If only my wordsmith friend Jeremy Clarke had been with me. What fun he’d have had with the ungallant thing I did last week. Jeremy’s writing thrives on such occasions, but alas he’s in the land of cheese and impressionism. I had just finished lunch with my friend Alex Sepkus, a designer of unique jewellery, and a Catholic priest whose name I will not reveal in view of what followed. After all, the Catholic Church loves sinners, but hooliganism is discouraged.
I was walking up Fifth Avenue, which was packed to the gills with shoppers, hawkers and tourists. When I got to 56th Street, it was blocked off by armed police and steel barriers. There was a bottleneck to end all bottlenecks as protesters screamed and shouted abuse at the black-glass rock that is Trump Tower. One woman, who was carrying a sign and looking like a 21st-century Madame Defarge, was by far the loudest. Never have I seen such hate, her eyes slits of loathing for the orange man high above, lording it over the mob.
I don’t know what came over me but just as I brushed passed her, I politely asked her if she also gave blowjobs. Without missing a beat, she swung the sign trying to nail it on my head, but missed. A cop saw her and tried to arrest her. But when he saw me laughing, he thought better of it and simply told her to behave. I got lost in the crowd, but for about a minute she forgot all about the Donald up high and screamed bloody murder against the poor little Greek boy. Some of the tourists ogling the black tower stopped and demanded to know who the well-dressed man was who had caused the protester to go so bananas. ‘She mistook me for Trump,’ is all I said.
The ones I feel sorry for are the retail merchants whose stores are now blocked by the programmed robots. They are doing zero business — and we are in the peak period of holiday shopping. The irony is that the spiritually crippled protesters are paid to do what they’re doing, while the merchants are offloading nada. The paid protesters are damn good actors. With a burning intensity they exude soulful suffering and haunted brooding, emotions one no longer finds on stage or screen. None of the imbeciles standing around and watching the protests have much to say about the merchants’ plight. After all, people who work are the types that voted the wrong way, so to hell with them. The woman I addressed that rather indelicate question to was white, middle-aged and very ugly. But well-dressed, most likely the possessor of a small fortune left to her by either a husband who committed suicide, or a father who also took his own life.
Mind you, had the sign made contact I might not be writing this column. My grey hair saved me as far as the cop was concerned. I was the only man wearing a suit among thousands of people dressed like coalminers but without the dignity of those hardy men who go underground. What is it that makes moral superiority such a phoney but effective cause for protest? The mob of self-aggrandizing, mostly young, well-off people protests most loudly while the cameras are whirling — and they sure have been whirling non-stop. Madame Defarge aside, the protesters remind me of Tony Last, held prisoner by a madman reciting Dickens in perpetuity. They will be yelling the same slogans eight years from now, or for as long as they can afford to.
It’s being said that they’re being funded by an offshoot of the George Soros empire. Soros’s people deny this but Soros is a snake. He operates in the name of virtue but materialism is his creed. Needless to say, the media are pushing the envelope like never before. The Old Hag, whose majority stockholder is a Mexican jumping bean by the name of Carlos Slim with a fortune close to 50 billion smackers, has abandoned all pretences of reporting and objectivity and now prints only stories that demonise Trump. (‘It’s the apocalypse...’) Even the trained seals have joined in the fun. I happened to be in a theatre about 15 years ago sitting near Netanyahu during a period when he was out of power. If, during the curtain call, a member of the cast had exhorted him to stop building illegal settlements and stop occupying the West Bank, the outrage would have been universal, and rightly so. Although Israel has been occupying the West Bank since 1967, Trump has not occupied the White House, at least not yet, and while the Israelis occupied the West Bank through force of arms, Trump will occupy the White House after a legal vote. Yet a trained seal reads out his concerns and is cheered for it. The arrogance and hostility of the Hamilton cast illustrates why Trump will be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a few weeks.
They never learn, do they? And they continue to labour under the pathetic misconception that rappers and reality stars and actors and professional grievance-mongers represent the real America. In the meantime, if any of you visit the Big Bagel, and suffer even slightly from agoraphobia, stay away from Fifth and 56th.