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Colour me a fake president


TUMBY BAY - Like a lot of people, I’ve got a list of favourite websites bookmarked and neatly arranged across the top of my Google search page.

They start with PNG Attitude and progress to the right through various news sites before arriving at the Tumby Bay weather forecast.

During my usual morning digital trek through these sites I came across a particularly clear close-up image of Donald Trump.

The image brought into focus the precise boundaries of his orange ‘tan’ and the real skin colour under his eyes.

I’m not absolutely sure but it seems that the orange-ness comes out of a bottle rather than a sunlamp.

Also clearly visible was the pink skin under his thinning and obviously dyed comb-over.

There is a delicious irony in this narcissistic attempt by the American president to appear tanned, hirsute and presumably virile.

Why would someone who has trouble suppressing his innate racism want to portray himself as coloured rather than white?

He’s not alone in this of course. White people have been trying to turn themselves brown for most of the last 100 years. Maybe more.

To achieve this they risk a particularly nasty form of cancer as they lie on the beach or their back lawn coated in oil and frying in the sun.

Having a fair complexion myself, and having worked in the outdoors for most of my life, I’ve been lucky so far not to have experienced any skin melanomas.

What I do have, however, are dark sunspots on my face and paper thin skin on my arms and the backs of my hands.

A slight bump on my skin immediately produces a large purple bruise or damaged and bleeding skin.

A white person trying to turn themselves brown is not a good idea.

Indeed, baking in the sun is not smart whether you are white, black or any shade in between. After all, only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.

Maybe there’s a difference between being tanned and naturally coloured. Maybe Trump just wants to look good as an outdoorsy white man rather than turn himself into Barack Obama.

That is, after all, what those girls in flimsy bikinis and their male friends in budgie smugglers are doing at the beach.

So too, I guess, are all those orange and mahogany weight lifters you see on television.

I wonder whether people of colour lust after white porcelain skin in the same manner. Skin whitening cream is a big seller apparently. Lord knows what sort of nasty chemicals that requires.

And look at poor Michael Jackson. He must have spent millions turning himself into a white man (or woman aka Diana Ross?) and then his nose fell off.

But that last bit was the result of too much cosmetic surgery. That’s another Pandora’s Box altogether.

What it boils down to I guess is body image envy. Wanting to appear what you are not. Trying to deflect a sense of insecurity perhaps.

We had a politician in Australia with a magnificent suntan called Andrew Peacock. And a peacock he really was. He had aspirations of leadership but never quite made it.

People don’t really trust politicians with suntans and comb-overs. In Australia at least. Suntans in Australian are analogous to big bellies in PNG.

So why did Americans elect a man with a fake suntan trying to hide his balding scalp as president?

Why did they elect a fake president?


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Lindsay F Bond

Today report tells us that "US President Joe Biden has made his most forceful attack against Donald Trump since taking office while marking the January 6 anniversary."


Not only for Democrats but for the very Democracy of USA itself, the need is that POTUS Joe 'get a wriggle on'.
Hardly is it an epiphany of 2022.

Eric Schering

Keith, I was hoping you would have a neutral view toward the US president in this matter. Again I want to say that PNG Attitude should be focused on PNG, not on US or Australia.

Having said that, I disagree with your assumption about President Trump's supposed inept response to the coronavirus. His response was ten times better that any of the Democrats in the US, who thought his banning of flights to the US from China was an overreaction.

I do disagree with President Trump about his statement on 21 January or thereabouts that the coronavirus was a deception. His response on 31 January demonstrated very good leadership in banning flights from China.

If you can think of another world leader among the 175 world leaders who provided good early on leadership on this issue, please let me know. As far as I can see there was none.

South Korea, Japan and New Zealand have had very good response to the corona virus. The vast majority of nations, including European nations like Italy, Spain, France, were slow to respond and death rates were much higher.

In your leadership capacity, I encourage you to develop a more unbiased perspective towards President Trump.

Certainly an article that explores at length the skin tone of president Trump and whether he intentionally darkens his skin is totally inappropriate in a online forum that focuses on PNG.

Chris Overland

Eric Schering has made a reasonable point. It is certainly true that I and others have been scathingly critical of Donald Trump regarding his response to C19 and many other things besides.

This may have created the erroneous impression that we are conferring a free pass upon Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China.

I think that the relative silence on the CCP's initial mismanagement and subsequent cover up relating to C19 is simply because many of us expect no better of an authoritarian government whose first instinct is always to protect itself from any suggestion that it is less than omniscient and perfectly efficient.

This is especially true in China where the CCP's sole claim to political legitimacy rests upon the idea that in return for the loss of individual liberty and the absence of the genuine rule of law, as distinct from what the CCP says the law is and means at any given moment, the party will raise the population out of poverty and deprivation.

Democracy operates under different rules. The law applies to all equally and the ruling party or parties do not get to decide what it means on any given day. That is the role of the judiciary, whose independence from the interference of the executive government is sacrosanct.

The rule of law is the true bedrock of democratic society, not the mere routine of holding elections, important as that is of course.

Democratic politics is, of its very nature, imperfect, messy, noisy and fractious. Democracy tolerates and even welcomes the dissenting voice, believing that through the cacophony of differing opinions the most sensible way to govern will be found.

This is an intolerable situation to the authoritarian mind which craves stability, order and certainty at all times. It is at once authoritarianism's great strength and mortal weakness; it cannot endure criticism or any suggestion that it does not know best and so must always find ways to resist, oppress and suppress the dissenting voices.

Inevitably, this need leads to the intellectual rigidity and group think that is a hallmark of authoritarian societies.

Equally inevitably, the sheer effort and resources required to maintain any authoritarian edifice will reach breaking point, when the weight of reality brings the whole vast edifice of self deluding lies created by such states crashing down.

