If I had to sum up the past four years in two words, that would be it. Or maybe it’s completely unfair to categorize four years of viral grifts, racism, xenophobia, pussy-grabbing, Sharpie-huffing, COVID-infecting, manic-tweeting, Big Mac-engorging, Fox News-binging in relation to something that provides pleasure. However, madness seems on point.
Yes, of course, I’m talking about the big sale at Fantasy Island Adult Bookstore, the sex shop located next to the now storied Four Seasons Total Landscaping, the lavish location where the Trump legal team made one of its last stands. Ever the purveyor of the trash aesthetic, as well as hurried mortality, it makes sense that the Trump administration would expire somewhere between peep booths and a crematorium. This is not, of course, anything against Fantasy Island. We love sex shops here at Filthy Dreams! And for all intents and purposes (Yelp reviews not withstanding, though Brian P. from Philadelphia’s complaint “Had to stop in here for a blow up doll for a bachelor party I was throwing, it’s a creepy place, couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there” is more of an endorsement in my mind), Fantasy Island appears to be the destination of our dreams. I mean, just look at their motto: “Dildos are great, vibrators are fun, but nothing can beat the mighty tongue!”
For those of you who are confused as to what bizarre incident I’m describing, Four Seasons Total Landscaping, next to Fantasy Island, was the blessed location for a press conference on Saturday November, 7 (the day the election was called for Joe Biden) by the best legal minds of our generation: scammer Pam Bondi, wasted and lipless Corey Lewandowski, and Rudy Giuliani, just the Bloody Mary-swilling, bug-eyed, fly-down lawyer who wanted to eat a bat with Borat’s daughter I’d pick for my representation. Before their appearance, Trump tweeted that the presser would be at Four Seasons. You know, that swanky hotel. Not so much! Instead, Rudy’s dentures clacked together under a biohazard sign (inadvertently perfect given the super-spreader election party in the White House) in front of an industrial garage, which I assume contained mowers and trimmers.
Watching this, I had a moment in which I wondered if I was working for the Trump campaign in some sort of fugue state. This isn’t the first time, of course. I mean, rally playlists that feature not only the Village People, but Laura Branigan’s “Gloria”?! At least SOMEONE was reading Filthy Dreams and internalizing it.
Why did I suspect psychotic break employment with the Trump campaign? Because Four Seasons Total Landscaping was a perfect finale to the Trump presidency, an administration dependent on never admitting a mistake. Ever. Covfefe is a word! Drinking bleach was sarcasm! He was shuffling down that ramp because it was like an ice skating rink!
Now, some meme makers have pointed to a hysterical juxtaposition between the Trump campaign’s initial ride down the Trump Tower escalator and its Four Seasons Total Landscaping last call with a sad collage of Trump 2020 signs providing the backdrop. But I’d argue these events weren’t as far apart as they seem. If you look past the gilded finishes and all that pink marble, you’d notice Trump Tower is a dump filled with discarded trash–used Starbucks cups, crumpled up paper bags, and crumbs and stains EVERYWHERE. Want proof? Here:
See? Aw…this makes me feel a little bit nostalgic. Maybe I should take a jaunt up to Trump Tower and see if they have any blowout sales. It’s an end of an era. *tear* Oh wait…what? Trump’s not conceding? He may refuse to leave the White House? He’s attempting a coup in agonizingly slow motion?
It’s hard to say whether this harebrained authoritarian attempt will work. Absurdist legal battles have always been Trump’s strong suit. Just ask Michael Cohen. But they also haven’t always worked. Just ask Michael Cohen. By the way, why didn’t WE get a call when they were bribing people to make up stories of voter fraud and boxes of ballots dropped on highway medians?! For a couple hundred thousand, I would have appeared at the podium at Four Seasons Total Landscaping to raise my hands to the sky in my best impression of phobe zealot Kim Davis and shout like Rudy: “ALL THE NETWORKS! ALL THE NETWORKS!” And no, I’m not proud.
