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Donald Trump, J.K. Rowling and the politics of fantastic realism

NewsDonald Trump, J.K. Rowling and the politics of fantastic realism

Befuddled Americans watch all sorts of experts acrimoniously argue on screen about everything and fault malignant foreign powers for all that is wrong while a climate of civil war settles in.



Donald Trump may be the second socialist President of the United States (after FDR) since he has essentially granted universal basic income to Americans, howbeit temporarily, but he is surely the first ruler of his nation to embody the age of fantastic realism, which has entered politics long after the literary style was inaugurated by the Franco-Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier and took over the world with Jorge-Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

From South America this “imaginal” and allegorical mindscape did travel north, along the drug routes to the land of Edgar Poe, Lovecraft and Timothy Leary, the Eldorado of the sci-fi novels, fantasy comics and virtual reality, in other words the United States.

To situate the Orange Man in the right set-up it is however J.K. Rowling’s novels that come to mind. Donald Trump is half-Scottish and Harry Potter’s fictitious world with its wizards, muggles, animaguses, dementors, marauders, death eaters, plots, hidden fraternities and chambers of secrets is where he belongs, whether you locate him among the dark forces or see him instead as a boat-rocking jack-in-the box who is actually fighting the baddies as his dogged supporters swear.

One can find in today’s American and global politics all the ingredients for a new volume of the Harry Potter series. On the ominous backdrop of the Biblical seven plagues traditional assurances provided by religion, science, government and academia have receded into confusion so that public confidence is at its lowest, leaving the door open to “magical thinking”.

Befuddled Americans watch all sorts of experts acrimoniously argue on screen about everything and fault malignant foreign powers for all that is wrong while a climate of civil war settles in. On CNN, mask-promoting medical and scientific authorities grimly warn that the Covid-19 virus (without agreeing whether it is natural or man-made) will destroy America because of the incompetence and callousness of the Trump regime, while on Fox TV other equally qualified professionals discount the threat and debunk every single advice given by their ideological adversaries. In the midst of this constant fiery controversy President Trump blithely rides a wave of conspiratorial rumours, for and against him, with the skill of a veteran surfer, who knows how to catch the wind in whatever direction it blows. He enjoys the freedom of those who apparently have no convictions other than a tremendous self-assurance.

With Trump, as with his fictional homonym the cartoonish Baron Trump, created by 19th century American novelist Ingersoll Lockwood, one cannot tell veiled satire from juvenile fantasy. Perhaps not coincidentally the President’s youngest son is called Barron.

The character of Baron Trump was loosely inspired by the picaresque figure of Raspe’s Baron Munchhausen and Trump seems to be a Technicolor reproduction of some eccentric 19th century American Croesus but, much as they try, the enemies of the 45th US President have not been able to reduce him to the cameo of a P.T. Barnum of politics. Too much of a subtext goes into the making and resilience of this presidency to allow the uncritical acceptance of claims that it is all a not-so-clever practical joke played on the world. Many stories that go viral every day on both mainstream and social media suggest that there may be more to Trump’s election than the tale of a wealthy self-promoter who crashed into the White House due to a nation-wide misunderstanding.

The most influential of all the “underground” sources that contribute to Trump’s enduring appeal against all odds is perhaps the famous or infamous (depending upon what side you are) Q-Anon series of cryptic messages. Q-Anon (from the Q level of Top Secret security clearance or from the Sibylline character from StarTrek) since 2017 defines in a steady stream of Internet posts the creed of many diehard Trump followers. Geographically the latter are more likely to be found in the western states but are spread all over the country, across various social-cultural categories. In short, they believe that The Donald has been elected by God and/or by a high-power group of “white hats”, mostly in the Armed Forces and Intelligence bodies to clean the United States and the outside world of the influence of a deeply corrupt and perverse transnational oligarchy aka a Deep State made up of secretive billionaires and clandestine influencers who rule mankind for their sole benefit and practise abominable crimes with the impunity that their supra-national power grants them.

In the litany of charges imputed to them currency control and manipulation, drug and human trafficking including paedophilia and sponsoring terrorism are recurring themes. Lord Valdemort, the chief villain of the Harry Potter cycle and the death eaters would feel right at home among those evil doers but the happier part of the tale is that Donald Trump is said to be fighting them by carrying out the plan of the Q-Anon sponsors to bring about the downfall of their Satanic Cabal and the arrest and trial of its bosses.

