Life in the Box: Wolffish Insights


I’m getting so many aha moments reading Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House that I wanted to share some.

First off, it’s refreshing to know that all the agony we liberals have felt this past year was planned. Our confusion and dismay was the goal, the actual intention of the administration. Literally, “let’s do everything we can to freak out the liberals.” That plan was initiated by Steve Bannon, and embodied by Mr. Trump’s actions and words.

Knowing that the plan was just to make us all feel bad, somehow that helps my brain drop all the feints and attempts to explain the logic behind it all. It wasn’t logic to begin with–it was emotion. Aha! Now I see.

Secondly, chaos is the intended outcome. Delete the status quo. Do stuff and don’t worry about laws or protocols or experts or, well, or anything. Just undo as much as possible. Simple!

I’m only seven chapters into the book, and the past year is falling into place. I’ll share more when I get done, but this has been so freeing.

For a long time, I’ve been trying to understand something else: why did people vote for this guy—an obvious flim-flam man?

One theory I’ve been toying with is that he embodies freedom—the freedom of a light bulb to glow; the freedom of flying; the freedom of winning the lottery. It’s not what he says, it’s the joy with which he says it. There’s energy there; a magnetism. And like a magnet, his energy has positives and negatives, explaining why so many are drawn to him and so many repelled.

Imagine winning the lottery. What would you do? Quit your job; take trips; buy a mountain of Godiva chocolates? The dream of the lottery is complete freedom. Unshackled existence.

That siren call of unlimited freedom is understandable. I can feel that. I love that feeling. But just like a moth to the flame and the flier without a parachute, there is a bad ending if precautions are not taken. Sorry to go all grown-up on these dreams, but laws and regulations and protocols prevent Americans from being burned and squashed like bugs.

The book confirms that the President is doing all he can to stomp out laws and regulations and protocols that protect us from the dark side. He’s doing it because it’s fun for him. Makes him feel powerful. Stomp, stomp, stomp; squish, squish, squish. Ouch! 

If the rest of Wolff’s book is as insightful as the first part, I’ll report back. One more thing: Wolff has an excruciating vocabulary. I’m so glad I got the electronic version of this book because I’m able to flip on the “Word Wise” app to get definitions.

I wrote down some of his unfathomable words: louche, calumny, ne plus one, risible, encomiums, bugbear, myrmidons, arriviste, persiflage, hortatory, Borscht belt tummler (Yiddish word for stirring up tumult), dialectical, and samizdat sharing. While I was looking stuff up, I realized that there were other words that I’ve heard, but have only known in context: shambolic, opprobrium, mendacious. And there are a few words he glued together that are understandable as Bannon descriptors: antiwonk, counterexpert.

There, I’m learning something. Take that bugbears!

Nancy Heather Brown is a retired, Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, narrating and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she enjoys learning new things and reflecting upon the creative process and life issues, both inside and outside the box. Her opinions are her own, and are not necessarily those of this web site. 

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House on Amazon   

Another new book that describes this past year in policy-unmaking:  It’s Even Worse Than You Think by David Cay Johnston