John Cleese and Eric Idle know a farce when they see one, they are celebrating 50 years of Monty Python this month. They both live in America and have for some time. They also remember Watergate all too well, and recently they kicked in their two cents about the Trump “shitshow.” Daily Beast:
“It’s been quite clear to me from the very beginning that he is not mentally balanced,” Cleese says of Trump. “He is an extraordinary caricature of an asshole; a person who has no interest in anyone else except himself. Every time he makes a decision, no matter how impulsive it is, it’s the one that makes him feel best about himself for the next 20 minutes. But I think he is now for the first time, because he is really becoming a disaster in foreign affairs, I think some Republicans are beginning to notice it. But the people who support him are basically so ignorant, because they only ever get news from Fox News, I don’t know what you say to people like that. To me, it’s like people who go and watch professional wrestling and don’t realize that it’s fixed. If they can’t see it when it’s right under their nose, I have no idea how they’re going to realize how wrong they are.”
Idle agrees. “He’s stark raving mad. Absolutely mental. He’s a criminal and a con artist and a mob boss.” But he has faith in America.
“America was founded by people who drew up a Constitution that accounted for somebody like Trump,” he says. “They wrote down laws to guard against it. They don’t have that in England. And that’s why they’re in the mess they’re in over there.”
Nice to hear the vote of confidence, but on the other hand, it’s not entirely clear that the constitution was written with the thought of a charlatan like Trump in mind. Plenty of people worry that the advent of Trump has opened the door for more of his self-serving, predatory capitalist ilk to come in, media charmed as he was, and do the same thing.
Idle and Cleese then shared ruminations from Watergate.
“When we were first touring here, in Canada, actually, the impeachment hearings were on,” Idle says. “It was amazing and riveting. But it was a lesson in how resilient America is, too. William Barr is nothing more than this era’s John Mitchell, and you can see how well that turned out for him.”
For his part, Cleese has less faith in the Republicans in Congress.
“This is the best job they’re ever going to get,” Cleese says, emphatically. “The better-known ones will go on living well, of course. But the rest of them will have to go back to being assistant manager in a shoe shop!”
“They’re terrified of Trump, sure,” contends Idle. “But do you know what they’re really terrified of? If you think the Russians only hacked Hillary Clinton and the DNC, you’re a fool. They hacked everyone! The RNC, Mitch McConnell and, especially, Lindsey Graham. That’s why they’re all so docile. But don’t be fooled that they’re doing this out of allegiance to Trump, or even because they fear his base. They’re afraid of what Russia has on them!”
Cleese has an interesting bottom line, one that’s at odds with Idle’s cheery notion that the founding fathers may have designed a document that will actually save us.
…I came to the view that there was no system that humans couldn’t… destroy. It all depends on whether you’re talking about decent people or not. The system doesn’t matter so much as the fact that it relies on people behaving decently. There is a tendency in America toward predatory capitalism. And there’s nothing more destructive to society than the idea that the only thing that matters is money. Because that’s basically sociopathic. So I think that the greatest problem in the world at the moment is greed.”
Fewer people than ever are behaving decently now. We are embroiled in an un-civil war, and it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.