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SCENE: The Mencken dining room, Thanksgiving. In attendance are host Walter Mencken, English novelist Evelyn Waugh, writer and critic H.L. Mencken, Pogo Possum, Roman emperor Claudius, writer and humorist James Thurber, writer and agitator Hunter P. Thompson, author Robert Penn Warren, and founding father James Madison.

Walter Mencken: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Before I cut the Trumpkey — sorry, the turkey — and, yes, I was tempted to serve crow this year, but I figure everybody here has had to eat enough of that over the past couple of weeks — I thought it might be nice, on this most American of holidays, if everyone could find a way to give thanks for our new American president. Silver linings, it’s an ill wind, that sort of thing.

Evelyn Waugh: “‘Change and decay in all around I see,’ sang Uncle Theodore, gazing out of the morning-room window. Thus, with startling loudness, he was accustomed to relieve his infrequent fits of depression.”

W.M.: Very funny, Brexit-boy. That’s from Scoop, isn’t it? Good reference in the wake of the campaign’s media follies. And it’s funnier when you know it’s a line from a hymn. But let’s pretend we’re not just old men who can’t bear to see civilization march on without us. Maybe Trump won’t burn it all down. How about you, Dad?

“I am the greatest!”

Republican National Committee Chairman Buford Lunk grimaces in apparent pain as he raises the gold-lamé glove of a victorious Donald Trump while simultaneously pushing pleading challenger (and former champ) Mitt Romney out of the ring. Romney would later complain that Trump did not actually throw any punches during the bout, but merely strutted the ring and pounded his chest for the wildly enthusiastic crowd.

“It’s simply inconceivable that I could ever lose to man who is so full of himself that he looks ready to burst his seams,” protested the former boxer, governor, and presidential candidate. “Just look at that bloat! And so soft where it counts — on the issues!”

The judges’ decision, however, was unanimous. A jiggling, swaggering Trump, meanwhile, responded that he was impressed at how much fight he found in Romney, “especially considering how little of it the American people saw back in 2008.”


H.L. Mencken: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

W.M.: Wow, Dad. You’re quoting yourself again, and besides, that’s not very gracious. Shouldn’t we be trying to, in the words of the president-elect during his victory speech, “bind the wounds of division”? Isn’t it “time for us to come together as one united people”?

H.L. Mencken: “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

Pogo Possum: We have met the enemy, and he is us.


W.M.: Such a great line, even 45 years later. And of course, you’d know, after the police beat down 1200 Harvard students rallying for your presidential race in ’52. Not bad for a cartoon.

H.L. Mencken: Speaking of cartoons, I’d like to propose an amendment: we have met the enemy, and he is Trump.

Hunter P. Thompson: Wrong. We have met Trump, and he is us. God, if they had let me write Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’16…

W.M.: There wasn’t much need, was there? Could there possibly be anything left to reveal? But—

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus: “Let all of the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.”

W.M.: Right, from I, Claudius. So you’re thankful that the casing is off the political sausage, and for better or worse, we can see —

James Thurber: “Looking back on it now, from the vantage point of 1940, one can only marvel that it hadn’t happened long before it did. The United States of America had been, ever since Kitty Hawk, blindly constructing the elaborate petard by which, sooner or later, it must be hoist. It was inevitable that some day there would come roaring out of the skies a national hero of insufficient intelligence, background, and character to endure the mounting orgies of glory prepared for aviators who stayed up a long time or few a great distance.”

W.M.: The Greatest Man in the World. Great story, Mr. Thurber, and good call. We made celebrities our gods, and so it was only a matter of time before we made one president, regardless of character. Still, I’d like to focus on thanks —

Hunter P. Thompson: Not so fast, you simpering, cowardly guttersnipe. You don’t get off the hook that easy. You don’t get off the hook at all. Sure, everybody here agrees that Trump is a fascist hatemonger with no sense of respect or decency. That just means he’s just like the rest of us. Those protesters who tried to physically shut down Trump rallies, who threw rocks and punches and set fires, who vandalized Republican campaign offices? That may be only junior-grade fascism, but it sure as shit isn’t democracy. Just like it isn’t democracy to take the streets and protest after an election just because you don’t like the results. Is it any wonder there was a silent majority that didn’t want to talk to the pollsters? Those people who scrawled “Fuck Trump” on sign after sign like it was a goddamn Buddhist mantra and burned him in effigy even after he was elected president? That’s hate — which, as every two-bit demagogue knows, feels even better when it’s righteous. The guy who smashed Trump’s Hollywood star — what kind of American doesn’t know better than to disrespect television? And that horror-show artiste Ginger, who put the naked, life-size, in-living-color Trump statues in New York, New Jersey, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and God-bless-the-USA Cleveland? Love it, but let’s not pretend there’s any decency involved in portraying a naked presidential candidate in full view of the public with no balls and a tiny wang. In fact, you know what I’m grateful for? Trump’s penis.

A man in a white T-shirt and black ballcap (center) falls back after police thwart his attempt to scale a barrier separating protestors from rally attendees at the San Diego Convention Center. A Mexican flag waves in the background. Upon hearing of the fracas, Trump quipped: "I guess it’s a good thing I’m not running for president of Mexico. And maybe if we’d had a better wall in place, the conflict could have been avoided.”

{{Police Beat Back Angry Mob from Barrier Wall at Downtown Trump Rally}}

W.M.: Thank you for getting around to the topic of thanks. I’m not going to ask you to elaborate.

Hunter P. Thompson: But I’m going to anyway, so clutch those pearls and screw in that monocle nice and tight, gag-boy. Marco Rubio, a baby-soft plush doll of a United States senator but a United States senator nonetheless, started our national obsession with Little Trump when he cracked a joke about the size of Trump’s hands at a rally: “And you know what they say about men with small hands — you can’t trust them!” Ho ho! Incidentally, he got the hand gag from Graydon Carter, who called Trump a “short-fingered vulgarian” back when he had balls and ran Spy magazine. Of course, that was before he became editor of Vanity Fair and decided to spend his time sucking up to the rich and famous scumbags he used to mock. Carter attended Trump’s wedding to Marla Maples. Media people love to wax nostalgic about how great Spy was. But Spy is gone and people read Vanity Fair and now we have our first celebrity president, that son of a bitch Reagan notwithstanding. At least he was governor first.

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