If you think Larry David's MAGA hat episode was mocking Donald Trump, rewatch the first three seconds of the clip. He was making fun of you.
Donald Trump tweeted a really funny clip from a recent “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode on Tuesday. And the press and social media went bonkers.
Some form of: “Haha Trump doesn’t realize Larry David was mocking him!” was the headline from every “respectable” media outlet from The Washington Post to People Magazine.
The Democratic Coalition PAC said:
The President tweeted out a clip from Larry David’s show, but seems to have no idea it’s making fun of him.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid smugly asked:
Who’s going to tell him?
But Donald Trump gets the last laugh on this one.
This verified Twitter influencer’s comment was typical of how many perceived the Larry David sketch:
But it’s the press and the Twitterati who missed the joke.
Rewind the clip and watch it again from the beginning. That Larry David’s character is the jerk is clearly established in the first three seconds.
Larry is behind the wheel of a BMW, which instantly tells you in televisual metaphor that he’s a jerk. He’s also driving distracted, self-absorbed in his own little world.
(If anyone can tell me what he’s singing, please leave a comment.)
And not even four seconds into the clip, he starts changing lanes and nearly sideswipes a motorcyclist, almost killing him. You all forgot that detail as soon as you saw the MAGA cap. Because you’re deranged by the MAGA cap.
Larry David was making fun of you.
Half this country can literally see a man almost get killed by an irresponsible driver, and the second they realize he’s a Trump supporter, that most crucially important part of what they actually saw with their own eyes fades to the background.
There’s no room left in their brain to consider what they saw with their own eyes.
It’s too full of animosity toward Donald Trump. So the bumbling driver becomes the victim. And the guy he almost ran off the road is a “rage-obsessed moron.”
There are all kinds of potentially valid criticisms one could make about Donald Trump personally and politically. But saying he’s stupid is a fundamentally unserious criticism.
And it’s suspicious that this is the same joke about every Republican president and vice president going back to Ronald Reagan. (Evil genius Dick Cheney is the exception.)
Whatever other criticisms could legitimately be leveled against Donald Trump, no idiot could excel at the highest level across multiple, very different domains of competence.
And when it comes to how media and humor work, Trump’s genius is unquestionable, like him or not. He got the joke, while all the critics missed it.
Here’s how badly they missed it: Larry David’s character isn’t just a jerk for this episode. He’s a jerk for the whole show. That’s the premise of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
He’s a mostly good person, and he means well. But he’s a stubborn and self-centered narcissist. From the Wikipedia entry for “Curb,” people who wear MAGA hats would say this perfectly describes Nancy Pelosi:
Larry often finds himself in awkward situations that arise as a result of his obstinate belief in his own ethical principles and codes of conduct, which he is nevertheless prepared to bend when it suits him.
Ask Trump supporters to describe his haters, and they might say this word for word:
He often focuses on petty details and stubbornly holds to his opinion to the extent of aggravating everyone around him just to prove an insignificant point.
The only advice I have for Democrats today – if they want to become relevant and powerful again – is this. When it comes to Trump, curb your enthusiasm.