The Cancer in the Camera Lens
Reliably looks like a photographic negative of himself
David Roth, writing for The New Republic, is just at the top of his game. The descriptions here are delightful.
In close up, on television, at a glance, with the volume down, Donald Trump can from time to time look like a president. That effect becomes less convincing the more you pay attention, though. Even under professional lighting, Trump reliably looks like a photographic negative of himself; on his worse and wetter days, he has the tone and texture of those lacquered roast ducks that hang from hooks in Chinatown restaurant windows. The passing presidentiality of the man dissipates utterly in longer shots, where Trump can be seen standing tipped oddly forward like a jowly ski jumper in midair, or mincing forward to bum-rush an expert’s inconvenient answer with an incoherent one of his own, or just making faces intended to signal that he is listening very strongly to what someone else is saying. (These slapdash performances of executive seriousness tend to have the effect, as the comedian Stewart Lee once said of James Corden, of making Trump look like “a dog listening to classical music.”) Seen from this long-shot vantage, the man at the podium is unmistakably Donald Trump — uncanny, unknowing, upset about various things that he can’t quite understand or express.
Roth is a master at describing Trump and this time we are all in with clarity and perfect prose.
This line about the “tipped oddly forward” reminded me of a Tweet I saw.
Trump standing always makes me think of Bugs Bunny nemesis Giovanni Jones. pic.twitter.com/x36rJDxS3W— ben schwartz (@benschwartz_) April 28, 2020