Erskine’s send-up skits and Poe’s prophetic short story

President* Trump,

I’m certainly not one of them…. But I’m betting a rather large proportion of US residents over the age of 10 are obsessively checking their go-to news and social media outlets to see whether you’ve succumbed to COVID. And yes, I’m sure you’ve got a chunky loyal contingency that’s sitting in darkened rooms fervently praying to God that you get better real fast so you can get back on the road and hold some more packed rallies where more people can get infected and be just like you. Heavy, heavy sigh.

Laura showed me two Blaire Erskine Twitter skits this morning. In the first she plays a teenage girl who’s rapping a MAGA-Teen “get well” message for you, which she repeatedly interrupts to say that she isn’t a MAGA-Teen and that her mother is forcing her to say all of it. It’s pretty damn funny and you know how they say ‘laughter is the best medicine’ so here you go: https://twitter.com/blaireerskine/status/1312052129914408960. Ok, well, it’s pretty damn funny and it’s also horrifying since I am 100% certain there are kids out there whose parents are forcing them to pretend they love you when they actually loathe you.

Her second Twitter skit is actually even more horrifying. In it Erskine is pretend-driving her two pretend-children somewhere as she explains why she’s an undecided voter: https://twitter.com/blaireerskine/status/1311296658211209217. The upshot is that she’s an undecided voter because she loves the attention and because to make a decision she’d have to read up on the issues, which is something she refuses to do. The rest of the skit is so cringey that it’s hard to watch, but I love the first bit about being an undecided voter for the attention. Indeed. Then there’s the meta issue of how anyone in life could possibly be an undecided voter at this point. I mean, we do have to hand it to you on this one – I bet there are record-low numbers of undecided voters this time around.

Sadly, I do think there are hundreds of thousands (hopefully not millions) of people who just feel the whole thing is so f*cked that they’re on the fence about voting at all or plan not to. This is something I find at least as disturbing as the reality of actual Trump voters and I frankly want to shake those people.

Before I sign off, I want to share one more link with you. This one also came from Twitter but it’s of an entirely different nature than the Erskine send-ups. Laura follows Benjamin Dreyer, executive managing editor at Random House and very funny droll person, and he posted a link to Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 short story entitled “The Masque of the Red Death” (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1064/1064-h/1064-h.htm), which essentially, chillingly presages you and your Rose Garden fiasco.

Briefly, Poe tells the tale of a vain and heartless Duke living in a dire time of plague. Once half the people of the land are dead, he and several hundred of his friends retire to a gorgeous, sumptuously well-stocked castle to ride out the Red Death. It’s abundantly clear by the second paragraph that things aren’t going to end well for Sir Duke and his pals (they basically lock themselves in and throw away the key – idiocy is apparently not a new thing), but Poe does his Poe thing and builds the suspense to a pitch so that when the Duke and his guests are at a lavish ball crowded together and meet their very own Red Deaths, it’s almost a relief.

I say ‘almost a relief ‘ because I’m still a kind-hearted liberal and I don’t want anyone to suffer, but truly, someone who hoards all the goodies and walls himself away with his friends while his people are suffering and dying isn’t exactly super-duper high on my “deserves sympathy” list. You hear me? Roger that?

Yeah.

May we all be safe from vain, heartless leaders.
May we be willing to vote them right on out of office.
May we have the strength of conviction to not screw around with “principled” non-voting.
May we accept that choosing between the lesser of two evils is sometimes really a life or death matter.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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