Matt Pond
photo by: Gage Skidmore

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to talk about the Trump book. A friend sent me a link to the audiobook a few days after it came out, and after finishing a few days later I honestly didn’t have a lot to say about it. The book is pretty much as crazy as you’d expect from all the coverage that it and the author, Michael Wolff, have been getting since it was released. Although some reviewers have raised skepticism about the content, given that none of the big names who were quoted in the book have come out with refutations by this point I have to believe that most of the claims that it makes are accurate. Like most readers I laughed a lot at the outlandish stories, shook my head at all the embarrassing, cringe-worthy bits that I’d tried to forget since their initial occurrence, then pretty much forgot about it.


But this past week I found myself horribly ill with a bad cold and unwilling to leave my bed. After pounding a bottle of Buckley’s and taking some “herbal supplements” (specifically about six cannabis jellies), then futaly searching for another Netflix series to binge-watch, I looked at my phone and saw the unabridged, 11 hour and 56 minute audiobook with the slack-jawed yellow-haired hobgoblin on the cover. For some reason my drug-addled mind decided to hit play, and the half-day fever dream that followed can only be described as a “bad trip”.


Are you the sort of person who enjoys staring into the abyss and having it look back at you? Well I can think of no better way to encapsulate that experience than drifting in and out of conscious awareness of your surroundings while highlight real of the non-stop stream of wackiness and horror we’ve all been inundated with for the past two years players in the background. The narrator’s voice is transformed into a surreal, mocking stream-of-consciousness, recounting a series of Kafkaesque events which only vaguely align with what one has come to expect from growing up in a normal, rational reality, and one is left with no choice but to cast off all notions of logic or sanity and embrace the void.


Remember all those cartoonishly incompetent talking-heads like Anthony Scaramucci and Carter Page who burst on the public scene out of nowhere to make total asses of themselves, only to then then vanish into the mists of history weeks later like they never existed at all? Well prepare to remember them in the most jarring way possible, as fatigue-induced, demon-like caricatures in your mind’s eye mocking all the things you once held to be sacred.


Don’t forget about Steve Bannon and Trump’s stupid children though! If, like myself, you’re a fan of the regular cast of highly-mockable failures (the alt-right C.H.U.Ds), banal-but-dangerous assholes (career republican party employees), and outright monstrous excuses for human beings (the three former generals) which populate the Trump White House, there’s plenty of highlights from our main characters to keep things from getting too off-the-rails. The author returns to the well often, taking particular and obvious delight in chronicling the sad, sad pissing contests between Bannon and Jared Kushner; after six straight hours of this milquetoast, middle-school level gossip, the interactions between the two figures become infused with a level of pathos and emotional breadth worthy of one of Shakespeare’s more boring plays.


If you’re the sort of masochist who enjoys endlessly re-living this darkest timeline in which we all remain forever trapped and unable to escape, then go find a copy of this book, get yourself into an altered state of consciousness and listen to it from beginning to end without pause. However, this writer takes no responsibility for any damage to your mental health, which may ensue.