I am pretty sure this sentiment was universal, but with those few TV shows I watched as a Child I always hated when a TV show did a clip show – an episode that was nothing but bits pilfered from other episodes and strung together to form something new. I have no idea why, but this book reminded me far too much of that.
Insane Clown President is Matt Taibbi’s recap clip show of the 2016 united States election, ultimately leading to the election of Donald Trump. It comprises of various articles Taibbi wrote as a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine during that period. It thus has that clip show feeling to it.
Ok, perhaps it is not so bad, but that was the sentiment I felt reading it. To make it all worse, it felt like all the clips that most made you cringe from a TV show. It would be very funny if I knew that I should be taking it all as seriously as possible; after all, this is my democracy the mad republican party is messing with. That some of the bits that took me back to when the republican party was acting like a garbage fire did give me a tiny nostalgic thrill, but it was largely short lived. Reading it, you also get the impression that Taibbi’s own humor for what was going on was also short lived. After all, you can laugh at a GOP debate drinking game, but the laughter dries up when you realize that one of those mad people needs to win the damn thing.
I like Mr. Taibbi. I have enjoyed many of his books, and I hope that (considering this country’s need for proper journalism) he continues to do work. But I feel like there is a call in his profession to wear the title of Cassandra in Chief, every one of them trying to be the person that first and most accurately prophesied the fall of Troy. Taibbi attempts to show his soothsaying prowess by inserting an excerpt from his previous book that seems to predict the coming of the Great Orange Goon and his army of alt-right flying monkeys. I am not really sure to what extent this is actually the case thought,and there doesn’t seem to be much in his other writings to suggest what specifically would happen. Instead, it merely told us that something bad was bound to happen. I feel that if this prediction was worth anything, then maybe it should have been taken more seriously than a drinking game.
I could have told you that. Prophecy stops being impressive when it isn’t very specific. And that initial section cheapened the whole book a little bit.