Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Donald Trump is apparently going through a bit of an Elton John phase

Illustration for article titled Donald Trump is apparently going through a bit of an Elton John phase
Photo: Left: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images), Right: Robin Jones (Getty Images)

It is generally not worth listening to anything that our garbage president says, because his brain is full of worms and the occasional thoughts that said brain produces are forced to travel in a little loop in his mind, being expressed in increasingly long sentences that degenerate over time, becoming—and this is true—really, more and more, when you think about it, every day. It’s really something.

Last night he held a rally in Montana so as to attack some political foe and do his various talking things in front of an appreciative audience. Midway through, while beginning to talk about the Democratic stance on immigration, he pivoted to discuss the size of his crowds, letting loose a stretch of syntactical chaos in which we can see the various forces in his brain not so much battling for supremacy as collapsing into each other like water-logged trees after a hurricane. Emphasis is ours, but also yours, theirs, everyone’s:

I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record. Because you know, look, I only need this space. They need much more room. For basketball, for hockey and all of the sports, they need a lot of room. We don’t need it. We have people in that space. So we break all of these records. Really we do it without like, the musical instruments. This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.


And he’s right, you know: The only musical is the mouth. The brain is attached to the mouth. And it is so much more important, it’s really true. People are saying this, it’s the brain, the brain, the brain. Not the mouth.

How did this happen, aside from the horrible excesses of late capitalism, the slow collapse of American institutions, and the slow, terrible decay of age? Because, like any other consumer of popular culture occasionally must, Trump is going through a bit of an Elton John phase right now—you know, revisiting some of the big ‘70s stuff, which really does hold up. The Guardian reports that the commander in chief brought up his frequent “Rocket Man” barb to fellow world leader Kim Jong-Un during their initial denuclearization meeting, and that Kim was reportedly unfamiliar with the classic cut. And so now Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo, headed to North Korea for another follow-up talk, will be bringing an autographed copy of a John CD containing the track, either in its original form on the rollicking Bernie Taupin collab Honky Château or on some later greatest-hits collection. The autograph, for what it’s worth, will be Donald Trump’s, not Elton John’s.

Trump is a longtime fan of the singer, whose ‘70s classics likely soundtracked the final period in which his brain was able to separate his own memories from things that occurred during television commercials. He asked John to play his inauguration—an honor to which John politely declined—and has recently taken to playing the musician’s “Rocket Man” at rallies—a habit that John has politely requested he cease forthwith.

Anyway, all of that probably explains why Trump decided, last night, after mocking the #MeToo movement and physically threatening Senator Elizabeth Warren, to begin comparing himself to Elton John, who has an organ, whereas Trump only has a mouth, you know? Just the mouth. Which is attached to a brain—the most important thing of all. Please remember that.


Here he is talking about the fact that the sky exists:


Clayton Purdom is a writer and editor based in Columbus, Ohio.

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