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Posts Tagged ‘Luis M. Luque’

The Redefinition of Donald Trump

By Luis M. Luque

Luque PhotoLuis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.

Americans and people everywhere have always lied. To lie is to make a claim you know to be false, to intentionally deceive. We’ve done that since the dawn of time. unknown-1Imagine the tales concocted to persuade the pharaohs to try to secure their immortality by burying themselves inside giant pyramids. Consider the rich detail of Greek mythology. Try to develop a magician’s act without lies. Tell me a fairytale that’s 100 percent true. As long as people have thought lying could gain them money, advantage, sex, attention, whatever, they lied. They distorted, deceived, exaggerated, concealed, omitted, ignored, stretched, deflected, prevaricated, misdirected, redirected, deemphasized, reemphasized, reimagined, and invented. Whatever you call it, it’s a lie, and we’ve all told whoppers.

But to people who believe we have just recently emerged into a post-fact world and disgustedly point to the cascade of lies vomited from the mouth of one Donald J. Trump as proof, I would only say it’s not that Trump lies more or that he lies worse or more blatantly, it’s that his lies are so easily proven to be lies that disgusts us most. He’s a terrible liar. He lies like a 4-year-old. unknownTrump lies because he doesn’t know or care about truth. Truth is irrelevant to his existence. He has redefined the entire notion. If Trump says something, it’s true, period. It must be true. And if someone disagrees with Trump, well, obviously that someone is lying. It’s that colossal arrogance that is new to the American political scene, the arrogance to completely disregard truth and facts and objectivity on any level, in fact to redefine those words, the willingness to present with a straight face the world according to Trump, and to ferociously attack those who disagree with his presentation.

Checking the veracity of any significant claim in a Trump speech is pointless. You know he’s lying immediately. During a rally in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, October 10, Trump was going on one of his typical rants about how Americans and the United States don’t win anymore because the rest of the world has surpassed us. “It’s like you have to be a grand chess master,” he said. “And we don’t have any of them.” This was news, of course, to the 90 grandmasters (the correct term) living or playing for the United States, third most in the world behind longtime chess powerhouse Russia (234) and barely behind Germany (91). Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov commented on the timeliness of Trump’s comment in a comical tweet: “Proud to see Trump knows as little about chess as anything else. Team USA just won gold at the Chess Olympiad!” This was quite an achievement, by the way, considering Team USA placed above Russia, China, Ukraine and other perennial chess powers to win gold at the event for the first time in 80 years.

So, he has no idea and doesn’t care about chess or grandmasters. Big deal. That’s not important. That wasn’t a lie. He was exaggerating for effect. Who gives a damn about chess!

First of all, no need to shout. I can hear you from here. I was merely providing you an example of how easily Trump’s claims are proven false. Let’s take another recent example. A couple of days after his second debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump tweeted: “Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!”

“Every poll.” Four national scientific polls declared Clinton the winner of the second debate by an average of 13 percentage points, 47.5 to 34.5. In fact, no scientific poll declared Trump the winner. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Not one single scientific poll. Now, if losing by an average of 13 percent in four polls represents a landslide victory to Trump, then he has redefined “winning,” too. He will likely “win” the election under his definition. I’m sure he’ll continue to claim he “won” even as Clinton is taking the oath of office. (more…)

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Luque PhotoLuis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.

How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Donald

by Luis M. Luque

dtimagesDonald Trump is a man, a human being. So we’re told anyway. Whatever he is, Trump is also a myth, a legend, a reality TV star, a corporation, a misogynist, a prognosticator, a Twitter feed, a brand, a bully, a braggart, a boor, a ratings bonanza, a bombastic billionaire buffoon blinded by ego, a bloviating blowhard for the entertainment of the blogosphere, a bumbling big-mouthed businessman blundering back and forth between banks and bankruptcy, and perhaps most surprising of all, a serious presidential candidate—at least in the minds of people fooled by what they think sounds like blunt talk about important issues.idtmages-1

A friend of mine believes Trump is a Democrat masquerading as a conservative Republican, that, in other words, he’s a troll, a living showcase for some of the GOP’s worst excesses—jingoism, racism, arrogance, lack of concern for the most vulnerable—and as such, my friend believes, Trump is herding voters toward the more sensible, or least harmful, political party. How I wish it were so.

