Political Theatre of the Absurd


One of the lesser known theatrical styles came to exist after World War II and while the Cold War was accelerating toward nuclear meltdown. The main theme inherent in virtually all of the works is that the human condition is one essentially void of purpose, eternally in pursuit of a method to control its fate.

Among those writing is this fashion was Romanian-born Eugene Ionesco. He used language in such a way meant to enthrall and confuse his audience. Arguably, one of his most famous works was The Bald Soprano, in which two characters spend the length of the play chatting away about the same things until their dialogue becomes utter nonsense.

The point: Mankind has lost the ability to verbally communicate adequately, and is destined to remain in some type of metaphysical distress. Isn’t this what plagues us today?

With all of the blessings and curses of our digital world, many feel dislocated and uneasy about what lies ahead. This a perfect environment into which a person such as Trump can be spawned. Be honest. There is nothing The Big Mouth can say or do that has a negative effect on his ardent followers. It seems as if he has masterminded a sure fire way of developing his own cult of personality, with an emphasis on cult. So herein lies the connection between what once was and now is.

One of Ionesco’s least known works is The Leader, a short play about the anticipated arrival of The Leader. During the play, the Announcer broadcasts everything The Leader is doing prior to his onstage appearance. At last, The Leader comes on stage whereupon one of the cast notices he doesn’t have a head. Yet, this abnormality makes no difference to his followers since they know “he’s got genius.” The play also includes a secondary theme, which ultimately points to society’s inability to communicate effectively.

The latest indication that we’re having a failure to communicate is the whole business about how Trump is being fattened for slaughter in November. The entire length and breadth of the Republican Party is poised to torpedo his candidacy by withholding its support and allowing Hillary Clinton to gain access to the White House.

If you dig deeply into the current Never Trump movement, you’ll find most of the House and Senate are beginning their slow descent to the inevitable. Trump’s got this in hand because you can’t call in the exterminator after the termites eat the house.

Donald J. Trump is now a character in a script woven from the days of imminent missile attacks, duck and cover, and fallout shelters, even exhorting South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia to stockpile their own nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Oh yes, and our own nuclear card is now back in the deck, thanks to The Leader’s need to be as secretive as possible when it comes to fighting wars.

Okay, so Donald has a head; I’ve seen it. But the matter here is if he ever plans to use it constructively. We know “he’s got genius;” his ability to wrangle billions in free air time is a clear testament. However, if he’s so smart why does he act so stupidly most of the time? Remember Trump is brilliant, and, I believe, his plan to take down the GOP has all be scripted in advance. Ionesco would be proud.

Eric Blumberg is a former radio news reporter and talk show host who now teaches communications and writing at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City. See ericblumberg.net.

From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2016


Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2016 The Progressive Populist

PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652