But if we want to take the tenets of American democracy as stable and enduring (a risk, at best), Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next presidential administration. Whew! What a relief, right? Sadly, I wasn’t out partying in the streets like the rest of New York City last Saturday after I was notified of the win by cheers and “FUCK YOU DONALD TRUMP”’s being hurled from Alphabet City fire escapes. I still have long haul COVID bullshit I deal with (I don’t remember not having crushing fatigue) and getting reinfected isn’t on my schedule for 2020. Hope New York has enough ventilators after all the maskless champagne guzzling! But, this doesn’t mean I didn’t feel an immediate rush of relief, like someone opened a window after being stuck in a stuffy room with a narcissistic blowhard. And this isn’t to say I didn’t celebrate in my own way, laughing at a new diagnosis, soon to be in the DSM: BIDEN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME! For instance:
In all honesty, I didn’t think it would end this way. Since watching the weaponization of camp at the RNC, I was convinced that Trump would win. Unlike the people who booked the Four Seasons Total Landscaping, though, I’ll admit I was wrong. It was, however, closer than it should have been what with around 250,000 people dead of COVID-19. We do need to rectify that 70 million people in our country are still enamored with a piece of shit or are okay with a piece of shit if it means they don’t have to pay more taxes. We also can’t forget that we’re heading toward a dangerous time ahead. Cult members without their leader are a dangerous bunch. Just ask Squeaky Fromme.
But let’s assume that Biden will, in fact enter the White House in January. And might I add that he should get everything deep cleaned before that happens. Beyond the rampant COVID particles flying through the air, I don’t know that you’ll be able to get rid of the burger smell all that easily. Watch out for the French fry grease on the pillows, Joe! Just a tip!
Anyway, if we assume Biden will take power in January, we should probably take some time to reflect. In 2016, exactly a year from today, I wrote a fairly (for me) sincere think piece “Staring Into The Abyss” about the election of Donald Trump. Beyond being furious at all those “art will get better under Trump essays (where are the Biden equivalents hmmmmm…?!), I was clearly concerned about what this would mean for the future of our country. It’s no surprise. 2016 was a DARK year as we said goodbye to Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen and said hello to Donnie. But 2020 surely answered Leonard Cohen’s final call “You want it darker.” Looking back to that essay, I wasn’t too far off about how the Trump presidency would go:
“Let’s be honest, when you step back from it, the idea that Donald Trump–reality TV star–is our president-elect is hilarious. Terrifying and threatening, but hilarious. At least the dissolution of America will be kind of amusing. Just try to imagine Melania giving tours of the gilded White House Christmas decorations and try not to laugh. In some respects, our capitalist, media-soaked society got the downfall it deserved. And what a spectacular fall it’ll be.”
Pretty accurate, though I clearly could not have known how successful Trump and the Republicans would be at mastering our beloved camp.
A couple days after the publication of that essay, I was asked to join an impromptu panel at NYU about Trump’s election, which included queer theorist Jack Halberstam. To my not-so-surprise, Jack confidently proclaimed (as all academics seem to do without contestation) that Trump and Hillary weren’t all that different. This statement would haunt me for four years and provide one of the answers for exactly how Trump managed to rise to power: the fallacy of the Left’s “radicality,” which poses itself as the most reactionary and contrarian at the expense of everyone else. Oh, you’re so edgy and queer! Edgelord leftists that will swing so far left that they end up aligning themselves with or at the very least benefitting the Right. We’ve seen it time and time again in the past four years and yet again during this election cycle.
Look, I’m not under any illusion that the Biden/Harris administration will be anything less than a disappointment. They won’t solve our Jenga tower of problems facing our fading nation. We all know this. So stop smug-tweeting and ruining people’s good time. Haven’t we had it bad enough this year without some “well actually” sneers? We get it. At the very least, the Biden/Harris administration will be a little less lethal for anyone who doesn’t wear their best MAGA hat to Cracker Barrel.
To all you wokes kvetching about Kamala specifically, you may want to stop whining for a second and think about what it looks like to watch all these white radicals dismiss the achievement of the first Black and first South Asian woman Vice President. White privilege! We can all play at this game.
I’ll say it proudly, I love Kamala and I don’t care that she’s a cop or whatever the slogan is that is floating around copious Instagram stories. Hey–if she’s good enough for Azealia Banks, she’s good enough for me. Part of my Kamala adoration may have to do with the fact that she reminds me of Pam Grier’s Jackie Brown. It could be the impeccably tailored suits or her kickass ability to make goblins like Brett Kavanaugh and Bill Barr shart in their tighty whities. But either way, when I see Kamala, I immediately hear The Brothers Johnson’s “Strawberry Letter 23.” I think it should have been her walk-on song during the campaign.
But even if the Biden administration is an abject letdown, doesn’t that sound like a bit of a reprieve from the complete dumpster fire of the past four years (as fun as it could be sometimes to gasp in horror at social media)? I don’t know about you, but I yearn for the days of being judgmental at centrist bipartisanship. Half-measures, corporate interests, and neoliberal politics returning to bare minimum business as usual are still better than a roving carnival of chaos, possible treason, and rampant scams careening through the country like a garbage truck with its brakes cut. Leave the chaos to us, here at Filthy Dreams! In fact, if Biden wants to be the perfect president, he’ll just get into the Oval Office and disappear for four years. Don’t let us hear from you ever again. No speeches, no pressers, and absolutely no tweets. The American public deserves this. We need a break. A breather. A rest.
