Trump the Musical with a Jeff Bezos Set Piece.
Last Thursday’s post on Medium by phlegmatic billionaire Jeff Bezos felt like a major production number from a Broadway musical. Most shows perform large set pieces in each act, one of which occurs near or before intermission. The cast leaps into a bombast of song and dance where, on stage, themes and narratives coalesce into one thriving, luminous performance. And the action occurs concurrently, an admixture of competing rhythm and movement. Invariably, the scene draws the audience inside its arcane, small little world.
When I read Bezos’s Medium, I recognized immediately a string of au courant topics, a zeitgeist of American contemporaneity. In it we have billionaires versus millionaires in a war of elites spilled into the public; we have a convergence of mobile technology, lewd photography, and torrid affairs; we have international intrigue, presidential politics, and journalist murdering; we have accusations of fake news, bribery, and special investigations; and we have, at last, the arrival of 2019’s word of the year in the derivative noun “complexifier”.
And the characters—Mr. Bezos, Mr. Peck, Mr. Trump, Ms. Sanchez, Prince Salman, Mr. Khashoggi, et al—made appearances or flashes of appearance in the post. Their intersection reads like some phantasmagoria of the now. Mr. Bezos’s song is louder; it’s bigger; the dance numbers are more complex. The cast for 2019 and 2020 surge downstage to share how their part in the narrative-of-now leaches the American public’s infatuation with chaos. Mr. Bezos’s Medium is the large set piece in this rock opera of life; and it is one I fear comes before intermission—which suggests that 2020’s stage awaits, a second act chock-full of hanging salaciousness on the edge of a political event horizon.