Dewey has written some 40 books of fiction and nonfiction, as
well as contributed scores of stories to magazines and other
periodicals. He has also had some 30 plays staged in Europe
and the United States. Dewey was editor of the ASME-award winning
magazine Attenzione and was editorial director of the
East-West Network, overseeing a dozen in-flight magazines and
the PBS organ Dial. Don's latest book, Nullo,
is now available.
encountered my first Donald Trump follower almost 50 years ago,
when the demagogue was still learning scams from his father
and had yet to conceive such flim-flam operations as his college
for dubious learning. The acolyte was a drifter around Europe
who sometimes thought of himself as a novelist and other times
as a songwriter and all the time as a poet. That I know, Bill
(let's call him that) never published a book, recorded a song,
or gave a reading, but for me he has always defined the narcissistic
delusions of the Trump crowd.
field of fancy was his height, which he informed most people
at first meeting was a good two inches higher than anyone else's
in sight. This claim was of spiritual importance to him, coming
as it usually did with an alleged warning passed on from his
mother that anyone shorter would have been defective. At first,
most of us let Bill have his obsession even though two of us
stood clear inches above him. But one night ripped it, especially
for a woman he had been seeing, and she challenged him to stand
up back to back with me and my fellow giraffe to put an end
to the vain boasting. Bill couldn't accept the challenge fast
enough. Up we three stood, with Bill measuring as high against
both of us around where a barber would have his scissor blades
clacking against only each other in search of a head with hair.
Relief among us was clarion: We would no longer have
to listen to the height delirium. But wait, not so fast! "Convinced
now?" Bill asked cockily.
and there the closest to an answer was six or seven people rolling
their eyes and searching out new gods of patience in the Milky
Way. A couple of days later, the woman who had been sharing
a bed with Bill got tired of waiting for better song lyrics
from him. From an historical point of view, however, that evening
has mostly remained with me as the first serious ounterattack
on our lying eyes. Clearly, there could have been no arguing
with Bill. Physical demonstrations didn't count. Witnesses didn't
count. Whatever glimpse of reality the subject might have been
exposed to didn't count. The only thing that counted was what
Bill not only believed but what he had to believe (or be dismissed
as defective). Not all religions required altars inside
such monomania into the political realm, we don't have to be
told these days, creates additional problems. Especially
delicate is the diplomatic one. Preferring to think of ourselves
as sensitive people, we hang back from branding a Bill type
as being simply stupid. That would also be counterproductive,
encouraging debate about the motives of atheists who refused
to believe nothing as something. No question that there should
be limits to patience in dealing with a Bill as a political
problem, but even 50 years ago on a personal level the Milky
Way yielded no appropriate god for the challenge. Standing around
with our thumbs up the Fox Network hasn't really been much of
about Bill hasn't been only a dismal journey into night, however.
If only aspirationally, he wanted to be viewed as a novelist,
a songwriter, and a poet, not a security guard or cashier. Somewhere
inside his neurons he had a semblance of respect for imagination
or was at least aware that others had respect for it and that
he might profit from an ostensible sympathy for it. And being
imaginative and being delusional are hardly perfect opposites.
A delusional imagination is in fact far more at home in Trumpville
than commonly credited. All those robotic 'fake news' dismissals,
for instance, are aimed as much against the non-delusional kind
of imagination as against specific accusations for the occasion.
Conjuring up external visions, what might be termed regulation
illusions, implies loss of personal control. If the Bills have
proven anything by now, it is that nothing 'out there' --- real
or unreal --- matters.
for being considered defective.