Heather Mallick: Will Trump really set the world’s hair on fire?
High winds made a bad-hair day worse for U.S. president, but the day he lost as much dignity as a man without dignity can lose was the day plans for a Washington military parade were nailed in place, Heather Mallick writes.
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Writing about Donald Trump is like sitting cross-legged on the floor and being pelted with news diamonds the size of eggs. Some I catch, some I playfully bat away. But here I am now, almost buried in jewels and unable to move my arms.
“That’s enough now,” I say, tense-smiling. “Keep it up and someone’s going to lose an eye.” I have lost an eye yet keep on writing.
(Skip ahead if you’re not interested in hair.) The president of the United States has long yellow hair. Even Hillary Clinton didn’t dare do that. From the video clip of Trump’s climb up the stairs to Air Force One on a windy day, it appears that when he had his neck skin lifted up at the back to the top of his head, he neglected to put in hair plugs. Perhaps it was not medically possible.
He has two strips of hair on the sides of his head which grow long — but not thick — because of finasteride, a medication prescribed by his lifelong doctor, Harold Bornstein, whose hair is similarly long but not in a good way. The drug has side-effects, including lack of libido and impotence. It is apparently more important for Trump to have long sparse hair islands than to have sex, which is why his hair failure haunts him.
Trump should have worn a toupée glued to the scalp. Because he demanded real hair, his side tresses are lightly spray-glued at the base and anti-frizzed into rigidity. But no product could beat a wind that hard — it was sailboat weather — so we saw the back of Trump’s etiolated head and we went all quiet.
I suspect the day Trump lost as much dignity as a man without dignity can lose was the day that plans for a Washington military parade were nailed in place. It is on.
North Korea just held one. Perhaps I scare easily but I found its parade alarming and not just because of Kim Jong Un’s Valentine’s Day Massacre outfit.
North Korea excels at unison. It had an excellent intercontinental ballistic missile display, 13,000 soldiers, some doing a nicely modified bouncing goosestep, terrific lockstep marching, exquisite mass choreography in a huge square that Washington cannot rival, and a squad of female soldiers dancing for artistic display points that will elude the U.S.
Americans worship their military, or say they do. But their big missiles aren’t necessarily as portable as those of other nations. They’re in silos while other target nations keep them on the road to evade detection and fill parades. The aerial display is always nice but frankly there’s not a lot for civilians to see that high up in the sky. The military doesn’t want city roads chewed up by massive tanks — they’ll have to pay for repairs — so I’m wondering if some kind of flooring can be installed for tanks and whatnot.
What Trump does have is lots of soldiers. Why not bring in 50,000, fully 37,000 more than Kim Jong Un? American city police forces can make up the numbers since they’re already as body-armoured and gunned-up as the army, a problem in itself.
Americans are funny about military parades. It may be the only sign of restraint in their boastful, shamelessly violent nation but they do tend to save such parades for when a war is won. The U.S. hasn’t won a war since World War II. I mean, the Korean Police Action? Vietnam? Afghanistan? Iraq?
“I want a parade like the one in France,” Trump said after watching the Bastille Day one in 2017. Does he know what he’s getting into?
The French have 4,000-strong children’s choirs, Brazilian smoke squadrons, Indian military bands, cadets, the Paris Fire Brigade, parachute displays, sexy blue motorbikes, UN blue-helmeted peacekeepers, and the French Foreign Legion bringing up the rear. It even invites units of soldiers from close allies — basically everyone in the EU — but Trump has insulted most of his.
The decor is spot-on, soldiers wear exquisite tailored uniforms, and pretty much everyone makes music. There are gold epaulets and crimson pants with black inset stripes, 19th century pantaloons, sashes, silk cravats and capes and cavalry with artful patterns shaved into the horses’ coats. Even the tanks are stylish.
In 1945 Stalin tried to lead the Victory Parade on a white Arabian stallion. He fell off, injured his shoulder and left it to Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who he later exiled. Trump wouldn’t get on a horse, would he? No. He might make Mike Pence do it though.
In the Soviet years, the annual May Day parade in Red Square had everyone watching the ruling gang, figuring out who was up, who was down, who was trending. The same will happen in Washington. But what will Trump wear? I predict a greatcoat since he doesn’t know that Hitler wore one in Paris in the 1940 invasion of France. Trump doesn’t know anything.
Hitler walked along the Champs-Elysées with his architect Albert Speer in 1940 and came home thrilled with Paris and eager to make Berlin even more grandiose. Speer designed a huge domed Volkshalle, a building so big it would have its own weather as the breath and sweat of 150,000 people rose and rained back on them. It was never built but it was the biggest plan in the history of big, and Trump likes that.
Similarly, Trump stood on that very same avenue and came home parade-hungry.
Five years later of course Hitler wanted to blow Paris up and General von Choltitz, a Prussian chosen for his personal loyalty to Hitler, declined to do so.
In no way is Trump a Hitler. But I predict that this is how the Trump presidency will end, with a diamond as big as the Ritz: a massive mad Trump declaration followed by a solid no from sane officials in the American government itself.