Have you heard this one: “Trump goes to Saudi Arabia…”? It’s like the modern day equivalent of “Guy goes to the doctor.” Well, almost. I do not watch much American TV, but what I’ve seen recently of the comedy shows–not only politically-oriented ones or news shows but just comedic in general–is that US president Donald Trump is finally the celebrity he’s always wanted to become, I guess. All these guys, from Stephen Colbert to Jimmy Fallon to Jimmy Kimmel and probably many other Jimmies, are talking about him day in and day out. He is making their day. Literally whatever he does, anything he does, he makes their day. They have their work cut out for them.
It’s as if Trump has inadvertently established a new genre of comedy by just being Trump. It’s the most passive act of creation I can think of and probably the most he’s ever done or will do for human culture as such. I can’t even remember what these guys did when there was no Trump to talk about. Well, there once was G.W. Bush, but then Obama came and I don’t remember things being this funny. This is not to say that they were better, only that they were not this ridiculous, at least not in a way susceptible to comedic engagement.
Things are difficult in America. It’s not the global tyrant it once was. American capital, now that’s a different story. But the state itself… maybe not that much any more, unless there’s corporate money at stake. Which, I guess, is almost always, so forget about it. In any case, and back to the topic at hand, would it be wholly unfair for Trump to demand royalties for the jokes made about him? I mean, these jokes all make money by attracting viewers and so also advertisers. Donald Trump’s mishaps are a valuable resource to the American and global public sphere. If I were host Stephen Colbert, I would have voted for Trump for professional convenience. Not to be all cynical about it, but that is a pretty valid reason, pragmatically speaking.
So, I guess in an age where the corporations are trying to privatize anything and everything they can, you should not be surprised to see this question of royalties be posed in a much more serious context than this, and by people wearing expensive suits. Next on the privatization check-list–one of them will announce–water and Trump jokes.