The USSR is the architype example of this, at least in recent times. The collapse of the Tsarist regime in 1917 is another example and, in a Chinese context, the demise of its ancient imperial regime yet another.

With this as background, what I say to Eric is that those of us on PNG Attitude who are so critical of Donald Trump and his fellow travellers have very good reasons for thinking that he is a terrible President and, in may important respects, a profoundly flawed and even dangerous human being.

He is plainly an instinctive authoritarian, who cannot endure personal criticism without both denying any fault and belligerently attacking his critics. He is patently unsuited to the great office he holds and his incompetent handling of the C19 pandemic has cost many thousands of Americans their lives.

That said, Trump is not solely responsible for the debacle. C19 has revealed many deep socio-economic and political fissures in American society. Quite how they deal with those in the future is unclear but Trump certainly has no intellectual or emotional capacity to lead that process and his Democratic party opponents look hardly better.

As to the relevance of all this to PNG, all I can say is that its people have to live in this world as comparatively helpless spectators to all that is happening. They are too poor, too isolated and too badly governed (perhaps until recently anyway) to be able to influence what happens.

What I have briefly mentioned here is as profoundly relevant to their future lives as it is to ours. They too will have a series of choices to make when (or if) human societies find a way to at least contain or manage this newest addition to the pantheon of lethal communicable diseases.

Given that so many Papua New Guineans have been disempowered and marginalised by corrupt and incompetent governance, those of us who know and care about the country and its people can and should speak out on their behalf, as well as offer support to their dissenting voices. That is what friends do.

I and others would welcome dissenting views on PNG Attitude, so go your hardest. The regular contributors do not claim a mortgage on wisdom or insight: only Donald Trump has claimed to be a stable genius, gifted with a special insight denied to the rest of us.

Sadly for democracy, people like Recep Erdogan in Turkey, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and a few of the usual suspects in Eastern Europe are apparently making similar claims.

In that sense, too many notionally democratic leaders are really just a fellow traveller with the CCP, although many members of the CCP are too smart to seriously believe in their supposed infallibility.

Lindsay F Bond

Thank you Eric for bringing your sense of balance (assuming you are not merely tipping to another slide.)

Yet permit a toss to coiffure and keratinocytes that prompted Phil to write as if fake.

By the way, readers may be aware that “keratinocytes … shed approximately every two weeks”.
which may or may not be as accurate as advertisers promulgate, but serves to bring light to the length of tenure any office holder is permitted.

On another topic, there may be opportunity to zero in on a partying in China.

Phil for the present has focus on that other national leader who for “good or ill” (as folk of yore were inclined to say), dramatizes to a nation the notion of ‘fake’ as resident.

Eric Schering

PNG Attitude is purported to be an online information and opinion news source for matters in Papua New Guinea.

Why is such time and space being allotted for one of the primary Keith Jackson and Friends writers, who clearly has a hatred for the US president, to be criticising president Donald Trump. An obvious lack of thought has gone into this piece.

If you want to trash a world leader, what about president Xi, who allowed the corona virus to be studied in a Wuhan lab, poorly supervised.

Then when the deadly virus emerges and people begin to die, President Xi doesn' t allow Wuhan people to travel to other provinces in China or vice versa, but he does allow Wuhan people to travel to the rest of the world and spread the deadly virus so that we now have 180,000 dead people because of the corona virus!

Hi Eric - If you want to read propaganda about the inept efforts of Trump to protect the American people, and his attempts to deflect blame on others, there are plenty of other websites that might satisfy you. The current mismanaged spread of coronavirus throughout the US is an existential threat to the whole world - KJ

Chris Overland

Trump is a reality television version of a President.

He lacks the intelligence, knowledge, experience and, most especially, the judgement to do anything but attempt to produce a facsimile of what he imagines a President to be.

The major qualification for the office that he holds is that he pretended to be a bold, thrusting and very successful real estate mogul on a reality television program and apparently entertained people with his performance. He is, in fact, none of the things he pretends to be.

His attachment to a fake tan and a hair style once described as a bleached dead raccoon are testimony to both his vanity and need for artifice to appear to be something he is not.

Even his facial expressions are rarely a genuine reflection of his inner world: they are faces he has learnt to pull in order to appear to have qualities like empathy, understanding and a sense of humour.

His only genuine expressions of feelings are when he displays anger or resentment or frustration.

He is sociopathic, unable to effectively comprehend or respond to the emotional or intellectual context within which he interacts with others. He is driven by his needs alone: nothing else matters.

All that said, he has found a way to secure the support of millions of people by repeating back to them their own fears, prejudices and hopes.

This talent, if you can call it that, has been enough.

The true shame lies upon those who have backed him and his posturing and continue to do so.

Bernard Corden

Andrew Leigh is also hosting an event on behalf of Fabians Australia this Friday 24/04/2020: ‘How COVID-19 will Affect the Progressive Vision for Australia’s Future’

The big skeleton in the Fabians closet is eugenics:

Geoff Hancock

In Asia women protect themselves from the sun with parasols for aesthetic purposes as pale skin is sort-after.

Paul Oates

'Further fields are always greener'. So goes the old adage. When I first went to PNG it was with the knowledge that most women I knew had 'perms' and other treatments to make their straight hair curly and coloured.

I then saw PNG women using large curlers to straighten their own hair.

Now I see many people of both sexes cutting and dying their hair in many colours and styles.

When I recently visited the barber before the current lock down and isolation, he asked me what I wanted done. When I said a haircut, he asked 'Certainly Sir, which one?'

Bernard Corden

This reminds me of that wonderful old joke:

Q. What do Michael Jackson and Aussie Joe Bugner have in common?

A. They both wear gloves for no apparent reason.

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