If you are fan of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm you are probably looking forward to the show’s resurrection in the coming week and may even have been “bingeing” on the “marathons” being broadcast on various cable and streaming platforms, running episodes from past seasons. I happened to catch Episode 5 from Season 8 recently (The Vow of Silence) and as I heard Trump advisors tell us the “President” is “not impulsive, he’s intuitive” I developed a theory about the Autocrat-in-Chief.
If you’re not familiar with Curb Your Enthusiasm all you really need know is that Larry David (the co-creator of the fabulously successful Seinfeld) plays a character named “Larry David” who is in the television industry in Los Angeles. The character is a transplanted New Yorker in all the (worst?) connotations of that term. (If you were a Seinfeld fan, the George Costanza character was based on Larry David) He is rude, blunt, loud, pig-headed, obstinate, and always sure he is right! The character has been dubbed, "The Social Assassin." That there’s a “touch” of the classic New York Jewish comic adds to the charm. Getting back to Episode 5 of season 8 (which aired in 2011, at the height of the “Birther” nonsense), Larry introduces us to a practice he calls “the chat’n’cut.” As noted in the August 8, 2011 www.eater.com, a “chat’n’cut” is:
"Feigning familiarity with someone [you] vaguely know for the sole purpose of cutting in line." Larry knows a Chat and Cut when he sees it, and busts someone trying to beat the line at a dinner party.
As further explained in www.complex.com, the “chat’n’cut” generally involves:
that entitled douchebag who spots a person they recognize near the front of a line and uses conversation as a thinly veiled excuse to slide in, whether they're actually friends or not.
I believe the “chat’n’cut” is the reason Donald Trump is “President.” Before questioning my sanity, hear me out!
We know The Donald is a compulsive television viewer, right? So it might not be far-fetched to believe that, back in 2011, before his name was constantly in the news, he watched a variety of shows and, since Curb was a big ratings-grabber, he may well have been a regular viewer of the show. Here’s where Trump’s “intuitive/impulsive” gymnastics begin.
He sees the “chat’n’cut” episode and thinks: “Yeah, that’s what Obama did! He got involved in politics in Illinois, made some connections, got to speak at the Democratic convention in 2004 and used those connections to ‘feign familiarity” with people he “vaguely knew” (white Democratic politicians) to “cut” the line and get the nomination in 2008!” While marveling at Obama’s deft “chat’n’cut,” Trump used the Birther fraud nonsense to develop his own political philosophy: he’d “chat’n’cut” his way to a Presidential nomination.
So, the “intuitive/impulsive” narcissist looks around and sees it this way:
“I’ve got extremely high name recognition and great ratings for ‘The Apprentice’ and my audience seems to be a segment of the population that loves a blustery, tyrannical boss. They also, like me, cannot believe that this Black guy 'chat’n’cut' his way into the White House! I need to ‘chat’n’cut’ the Republican nomination process and then let all those people who hate Obama 'chat’n’cut’ with me!” And so, the diabolical plan was hatched --- Trump figured out how to “chat’n’cut” his way to the Presidency.
Starting in June, 2015, he announced he was joining the line of 16 Republicans who were running for the party’s nomination. Quickly and deftly, through the use of simplistic but memorable nicknames (Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco, Low-Energy Jeb) he moved further and further up in the line, bringing his “chat’n’cut” base with him --- their eagerness to finally “cut the line” was expressed in their “Make America Great Again” fervor.
So, as Spring became Summer, Trump had “chat’n’cut” his way to the nomination and, eventually, the Presidency itself. Despite his own (closeted) anti-Semitism, he prevailed because of his blatant racist, misogynistic, “New York” rudeness and crudeness, Trump rode a wave of marginal popularity to his party’s nomination and then, the Presidency, epitomizing “that entitled douchebag who spots a person they recognize near the front of a line and uses conversation as a thinly veiled excuse to slide in.” In this case, he used thinly veiled racism, blatantly expressed misogyny, and malignant narcissism to appeal to the “worst angels of our nature” (sorry, Abe) and win the presidency, while losing the popular vote.
His deftly executed “chat’n’cut” is impressive to observe, in retrospect, but discouraging and chilling to actually live through.
Curb Your Enthusiasm returns to HBO at 10:00 pm on Sunday, October 1st.