The national election got a little bit Voight-Kampff-y tonight (as opposed to the Mein Kampf-y direction it’s been drifting, upsettingly, for the last several years), as CNN poet laureate Anderson Cooper introduced some powerful new imagery into a news cycle that’s already had to deal with his coining of the semi-word “clitter” earlier today. Specifically, Cooper was offering up his silver-haired analyses of Donald Trump’s latest declaration of a victory he hasn’t actually, in fact, won, when Cooper seared the following simile straight into the cultural lexicon: “That is the most powerful person in the world, and we see him, like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over.”
This particular dose of “What if T.S. Elliott had written Blade Runner?” free-verse has been heavily analyzed during the subsequent hours, in part because a) go back and fucking re-read the sheer, batshit poetry of it all, and b), we’ve got fuck all else to do right now except stare blankly at electoral maps and pray for the number god to make his magic needle move. (Sorry for all the swearing in this one, by the way; this whole fucking thing is getting to us. Fuck!) One major issue with Cooper’s chelonian elegy is that people actually mostly like turtles, which they associate with calmness, stability, and the elegant katana or bo staff. That’s to say nothing of the fact that there’s something kind of fatphobic about labeling the trumple (trumptoise?) as “obese,” as though BMI matters much to a helpless, pathetic turtle, baking in the hot sun of electoral contempt because a replicant won’t help it off its back. There’s also just the fact that we all already refer to Mitch McConnell as a turtle, and we need something to distinguish our various flavors of dead-eyed Republican ghouls.
In any case, Cooper has yet to issue an apology to the turtle community for his harsh-if-oddly-beautiful remarks. Meanwhile, his colleague, MSNBC numbers robot Steve Kornacki, has now taken to delighting and distracting the children and easily amused of America with mind-blowing displays of 5-digit mathematics, as the grand democratic experiment rolls on.