in the then Soviet Union and those who insist (to my delight) in spelling it as 'Prada', we're not delving into the psyche of this far less interesting writer; instead, employing the wonderful French phrase now adopted by our very receptive language, we're having a look beyond the carefully picture painted by the self-taught bovine caca artist, formerly known as Donald Trump (any similarity to Prince, other than the royal implications, is strictly prohibited by the assuredly Caucasian Mr. Trump).

First, as you'll recall from those intentionally erudite-sounding stuffy interior decorators and art history majors you might have suffered not so gladly, 'tromp d'loeil' means fool the eye, howsoever well done it may be. This business of fooling people, largely by way of their eyes has been improved upon, but half-again as much as may be credible. The artist in question has, as he surely might agree, improved 'absolutely', 'totally' upon this ancient perspective technique so as to include your ears and even your 'taste', the latter technique intended to dazzle with his overuse of rococo, here described as 'whoa caca'.

Second, looking at the physical architecture of his projects, a la Trump Tower (his official palace?), that French style associated with ornate trappings like gilding, and accentuating the use of light (as it accompanied The Enlightenment), let's drill down: from the word 'rocaille', meaning 'shell work'. Hmm, Trump, shell, ro-caca. One expert source put it squarely apropos this scion of American royalty:

"Rococo art portrayed an art artificiality, make-believe and game-playing... it was essentially an art of the aristocracy and emphasized... unreflective and indulgent lifestyles of the aristocracy rather than piety..."

Finally, alluding back to Wordsworth's poetic prophecy, so to speak, we may now peer beneath the mask of clay worn so royally by this artist known simply as 'The Donald', and learn, perhaps, that below that golden crown affixed in so baroque a style, lies... a spinner of lies of such grandeur as would make the courtiers, you and I, bow to his glitzy throne.

One final thought, expressed rather conclusively (and relevant to my theme) by another product of France: "Even on the highest throne in the world, we are still sitting on our ass." Caca, indeed... which reminds me of my late Uncle Art Stein's poetry on the subject -- "It tuckus a long time, but ass alright".

I raise my stein, then, to you The Donald, aka Mr. D(r)ump(f).

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Updated May 6, 2017 6:00 AM EDT | More details

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