In P.G. Wodehouse’s 1938 novel The Code of the Woosters, there’s a great character called Roderick Spode. A parody of Sir Oswald Mosley, Spode is the dictatorial leader of a fascistic group called “The Black Shorts”. Bertie Wooster, the protagonist, describes his appearance “as if Nature had intended to make a gorilla, and had changed its mind at the last moment.”
Ultimately, Spode is thwarted when Bertie’s valet Jeeves reveals that he knows about “Eulalie”–which Bertie learns later is a ladies’ lingerie shop called Eulalie Soeurs that Spode operates. Spode fears that he will lose face if this becomes known to the other members of the Black Shorts.
Wodehouse was one of the greatest humorous writers of all-time, but Spode was a rare instance when he satirized a particular public figure. And a clever satire it was too; suggesting that a would-be dictator moonlights as an underwear designer instantly reduces them to figures of fun.
Of course, even in Wodehouse’s comic world, he still assumed that such people could be cowed by such basic things as shame. It was a more genteel universe that Wodehouse imagined, in which even the villains played by the rules.
[Inspired by (but not exactly a parody of) Tom Lehrer’s “Elements” song, which is itself a parody of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Modern Major General” song.]
Since the Cleveland Browns came back to the NFL in ’99
The quarterbacks who’ve played for them form a very long depressing line–
There was a lot of optimism (I myself can vouch for it)
When the Brownies first came back into town and got Tim Couch for it.
Ty Detmer was a back-up that they had hired just to mentor him,
And Doug Pederson and Spergon Wynn, they both sometimes went in for him.
Kelly Holcomb got the job, then Garcia, Dilfer, and McCown
And before you knew it, Akron’s Charlie Frye was the newest Cleveland Brown.
But Charlie Frye was out and in his stead was Derek Anderson
Who briefly held off second-stringer Brady Quinn (Ohio’s native son.)
Both Bruce Gradkowski and Ken Doresy brief QB careers did enjoy
And then the job came down to either Jake Delhomme or Colt McCoy.
Wallace, Weeden and Thaddeus Lewis, they all came and went as well,
And then the starting job to veteran Jason Campbell fell.
But Campbell might as well have left his luggage packed up in the foyer
For soon, the Cleveland quarterback was a chap called Brian Hoyer.
Brian Hoyer didn’t last, and soon the Browns fans began to call
For the gridiron magician who was known as “Johnny Football”
But what worked at A&M doesn’t really work beside the lake–
And after starting Connor Shaw, the Browns admitted their mistake.
Josh McCown was signed, but he didn’t play for them for very long,
And Davis, RG III and Kessler form the coda of this song.
Kizer’s next to be the starter–a rookie out of Notre Dame,
And now we’ll sit and wait to find out who’s in after next week’s game!
I wrote that Trump should have apologized, and a few days later, he does just that. He didn’t do the profuse heartfelt apology I recommended, but by Trump standards, it was an apology.
Well, Mr. Trump–and/or your advisors–if you’re reading this, and have now learned to follow my advice, I suggest you do the following things:
- Apologize specifically for your many past disgraceful words and deeds towards women, and never say or do such things again.
- Read David Ricardo to get some idea how International Trade works.
- Also read John Maynard Keynes to get some idea how macroeconomics works.
- In general, adopt a more cooperative tone–win or lose, it would be better if the country is not at war with itself when the election is over.
- Make a sizable donation from your own personal wealth to domestic violence shelters or other organizations that help women who have been victims of violence.
- Use your Twitter account only to post links to press releases and videos–not to insult random people.
- Quit constantly getting into fights with the Press. A Free Press is vital to the functioning of our Republic, and thus you should welcome their tough questions.
- Promise to reform and improve America’s Educational system, so that the next generation of young people can be competitive. As a first step in this direction, quit speaking in slang and improper English, and remove all vulgarity from your language while you are seeking public office.
- You have spoken in the past about the importance of hiring “the best people” away from the competition. Immigration can be used much the same way for a Nation–and indeed it has been throughout our great Country’s past. Remember that, and change your proposed policies accordingly.
I know what you are thinking, Mr. Trump. (If you’re reading this) You’re thinking: If I do all that, will I win?
I can’t say. But if you do it, you will at least be able to say you comported yourself honorably and intelligently in the last few months of the campaign. And if candidates for public office conduct themselves honorably and intelligently, it improves the quality of our political discourse generally. And if that happens, it will certainly help to make America even greater than it already is.
And that’s really what you want, isn’t it, Mr. Trump?