The buzzkill came yesterday, when art critic Murray Whyte told us in The Guardian that laughing at the sculptures is morally incorrect:
Ageist and body-shaming Trump statue falls short as art and satireOh, please.
... the stunted member of Trump’s anatomy to which the sculpture means to draw our attention is its undoing.
Emasculation, one can fairly say, is the least notable of Trump’s many shortcomings. No balls? For what presidential candidate in recent memory could that be further from the truth? This is the man who pondered openly how shooting someone on Fifth Avenue might help him poll better. Whatever Trump’s anatomical shortfalls, this is clearly not one of them, and the piece weakens itself with a contradiction to pitch a sophomoric joke.
... The piece, with its slumpy, distended belly, withered buttocks and sagging pectorals, crosses callously into generalized ageism and body-shaming; unlike the attempted caricaturization of Trump’s particular bits, this is no joke, but rather an expression of unmitigated contempt, and whatever else it does, it dissolves satirical intent in an instant.
Here's why this is a crock: Trump is of the class of men -- rich businessmen -- who are presumed to be alpha males well into senescence. They flaunt their trophy wives and late-life offspring, they continue to issue dominance challenges to those they regard as lesser mortals, and the worst thing about it is that we accept their sense of their own male superiority at face value. Even Whyte, good progressive that he is, accepts it. ("No balls? For what presidential candidate in recent memory could that be further from the truth?")
The reality is that Trump, never a tough or courageous person even in his prime, is now a seventy-year-old man who sure looks as if he has a seventy-year-old's body.
There's no shame in that -- body changes come to us all if we live long enough. But Trump struts around denying the reality, and too many of us let him get away with it, just because he is (or seems to be) rich, and because he tells us he's a superior man.
And as Ruth Marcus notes, we let him get away with describing Hillary Clinton as a lesser being:
Donald Trump -- he who likes to fly home at night in the comfort of his own plane to sleep in the comfort of his own bed -- is at it again on the question of Hillary Clinton’s stamina, or alleged lack thereof.The Emperor Has No Balls is for everyone who knows that Trump's ubermensch posturing is a huge lie. If that doesn't include Murray Whyte, that's his loss.
“To defeat crime and radical Islamic terrorism in our country, to win trade in our country, you need tremendous physical and mental strength and stamina,” he said in Wisconsin. “Hillary Clinton doesn’t have that strength and stamina.”
And a day earlier, in case you missed it, “Importantly, she also lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS, and all the many adversaries we face.”
It’s obvious what’s going on here. The strength-stamina combo is a gender-age twofer, a double whack at Clinton for the price of one. Strength, what men have and women lack; stamina, with its intimations of go-all-night virility. Clinton, in this depiction, is both a weak girl and a dried-up old crone.
No matter that Trump is a year and four months older -- and, for that matter, endures a far less rigorous schedule.
(Photo of New York Trump sculpture via Gothamist.)