Some have wondered what happens to satire if Trump finally departs. Please. Jill tossing dead snakes at people is enough for me. I hope she does it to some OAN reporters in the Rose Garden. And if not, maybe it’s good to be bored by your leaders for a bit. I don’t know about you, but I voted for Biden and Harris just so we could reclaim what was rightfully ours: “Y.M.C.A.” Yes, it was sometimes hard to reconcile how Trump used everything we here at Filthy Dreams hold dear. Disco. Camp. Trash. Sex shops. That’s our thing! More than for the good of the country, I’m just glad we’ll get our shtick back.
I know what you’re thinking: with all the writing we’ve done here on Filthy Dreams about the man, will we miss Trump? Well, where do you think he’s going?! In fact, he doesn’t seem to be willing to leave the White House at all! I like to imagine what he’s been doing since Saturday: wandering around in a ketchup-stained bathrobe, screaming at staffers while stuffing his mouth with chicken nuggets as Fox News blares in the background.
Even if Trump gets evicted, we should brace ourselves for a whole new set of Trump grifts. Sure, there’s always a chance he’ll leave the country to avoid prosecution, but we should be so lucky. Even then, there’s always Twitter or even worse, the dollar store generic brand, Parler. Personally, I’m holding out for Trump TV. Hell. I might even apply! Imagine the ads: a combination of Trump wines, Trump steaks, Goya refried beans, and My Pillow.
Like it or not, Trump has changed politics forever and still quite clearly drives the Republican Party. What will happen to them after this defeat? Do they give us back our cherished camp? The answer, sorry to say dearest denizens of camp, is a definitive no. Just check out my newest conservative camp obsession, Christian Walker, the swishy son of Trumper football player Herschel Walker who was clearly made for TikTok and Twitter. Watch as she bounces around gaudy Trump hotels, breathlessly screams, backflips, and cackles into the faces of liberal snowflakes while denying Joe Biden will ever be president:
I’m not triggered, though, unless you count his collection of hideous designer corporate Pride T-shirts. And it’s not just videos. His tweets such as “Legal votes only booboo” and consistent mockery of Joe Biden’s stutter (so sweet!), such as “Joe Biden can’t even form sentences and you want this man addressing foreign nations… LAUGHABLE. He can’t even speak” presents a shit-eating brattiness that Milo only reached at his height. Move over, Milo! Bye bye, Chadwick! There’s a new Twink for Trump in town!
Plus, there’s always 2024! And if the rumors are true, our favorite president may run again! Now, do I actually think Trump will step back in the ring? I’m not convinced. I tend to take Trump at face value when he tells his rabid rally fanatics that they may never see him again if he loses. But, that doesn’t mean another Trump family member can’t fill in! I’m rooting for Number 1 Boy Trump Jr., all coked to the gills motor-mouthing his way through speeches to impress Big Daddy. Plus, just think of Kimberly Guilfoyle’s unhinged stump speeches!
Or Representative Matt Gaetz seems to be flirting (HORK!) with Tiffany Trump on Twitter.
Maybe by 2024, he’ll be one of the family! With his made-for-TV Maybelline foundation pallor and Liberace-esque mysterious maybe-adopted son Nestor, he’d be a perfect heir to Trump’s bronzer stained throne.
If we want a total 2020 do-over in 2024, besides Kamala running, you could also look forward to presidential candidate Kanye West’s reappearance. In retrospect, I wish we endorsed him on Filthy Dreams. Though I found it deeply irritating at the time, holding a deranged campaign event in which you insult the legacy of Harriet Tubman and aggravate audience members that then leads to a family intervention is just the kind of leader we need here at Filthy Dreams. And hey, Mickey Mouse seemed to want him on the ballot in several states!
No matter what, we’re not getting rid of these people any time soon. And no matter what, America is still doomed. COVID is spreading at an astronomical rate. Nobody wants to wear masks. The Democratic progressives and moderates are already infighting. The Republicans are gearing up to play the victims of “toxic” liberal behavior like cancel culture for the next four years. Maybe they’ll even restart the Tea Party. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t feel just a tiny bit better about slowing down the America’s acceleration to complete destruction.
As I said in 2016 and I’ll repeat now, Beckett writes in The Unnamable, “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”