Last week, on a friend’s Facebook thread about the uproar over Trump’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show, I joined the conversation, basically supporting the condemnation of Fallon as simply a shill for Trump. Ultimately, though, that’s just kinda what Fallon does — by his own admission, his show is the quintessence of softball. Like Jay Leno before him, he’s never going to hold anyone’s feet to the fire or ask the tough questions. But, then, was that ever in his job description?
Sure, we’ve grown accustomed to certain comedic figures from television — Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, Bill Maher, Chelsea Handler, etc. — who are versed and eloquent at speaking truth to power, but should we have such high expectations from merely the host of an ostensibly “funny" late night talk show? Is it their job to voice the concerns of the populace?
I’d say “not necessarily,” but still don't let Fallon totally off the hook. I think my biggest problem in that instance is that — in the wake of all that’s transpired and all that’s been said and how things have escalated to this implausibly surreal place we are all at now — it just seems far too late for a goofy puff piece about Trump’s hair. Is he still a roundly silly person easily made fun of? Of course he is, but that stuff doesn’t really matter anymore after the tribulations of the last few months. It’s a grand comparison, but it’s a bit like making fun of Hitler’s mustache after Krystalnacht. His superficial personal attributes don’t matter anymore.
Then I put my foot in it by asserting that Fallon played the same role for … wait for it … Axl Rose. Some of you might remember an MTV Music Awards several years back when Axl Rose first revived his celebrated ensemble — albeit in name only (he was the only original member present) — for their first television appearance since “re-forming.” Even die-hard GN’R fans — a demographic I’ve never been an ardent member of — knew that this wasn’t really the momentous occasion Axl was intent of having them believe it was. Regardless, Jimmy Fallon came on to introduce them, breathlessly extolling the merits of the band, and entirely glossing over the fact that most of the integral players were absent. If you genuinely care, you can watch what I’m talking about right here.
So, yeah, I said that. It was a tenuously relevant footnote ... at best.
Someone then chimed in, incredulously asking if I’d seriously just compared Donald Trump to Axl Rose. I blithely replied that, yes — I think they’re comparable in that they’re both fatuous blowhards with disproportionately fragile egos.
This rejoinder came quickly:
"NO THEY ARE NOT COMPARABLE. Axl Rose can't select a supreme court justice and destroy reproductive rights and deport immigrants AND THIS IS WHY OUR COUNTRY IS GOING TO DIE BECAUSE MORONS LOVE FALSE EQUIVALENCY.”
I tried, unsuccessfully, to backpedal and explain my flimsy position, but the palpable hit was already made and the point taken. While I’d suggest it was a bit of a snap judgment concerning an ultimately jokey allusion, this person’s retort was entirely on-target, speaking to the point I was trying to make in the paragraphs above.
It’s too late to be concerning ourselves with the perceived silliness and inexorable pop-culture-infected elements of Donald Trump’s presence. At this stage of the proceedings, he remains a viable contender for the presidency. If that notion rightly sends a chill down your spine — and, if it doesn’t, you need to stop and think hard about the tenets you’re genuinely espousing by supporting him — it’s more imperative than ever that you get out and use your vote to make sure he never sees the inside of the Oval Office.