Presidency Porn
New Zealand Listener|September 22-28 2018
Presidency Porn

The torrent of revelations from inside the White House carries the risk that Americans become desensitised to Donald Trump’s unpresidential behaviour.

Paul Thomas

In a 2000 essay that appeared in the short-lived Talk magazine and resurfaced in his 2017 non-fiction collection The Rub of Time, British writer Martin Amis claimed that:

- The average American spends four hours and 51 minutes a day watching porn.

- The average non-homeowning American male spends more on porn than he does on rent.

- Pornography accounts for 43.5% of the US gross domestic product.

Amis admitted that he’d made these “statistics” up. And he probably could have got away with it because “the true figures are similarly wild, similarly dizzying, similarly through the roof”. Although mindful of the frequently invoked caveat that the pornography industry exaggerates the size of everything, it does seem to be the case that porn is bigger than Hollywood and more profitable than America’s big three professional sports – baseball, basketball and football – combined.

We’re entering similar territory with regard to “shock” revelations about Donald Trump’s conduct and the goings-on at the heart of his Administration, the latest of which are revealed in fabled reporter Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White House and the New York Times op-ed piece written by a “senior figure” in the administration who understandably prefers to remain anonymous.

These dispatches from the front line contain some arresting detail, but they are essentially variations on a theme that emerged very early in Trump’s presidency. And just as pornography is so pervasive that no estimates of its footprint and financial clout, however improbable, can be dismissed out of hand, the madness of and around King Donald is now so apparent that we’re disposed to believe almost anything:

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September 22-28 2018