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On Stephen King’s Comments about Donald Trump

June 27, 2016
(image via Wikimedia)

(image via Wikimedia)

Even though Donald Trump is in the title, this really isn’t about politics.  It’s about writing about politics.  I sometimes write about writers, and Stephen King has been talking and writing about Donald Trump, and since Stephen King is a prolific writer, I think commenting about his comments is justified.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Stephen King was asked his opinion of Donald Trump.  When celebrities talk about politics, I usually cringe, but sometimes authors can do a good job because they’re better communicators than other entertainers who only sing and/or act.  Since Stephen King is a writer, I was expecting something insightful.  Instead, he said something that I thought was the opposite of insightful:

“I am very disappointed in the country. I think that he’s sort of the last stand of a sort of American male who feels like women have gotten out of their place and they’re letting in all these people that have the wrong skin colors. He speaks to those people. Trump is extremely popular because people would like to have a world where you just didn’t question that the white American was at the top of the pecking order.”

To be fair to Stephen King, he was asked the question.  It’s not like he brought it up himself, and he’s not paid to be a pundit.  On the other hand, I myself am “disappointed” (in quotes because it’s a word King himself used)  because I expect professional writers to express ideas that are more original than this.  Instead, King went directly to skin color and race.  Anybody can do that.

A fiction writer is supposed to have empathy for characters and people in general, and King’s analysis of Trump supporters shows a lack of insight into people with whom he disagrees.  A fiction writer should understand human nature.  I know a bunch of Trump supporters, and I know a bunch of Clinton supporters, and both groups are great people with different motivations for voting, and the people whom King described don’t match the Trump supporters I know.  I thought that since King is a pretty good writer, he would dig deeper than what he did.

Later in the interview, King says something else that wasn’t quite insightful.

“Of all the candidates who ran this year, the only one who is remotely qualified to do the job is Hillary Clinton. There’s a lot of prejudice against her, just because she’s a woman. Having been raised by a woman and lived in a family where my wife has, like, six sisters, I hate that.”

Again, any average person could have said what King said.  If anything, the “there’s a lot of prejudice against her, just because she’s a woman” argument might be sexist, because it uses Clinton’s gender to shield her from legitimate criticism.

Besides, if anybody should be criticized, it’s a politician.  Politicians write the laws that we (but they often don’t) have to follow, and it’s natural to dislike/distrust people who tell you what to do.  A famous writer who delves into human nature should understand all this.

As disappointing as King’s Trump/Clinton commentary was, the anti-Trump open letter last month was even worse.  First of all, open letters suck.  I’ve never seen a good open letter.  Even if an open letter has ever been good, the fact that it was an open letter made it automatically suck.

The worst part of this open letter was that every sentence started with the word because.  When I noticed that, I could barely read anything else.  Starting with because seems like a high school technique.  After the because, each sentence was filled with a bunch of adjectives and generalizations.  I’m sure Republicans could take the open letter and just switch out a few adjectives and attack Hillary Clinton the same way.

I’d even say that Donald Trump’s speeches are better written than Stephen King’s open letter.  I mean, I don’t agree with a lot of Trump’s speeches, but they were better written than the open letter.    If I were a famous author, I’d make sure any open letter I signed was better written than a Donald Trump speech.   That’s not a compliment to Trump’s campaign speeches.  That’s an insult to open letters.

If I were a famous writer (it probably won’t happen), I’d never sign my name on somebody else’s open letter.  Maybe, just maybe, I’d write one of my own, but I wouldn’t sign somebody else’s.

*****

Reading about politics almost always puts me in a grouchy mood.  As soon as I saw that Stephen King mentioned politics, I should have stopped reading.  I probably shouldn’t have written this either, but I thought maybe a famous writer would have something unique to say.  I’ve learned a valuable lesson:

Nobody looks good talking about politics.

And I probably just proved it about myself too.

From → Pop culture

7 Comments
  1. Having read one of his books, none of this was surprising to me.

  2. He is ‘curmudgeony’ and he is expressing an opinion. Doesn’t change the fact that he is both talented and successful and that the buffoon referenced is still an imminent threat. Just sayin’….

  3. I have no friends who like Trump for President and only my warehouse coworkers will be people I “know” who will do so. Signed, Robin

  4. Interesting and fair discussion

  5. My high school English teachers would beat you up side the head with an ugly stick if you started sentences with because or any prepositional phrases. So I always tried very hard not to do that, getting hit with an ugly stick can hurt. 🙂

  6. I actually thought King was being pretty honest and straightforward. The analysis was not sophisticated, of course, but to be fair it was a question asked on the spot, not one he had been asked to think about.

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  1. On Stephen King’s Comments about Donald Trump — Dysfunctional Literacy – Arteatromexperu's Weblog

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