“The only real fucking is done on paper,” Pynchon writes in Gravity’s Rainbow, and it’s never been more true. Trump signs an executive order, and the rivers fill with coal dust. Not that it had ever stopped, exactly. But now they don’t even hide the collusion. Step on stage, let the cameras roll. Put ‘er there, Pal. Deal?
The collapsing of oppositions, of all categories and distinctions, has been brought to completion with the apotheosis of Trump. Politician or celebrity? Outsider or insider? Gangster or businessman? Friend or enemy? All of them golf at the same private clubs; all of them wear the same suit. We can’t hear what they’re saying, but we can see them shaking hands.
Ruler and ruled: that one's still in play. Power sits in a golden room and divides the preterite from the elect. How many kids did we kill today? We don’t count that high anymore.
In Glengarry Glen Ross, Al Pacino plays the consummate hustler who fills the space with words that mean nothing—until he goes in for the kill. Mamet depicted a hyper-masculinity which at the time had slipped into anachronism. “I swear, it’s not a world of men,” laments Pacino’s Ricky Roma. But now it’s a world of men again, men who wear long red ties like an amulet, who ride horses shirtless, who laugh all the way to Caymans. Put ‘er there, Pal. Deal?
John Rosewall, Bargain (detail), 2017