The ‘Greatest’ Show on Earth

This ad proclaims that you can meet the characters of a well-known film in this tiny railway station. As a marketing concept, it is already a thing of the past. Now the biggest television show on Earth has invaded all our lives. It’s on our TVs, on the radio, in all our newspapers worldwide and in every nook and cranny of the Internet, every day and all day long. It’s in our conversations and maybe in our nightmares. The Forty-fiver* Show. You are probably sick of it, if not worried sick by it.

The problem with this show is that it is not taking place on a set, in a fictitious decor, it is taking place in real life. Sure, it is in such bad taste, so far-fetched, so ill thought out, so badly written, you scratch your head and wonder if it could be real. You wonder how such a production, clearly strung together on a shoe-string without the least professional input and so full of clichés and ready-made ideas, could possibly have grabbed permanent prime-time worldwide.

You may have seen the thought-provoking Truman Show, a film in which, from birth, a person is brought up and lives in a world that is a film set designed to make him believe it is the real world. All the people around him are actors. The Forty-fiver Show turns that inside out, omitting the humour in the process. The world we live in has been transformed into the set of a poorly-made film in which a ‘fictitious’ character holds sway over us as powerless stand-ins. Fictitious? It is hard to believe that such a person, who would be more at home in a scribbled right-wing comic strip, could possibly be real like you or I.

So what do you do when you and the whole world have been roped in, against your will, as throw-away stand-ins in a cheap TV series to the glory of one character who spews out hate and division while he caresses the nuclear button with an itchy finger?

How about sticking your head in the sand? Maybe not. Hire an assassin? That’s probably exactly what the producers are hoping for. Heap more violence on his violence. No! Certainly not. What’s more, as arguably the most hated person in the world, he must surely be the most protected. Shout out your refusal to comply? Why not? Not my president!

And laughing? Seems like a ridiculous reaction when crying would seem more appropriate. But surely if there’s one thing Forty-five can’t abide it is being laughed at. He might play the clown because he likes to think he is funny, but you can bet he’ll be furious if you laugh at him. He takes himself far too seriously. And that big red button, you ask. Won’t he use it if we drive him too far? Maybe. He’s that unstable. But can we afford to remain silent when a madman is running amok through our lives with a loaded gun in his hand?

* 45? Forty-fifth president

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