The messages from Q-Anon are not devoid of concrete details about what is to happen. The underlying political philosophy is more or less related to two protocols that, according to various cult-like groups were about to be implemented at the very beginning of this century just about when the 11 September attacks took place. The first is called NESARA (National Economic Security and Reformation Act and the second GESARA (Global Economic Security and Reformation Act). Both programmes have their origins in the work of economist Harvey Francis Barnard who in the nineties unsuccessfully campaigned to get his plan adopted by the US Congress. It entailed returning to a gold and silver based currency, thereby getting rid of bank-created “fiat money”, replacing income tax with a universal sales tax, abolishing compound interest and cancelling much of the public debt. Significantly, he entitled the brochure spelling his proposal “Draining The Swamp” (2005), which Trump took as his battle cry for his 2016 campaign. The connection is not lost on the adepts of Q-Anon who claim to know a lot more about it.

It seems amazing that Q’s steady stream of Delphic posts interspersed with mysterious numbers and rhymes should have won such a wide following in the world’s richest and supposedly most advanced country, but perhaps it is rather not so surprising that in a population addicted to mystery thrillers and super-natural films, novels and TV series such purported “Intel drops” found instant success. An increasingly disoriented and apprehensive public, cynical about its politicians and its scientists, suspicious of the transhumanist aspirations of its Silicon Valley super tycoons responds en masse to an enigmatic account of what is wrong in the country because it also promises a glorious resolution of the crisis. The Christian expectation of Judgement Day after the final battle of Good against Evil enables many to regard Trump as the Almighty’s champion, who, in spite of his personal flaws, is waging the good fight against the dark Lord and his accursed servants, many of whom happen to be politicians in both US parties.

Having peeped into the virtual universe of many “Trump foot soldiers”, we should come back to reality’s surface to trace links between theories that flirt with paranoid neurosis and visible current events. There are indeed many accounts, some supported by past or ongoing police investigations about organised paedophilia and satanic rituals in certain high-power social circles. The non-governmental International Tribunal of Natural Justice through its Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Human Trafficking and Child Sex Abuse has drawn attention to and investigated a number of such cases and several witnesses have surfaced in the last few years, citing high profile names in politics, business and in Hollywood. The notorious case of Jeff Epstein, whose “lost” little black book is said to list many powerful figures and celebrities, has shown that illegal and probably criminal activities are taking place at levels mostly inaccessible to public scrutiny.

Avowedly satanic functions and sundry “black masses” involving simulated human sacrifices, sexual excesses and cannibalism do take place, notably around the famous artist Marina Abramovic, associated with many wealthy and well known practitioners of her trade-mark gory “spirit cooking”. Fans and sympathizers make light of that, describing it as one of contemporary art’s risqué parodies but critics point out that nowadays art is the excuse or cover for perverse indulgence. One of Abramovic’s close friends is John Podesta, a collector of “disturbing” contemporary “artworks” and ex-CHIEF of Staff and Special Adviser to Presidents Clinton and Obama, as well as campaign manager to Hillary Clinton. The latter is known to participate in necromantic gatherings in which she allegedly speaks with the dead. All those loosely connected strands do not amount to evidence of a conspiracy but they provide fodder to the suspicions of those who detect the existence of a malignant hidden oligarchy and have put their faith in the maverick in the White House. They point to his action to combat human trafficking and slavery through a series of legislative measures and his proclamation in January of this year

Trump is not reluctant to publicly accept Q-Anon’s support and does not dismiss their claims.

Incidentally the President’s ex-wife Marla Maples has joined Robert F. Kennedy Jr in raising accusations against Microsoft mogul Bill Gates, suspected of wanting to use compulsory vaccines in order to reduce the global human population according to some of his own statements.

For those who deny the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic Trump’s ambiguous statements belittling the health crisis betray his lingering belief that the global panic is the result of a plot directed against his presidency. His Attorney General Bill Barr for his part has accused state and civic officials who enforce lockdown orders of egregiously violating the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution.

If Trump somehow manages to secure reelection in November, he’ll owe it in large part to the trust reposed in him by those who want to free the country from a shadowy hydra held responsible for many of the world’s ills. Whether he likes it or not The Donald will be, among other characteristics the Q-Anon President but the question remains: who is using whom?

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