I see Trump as an old-style tent revivalist minus religion, a carnival barker who barks only in superlatives, “I’ll build the biggest and wall ….” “I’ll get the best deal from the Chinese ….” “Hillary Clinton is the worst secretary of state ….” Trump uses an old playbook in new ways, all for his personal glorification. It’s a wildly successful playbook, but those taken in by its two basic schemes tend to regret briefly and forgive themselves too soon for being fooled, before they immediately begin falling for the next charlatan (Ben Carson? Ted Cruz? Rand Paul? Mike Huckabee?) to pick up the old dog-eared copy and wrap it in a shiny new cover.

The two basic schemes of these old-style fear mongers are nativism and populism. Nativism is probably one of the oldest effective political tactics we know. It consists of blaming an Other, usually an Outsider, for most of a nation’s problems. (more…)

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Picture of Me-2Luis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.

Paula Deen Cooks Up A Hot Mess

By Luis M. LuquePimages

Perhaps I shouldn’t, but I find a small measure of amusement surrounding the recent tribulations of celebrity chef Paula Deen. Deen, whose name I wouldn’t have known as recently as a month ago, has found herself the target of much finger-wagging in the media over comments she made that were rightly construed as racist but mostly betray the 66-year-old’s insulated upbringing in Albany, Georgia, which repealed its Jim Crow laws in 1963, the year Deen turned 16.

Paula-Deen-Cries-Denies-Being-Racist-On-TodayDeen’s life was turned upside down when both of her parents died while she was in her 20s. She suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia, finding solace in the only place she felt comfortable, her kitchen, cooking down-home, Southern-style recipes she learned from her grandmother. To assume a white woman who grew up with a mediocre education and few marketable skills in Albany during the civil rights upheavals didn’t at some point harbor racial animosity, or at least distrust, is merely disingenuous. And to her credit, during her recent deposition in a trial in which she and her brother, Earl, are accused of racial and sexual discrimination, Deen was honest, admitting she had often used the word “nigger.” “Yes, of course,” she said. Given her age and upbringing, saying otherwise would have been a blatant and provable lie.

I’m not trying to urge anyone to feel sympathy for Paula Deen. Even if her tears on the Today Show were genuine, even if she never signs another media contract or endorsement deal, Deen and her descendants will continue to enjoy the many millions she has made as a celebrity chef, author, restaurateur, and brand name for many years to come. No, I frankly don’t care what happens to Paula Deen. She will soon enough disappear and be forgotten.george-zimmerman

It does amuse me that the Deen racial controversy couldn’t have come at a more interesting time, coinciding with the trial of George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ducking of a case about affirmative action in university admissions and that same court’s striking of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, with the 50th anniversary of the violent summer of Bull Connor, fire hoses, and police dogs in Birmingham, Alabama, the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech in 1963, and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. In some ways, I feel the Civil War has never ended. As William Faulkner observed, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (more…)

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Picture of Me-2Luis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.

WHY DO WE LOVE TRAIN WRECKS? By Luis M. Luque

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Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, the Olsen twins―these days, the supply of celebrity train wrecks seems endless, and in this era of camera phones, stalkerazzi, and TMZ, poking fun at them has become a cottage industry, one that goes way back (Cher, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor), but is today enjoying something of an unfortunate golden age.Miley-Cyrus-Cosmopolitan-02

But isn’t it funny that the media have always tended to take far more obsessive interest in the pretty, young, female train wrecks than in the just-as-plentiful male variety (Justin Bieber, Macaulay Culkin, Kanye West) or especially the more plentiful older male variety (Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, David Hasselhoff, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas) who are as likely to be caught saying and doing stupid things on camera?justin-bieber-Believe-photoshoot-2012-justin-bieber-31177743-1348-1600

So, then, why do the media focus so much on the ladies?

Mara Wilson, who as a child starred in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, and has since abandoned acting to become a writer, published an insightful essay at Cracked.com entitled “7 Reasons Child Stars Go Crazy.” In that same vein, I give you five reasons the media obsess about women train wrecks.

1. Sex. Most of these train wrecks tend to be young, single, and pretty. The chance of snapping some high-res gyno-pix as these women hop out of a limo sans underclothes is pretty high, even if they’re not drunk (Anne Hathaway), and they might reveal something even if they’re fully clothed (Emma Watson). A few years ago during her party prime, Paris Hilton might even flash the paparazzi just because, or she might not notice or care when her skimpy top dipped below the equator. You can’t expect the stalkerazzi, who are almost exclusively men, not to fight for the chance to make money while enjoying the show. And some of these women do enjoy putting on a show. Which leads me to … (more…)

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