Sunday, September 15, 2019

Kleptocrat Playsets (Batteries not Included)

Dateline: NYC—Researchers have solved the mystery of how Donald Trump and Boris Johnson could have simultaneously come to exist.

“The clownish incompetence, the superhuman feats of narcissism, the shameless, pathological lying—Mr. Trump and Mr. Johnson share these traits as populist politicians,” said news analyst Ms. Newsy. “Both demagogued their way to leadership positions in their respective countries, trashing those countries in the process, and they do so at almost exactly the same time.”

That might just be a coincidence, but what astonished political experts and the media is the other telltale trait that the President and the Prime Minister have in common: the baffling mops of blond hair.

“How could Boris have come to power just after Trump?” asked Ms. Newsy. “One literal clown right after the other; both are obvious con artists, both are cartoonish villains that have the deepest contempt for their followers, and both have similar inexplicable hairdos. How do you explain the similar strangeness of even their hair? Something weird is going on.”

Erwin Touchyfeely, a Jungian psychologist, posited that the pair rose to power “by way of a synchronicity, a metaphysically-significant coincidence or clue to the deep structures of human life.”

According to Mr. Touchyfeely, “Boris Johnson was able to become prime minister of Britain at the same moment his counterpart was in office in the US, because larger forces wanted to send the Western world a signal: our vulnerability to hostile nonsense is no accident.”

But a team of intrepid researchers from Embarrass, Minnesota tracked down the more likely source of Misters Trump and Johnson.

“There’s actually a company in New York, called Travesties R Us, that manufactures demagogues and kleptocrats,” said the lead researcher, Winston Rakmucker. “They clone humans and program the clones to conform to our worst expectations. In other words, they create stock characters—for entertainment purposes, you understand.”

Archibald Stone, CEO of Travesties R Us, confirmed that Donald Trump and Boris Johnson came off his company’s assembly line.

“Someone must have ordered a couple of those Kleptocrat models,” said Mr. Stone, “and then dispersed them and wound them up, and poof: you have two populist revolutions, or ‘Travesties’ as we like to call them—and that’s trademarked.”

The company also carries the complementary social phenomena known as “the Idiotic Masses,” which complete the “Kleptocrat Playset.” 

“These masses are sold in packages of ten, a hundred, or a thousand units,” said Mr. Stone. “You turn on the low-minded herds and you’ll get all the automated behaviour you know and love from cults and totalitarian dystopias: the worship of the dear leader, the bigotry, the Dunning-Kruger effect—it’s all there, programmed to perfection for the discerning toy collector.”   

Mr. Rakmucker believes Travesties R Us caters to an elite market of cynics and nihilists who are amused by the prospect of civilized society’s downfall.

At least one cynical philosopher, Darko Logos, agrees. “Sure,” said the philosopher, “an enlightened person thinks of kleptocrats and their masses as giant, bumbling toys that eventually crash and confirm age-old principles of subversive wisdom. You throw in the right ingredients—the psycho-clown con man and the desperate, clueless marks—and you have a recipe for the most hideous witch’s brew you can imagine. But if you’re well-enough informed, you don’t have to drink it. You can stand back and watch as others swallow the broth, and you can laugh at their silly faces as they recoil in horror at the revolting mess they’ve made.”

However, Archibald Stone confirmed that Mr. Logos likewise came off the assembly line of Travesties R Us.

Said the CEO, “For the travesty to unfold to completion, you need the good people to stand back and do nothing. That’s what philosophers are for, are they not?”

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