The problem with celebrating those Trump statues

trump statue lytle
Photo: David Lytle via Flickr

INDECLINE, an anarchist collective, erected fat, naked statues of Donald Trump with shriveled genitalia in five American cities yesterday. What a hoot!

If you had a good laugh with this, I’m here to ruin your fun.

Think along with me here for a second. Why is it reprehensible for Trump to make fun of a disabled reporter, but just fine for us to ridicule Trump’s naked body?

Why is it acceptable to fat-shame Donald Trump, but unacceptable to describe Hillary Clinton as a “bitch” or President Obama as a “nigger”?

If an artist had created similar naked statues of Hillary Clinton, exaggerating her age and sometimes grim look, would we be celebrating that? How about statues of a shambling Obama with a big pickaninny grin? Would those be lots of fun, too?

The media coverage I’ve seen so far describes the statues and people’s reaction without a hint of regret or outrage.

trump statueHere it is in a nutshell, people. Principles are more important than people. If you disagree with the name-calling behavior of Donald Trump — the constant references to and caricatures of people by race and ethnicity, the pandering to white pride, the belittling nicknames — then you can’t normalize that behavior and apply it to him.

The ends don’t justify the means. And if the means is fat-shaming, I’ve got a problem with that.

It’s pretty easy to point out how ugly Trump’s mind is. That’s a lot more effective than displaying how ugly his body is, and it leaves you feeling a lot more virtuous, too.

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  1. I’m of two minds of them…I can see the emperor has no clothes artistic angle, but I agree that there is a double standard here. It is HARD to maintain the principled high road when there is such a karmic delight to this, but I shall try.

  2. I agree with you on this, Josh. There is one difference, though. Trump at some level opened the door on this sort of commentary on himself through his comments about others. If he was taking the high road, and someone was to do this… it would seem less appropriate, and not make much of a statement, either.

    If a conservative group erected similar caricatures of Hillary Clinton, though, there would no doubt be outrage from many of the same people chuckling now.

  3. So where’s the without bullshit part? Everything I read was pure bullshit, and simply the ranting of someone with an agenda, looking for attention.

  4. Josh, I reluctantly admit that you’re right. If we’re willing to let our public discourse sink to the level of 8 year-old boys, what does that say about us? And what about the power exerted over us by the one who goaded us into it?

    I also reluctantly admit I found it funny. Comeuppance at its best. There’s definitely a double standard in the way I perceive Trump compared to other public figures.

  5. Josh- Great point indeed. Agree with Ted though- he asked for it. Just as much as Obama and Hillary have asked for it in their years of success (and failures) in politics.

    I’m almost hoping that a conservative group does the same with Hillary. Perhaps a nude statue of her with a laptop/email server covering her chest, and a cell phone covering her lower half. With a witty sign that says “don’t touch my private parts” or something…
    And just call it art..

    1. What bull, Tyson. When has Obama gone strutting around proclaiming his super-prowess as a lover with a huge Negro schlong? When has Hillary gone around declaiming on her success as a cougar getting hhot young (male) starlets into bed? If you want equivalency, there has to be something equivalent, and there is not a single point of equivalent behavior between Trump and the others.

      Furthermore, someone who thrusts himself into the public eye through politics — as Clinton, Obama, and Trump have done — deserves to be hoist on their own petard for things they actually do and say. Hillary’s email has nothing to do with claims about her physique or sexual activities; Trump’s claims about the supposed size of his genitals did, and do, and have for 30 years. If you want someone to caricature Hillary, fine, but it should be for what she has done and said.

      1. Look closely at pictures of statue. It’s a mockup of a overly fat Trump with small genitals. The plaque said “The emperor has no balls”. That’s just plain art. A look at a cultural phenomenon. A larger-than-life, made for tv, egotistical, misogynistic, sexist, racist, pig to be quite accurate. It’s a sad (but incredibly depressing state of our union) that he is actually the republican candidate. It’s an amazing story from an historical and political perspective. How people can vote for him blows my mind…..

        But, he’s in the public eye and is open for any and all criticism, fair or unfair, artistic, sarcastic, humorous or not. They are poking fun of his character.

