Life in the Box: Opposites in Humor


After watching coverage of the Republican debates of August 6, 2015, I started wondering why people are attracted to abrasive people like D. Trump.  Focus groups of Republican women in Iowa said, “He’s so funny!”

Okay, that made me remember that old radio clown, Rush Limbaugh, and even before him, the abusive comedian, Don Rickles.*

People laugh at them because they are not polite, or rather, because they are the opposite of polite. They get away with saying things we’d never be able to say, even if we agreed with them.

So, that got me thinking about how a cartoonist could depict Donald Trump and President Obama as opposites in a circus mirror. Every attitude they express is opposite the other. Since I’m not a cartoonist, I resorted to a chart. See below. Oh, and my sources are the same as Trump’s sources on immigration. (That’s an inside joke for those who watched the debate.**)

My other thought on the matter, other than I don’t really think Donald, Rush, or Don should be President, is that I also never thought they were funny. I know, it’s ridiculous of me to mention that.

Donald Trump Characteristic President Obama
Married three times, five children Family Values One long-term marriage, two children
Work hard, get wealthy. Work Values  Work hard, help self and others
Wants to be thought of as a billionaire.*** Wealth Values  Wants all Americans to have enough wealth.
Kindness is not important, and is a sign of weakness. Kindness  Kindness and caring are important, and are signs of strength.
Will sue anyone that doesn’t say he’s a multi-billionaire (even though he apparently isn’t.)*** Personal Integrity  Has more personal integrity than any other national leader on the planet.
Uses word-of-mouth and gut feelings about immigration. Makes stuff up. Use of facts  States sources of facts, uses factual basis for policy-making.
It’s all about being top dog, best, richest, smartest, and winning. Ego Soft-spoken, brags of other people’s accomplishments more than his own.
Don’t. Compromise Do.
Be Brash Best way to get attention  Be Intelligent and Thoughtful
Mean-ness Best way to relate to people Kindness
Angry about other people getting things for free. Attitude toward less fortunate people Willing to offer free things to those who need it.
Bankruptcy is just another way to get a good bargain. Fiscal Solvency  Appears to be solvent. I can’t find any evidence to the contrary
Doesn’t. Everyone (other than Donald) is dumb, fat, and stupid. Includes family members, some of whom are also “lazy.”*** Seeing the best in other people Looks for common ground. Accentuates the positive.
Likes to make people uncomfortable; doesn’t mind inflicting emotional pain on others by suing them, even if he knows he won’t win. *** Courtesy Likes to make people comfortable.
Narcissistic. Talking about self Self-debasing.
Avoid this Taking the high road Do this often
Be sneaky; everyone else is out to steal your thunder. Collaboration Best way to solve problems; lay your cards on the table.
Doesn’t have one. Religion Has one.
Use it for the good of self. Power Use it for the good of all.



Nancy Heather Brown is an Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she uses gems from this treasure trove of life stories to add sparkle to her reflections on the creative process both inside and outside the box. 

* Don Rickles still heckles–People Magazine article and video clip 

** Time Magazine–Includes video, “The Republican Debate in just 3 minutes”

*** More about Donald from The Atlantic magazine

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