Monthly Archives: April 2011

Trump, Marketing and the Presidency

If you’re someone who keeps up on current events you know one fact to be true: the world is full of assholes. There are the billions of literal assholes, of course, and then the figurative ones that seem to make their way into our daily news cycle.

Sometimes the asshole in question is a badly dressed despot (think Gadhafi) and other times they’re strategically misinformed fear mongers (think anyone appearing on Fox News). In recent weeks, one of America’s all-time great jackasses has managed to commandeer a ridiculous amount of press by threatening to run for the Presidency of the United States.

If there were an asshole Hall of Fame, Donald Trump would get in on the first ballot. The peak of the self-aggrandizing real-estate mogul’s jackass-ery may have been his recent celebrity roast on Comedy Central. As close friends and professional comedians took profane shots at the Donald’s career, enigmatic hair and love life, the guest of honor stared blankly at the audience, staunching refusing to acknowledge that any part of his life could possibly be the butt of a joke.

In the last couple weeks, the man with the world’s most famous comb over has provided future roasters with even more comedic gold by insinuating he might run for President in 2012.  While the idea of a Trump candidacy is funnier than a Jeff Ross put down,  there are many out there who don’t get the joke. The media is covering Trump and his potential campaign like it’s  a missing blonde co-ed and Republican voters have put some legitimacy behind the threat by moving him to the top of the GOP field in a recent poll with 26%.

This would all be very newsworthy except that there’s no chance of a Trump campaign ever getting off the ground. In fact, I’d say there’s a better chance of Lindsay Lohan gracing next month’s cover of Good Housekeeping.

For one, he doesn’t actually want to run. He admitted as much during a weekend interview with CNN. “I love my life. I love what I’m doing. I wish I didn’t have to do it. I would prefer not doing it. But I love this country.”

While I appreciate his selfless patriotism, a true patriot would have spared the American public from having to watch Meatloaf and Gary Busey yell at each other on primetime television. And I could be wrong, but that quote certainly doesn’t make it sound like the host of “The Apprentice” is ready and willing to go through the grind of a long political campaign.

Trump also knows he can’t win. As iconic as he may be, the GOP is not exactly a party known for taking a lot of chances with their presidential nominations. They have a long and storied tradition of putting the “next guy in line” on stage at their convention and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon. Besides, does anyone really believe that Red State voters are going to come out in droves to cast their ballots for an elitist business tycoon from New York City who’s been married three times?

But the real reason Trump will not throw his proverbial hat into the ring is simple: financial disclosure forms. These documents are a requirement for candidates and Trump’s would be a particularly interesting revelation because of the public’s perception of his empire. No matter how much money the Donald is really worth, there’s always a chance that the figure, no matter how high, would seem inadequate.

The myth of Donald Trump’s wealth and success is perhaps the most important part of his public persona. If the numbers in his documents revealed him to be quite wealthy as opposed to really obnoxiously otherworldly rich it could seriously damage the Trump brand. And that’s something he would never allow to happen.

Trump is a brilliant self-promoter who has an uncanny ability of knowing when and where to rear his ugly head. He’s recognized a power vacuum amongst Conservatives and has pounced at the chance to fill it. Not because he has any serious ambitions for the highest office in the land but because badmouthing Obama and questioning the legitimacy of the President’s citizenship is good for business.

By endearing himself to the birthers and tea party faithful at the most extreme end of the political spectrum, he’s opening up new markets for all things Trump. He’s speculating on the anti-Obama crowd, knowing that these are consumers who have yet to drink from the Trump trough. But now that’s he’s gained their trust they’ll be ripe for the picking the next time he’s selling a book or promoting a reality show.

Donald Trump’s faux run at the White House is not about patriotism or love of country. It’s not about righteousness or outrage. It’s not even about politics. It’s about ego, money and little else.

And if that doesn’t make him one of the great American assholes then I don’t know what would.


Charlie Sheen, Cobras and Winning

Sometimes life sucks. How much it sucks and how often it sucks depends on where you fall on the human misery scale. The people at the highest end of this scale live in soul-crushing poverty in war torn nations. Close your eyes and point at a map of Africa and you’re likely to find one of these countries.

The people at the lowest end of this scale are the rich, famous and powerful. Close your eyes and point to a copy of US Weekly (or the Wall Street Journal for those of you too good to glance at checkout tabloids) and you’re likely to find one of the blessed. But sometimes even the very fortunate have to deal with defeats and setbacks. Just ask Charlie Sheen.

The actor who turned his vices and his dispute with the producers of “Two and a Half Men” into a treasure trove of unintentionally comedic interviews and catch phrases was recently reminded that even wealthy actors surrounded by goddesses sometimes have a bad day. The debut of his traveling one-man show apparently did not go very well. According to reports, midway through Saturday night’s performance at the Fox Theater in Detroit the sold-out audience turned on Sheen like Marlo Stanfield turned on Prop Joe. The man that turned “winning” into a national slogan for, well, winning, was booed mercilessly and some in the crowd even demanded a refund.

With 19 more dates left on the “The Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour, Ricky Vaughn better start thinking about providing his audience with some actual entertainment. Perhaps he can fly in Kristy Swanson, have her sit next to him and they can reenact each and every scene from “The Chase.” While I haven’t spoken to her agent, I’m quite sure she’s available.

However, a highly anticipated Sheen-Swanson reunion might not be enough. If he really wants to entertain his fans I suggest touring with the Bronx Zoo Cobra. Like Sheen, the escaped reptile was a nothing story that instantly became the darling of any and all media. So it’s only natural to assume the public would want to see these two ubiquitous personalities on the same stage. And if the audience were to tire of Charlie’s rants and the cobra’s incessant hissing, Sheen could always go for the ultimate showstopper: letting the snake bite him.

Sure, cobras are highly venomous, but I think it’s safe to say that this particular thespian has probably had worse things coursing through his veins. Plus, surviving a snakebite on stage would bring the crowd to its feet and prove once and for all that nothing can bring down a man who has tiger’s blood and Adonis DNA.

This stunt — particularly if performed over and over again — would garner an unprecedented amount of attention from the inept American news media and create a frenzy in the twttersphere. Clips of the performance would inevitably go viral and the Warlock’s legend would continue to grow. Eventually he and the snake could spin their popularity into a new sitcom (produced by Chuck Lorre, of course) or at the very least a buddy cop movie.

Problem solved. You’re welcome, Mr. Sheen.

And now that this spoiled jackass’s problems are a thing of the past, perhaps we can all turn our attention to more pressing matters, like our crumbling infrastructure, unemployment, climate change, energy dependence, skyrocketing health care costs, wars in the Middle East (and Libya!), and nuclear contamination in Japan. Not addressing these issues could be devastating for our future.

Or we can just wait for the next celebrity meltdown or interesting zoological adventure to pull our attention away from the things that truly matter.

What’s that? A pretty young blonde girl has disappeared again? Nevermind.