        Isn’t it ok to do the same of the “character” of other politicians? They do it on SNL all the time. It’s hilarious.

        I humbly suggest that it’s ok to do a caricature of Hillary. Heck even Bill Clinton. He lied to Congress and, yes, was actually impeached for doing that. Why can’t there be a statue of Bill Clinton with a pinnochio nose?

  6. Stuff like this is why conservatives believe the media is biased against them. The hypocrisy is truly stunning.

  7. This is bullshit, frankly. Donald Trump has spent decades proclaiming how wonderful he is, what a great lover he is, how actresses and models and “hot women” have clamored to be his girlfriend, how beautiful women fall over him and fawn over him, and how he has bought three of them to be his serial wives. During this campaign, when a rival made a crude, crass remark about his “small hands,” Donald couldn’t even keep his adolescent mind above the crudeness, and proclaimed that his hands were not small, and neither was any of his other equipment, “believe me.”

    He has crowed about his physique and his sexual prowess with the same arrogant lack of class and taste as he has crowed about his “superior” intellect and strength and knowledge and insight and understanding of the world, and of polls, and of politics, and of world affairs.

    So why would it be “more virtuous” to point out “how ugly Trump’s mind is” but it’s illegitimate to point out that his claims of perfect, extraordinary health (“the most incredibly healthy candidate in history” as his bogus physician supposedly wrote in what’s now agreed to be a forged letter), and of his sexual prowess, and of his overall fabulousness, are all equally ugly and false tales that HE HIMSELF HAS PROPOUNDED?

    Has Hillary gone around claiming she has the fabulous body of a 26-year-old and that her physique is incredible, perfect, unbelievably strong? NO. Has Hillary gone around making hyperbolic claims about herself or her intellect or her cougar’s success at seducing boy-toys? NO.

    Trump has. And when a dishonest, blustering, bullying narcissist spends 30 years making such claims, there is nothing ugly about pointing out the reality behind them.

    Josh’s holier-than-thou whining is hardly “without bullshit”: it is bullshit.

    1. You don’t have to talk to me in the third person, I’m right here.

      My point is simply that the rest of don’t have to get down in the much with Trump, whether doing so would be justified or not.

      I’d like to criticize him without turning into him.

      1. Sorry, Josh. I should have written “Your … whining … is bullshit.”

        So what’s wrong with a statue that satirizes Trump, and that will be gone in a few hours (as they all were)? What’s the difference between that and a cartoon in the New Yorker that shows him with a bloated belly, idiot hair, a stupid-looking pout on his face, with a caption spouting nonsense about his being a Lothario? Or a cartoon that showed Gingrich as a baby in a diaper because he had to use the rear steps into Air Force One under Bill Clinton?

        These statues are satire! They’re cartoons of a person who is himself a cartoon. Since when is that getting down into the muck? And how is it “turning into him” to satirize the very things he claims to be proud of?

  8. Josh, you’re right that it is reprehensible to fat-shame Trump. But you’re wrong about the “what if” part of fat-shaming Hillary. Her body has been maligned for years. Grotesquely inappropriate statues of her have been sold in airports, in stores, in forms that I won’t describe here. And Obama has been the target of racist slurs, comparing him and Michelle to a gorilla and worse. Trump alluded to his own penis on a nationally televised debate and he has debased the rhetoric of this campaign himself. This statue is an ugly expression of seeds he has sown himself.

  9. Josh, I agree with you, but found your post uncharacteristically wordy, and still missing the most salient point, imnsho, that the fat-shaming is just as dangerous as Trump’s illogic and racism. It reduces the ‘other’ to non-personhood as a precursor to persecution and attack. Being a jerk doesn’t make someone a justifiable target. It’s that damn slippery slope thing again.

  10. For all you guys taking the position of something like “Trump has been doing it for years so he deserves it.” Why would you accept his standard of behavior for yourself?

    Making fun and jeering at the physique of a 70-year-old man shows no class. It is no more acceptable than what seems to be accepted (even profitable) to say about Hillary or other mature women political figures.

    Also, I don’t think Trump is in that bad of shape. I think he was pretty good looking when he was younger and although he hasn’t retained very much of it he is certainly taking reasonably good care of himself. Better than that at least.