In which Jason Mallory and The Tusk‘s Nate Waggoner review Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” which is said to be Donald Trump’s favorite song
Nate, according to this article in the New York Times, Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” is Donald Trump’s favorite song.
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and inspired by Thomas Mann’s short story “Enttäuschung,” “Is That All There Is?” touches on themes of disillusionment and a lack of meaning in life.
Which I’m sure would be very interesting to the Russian prostitutes at the Moscow Ritz Carlton who are like, “Nyet! Not this song AGAIN, Donald!” as Donald turns up the speakers on his unsecured Android phone, ballroom dancing with one Russian prostitute while yelling at the other to “KEEP PEEING, DUM-DUM!”
Too bad for Trump Peggy Lee never recorded a song called, “Keep Peeing, Dum-Dum!” because he doesn’t deserve to enjoy a song as poignant and thoughtful as this.
So Lieber and Stoller also wrote “Hound Dog,” “Kansas City,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Stand by Me,” and a ton of others. Phil Spector was their intern. I think they were gay, also. So they have a few more things in common with Trump besides the overall sensibility towards life that “Is That All There Is” betrays: they would have hated Mike Pence, just like he does. They had unsavory characters at their command.
A lot of this song speaks in a very on-the-nose way to stuff we already know about the President: tendency to “watch the world go up in flames,” daddy issues, and the refrain speaks simultaneously to an insatiability and a Bukowski-ish inability to see the beauty, wonder and horror in that which others are taken aback by. Lee also says that if that’s all there is, let’s break out the booze– Trump does not drink. If that’s all there is, then there’s no real pleasure in life but a little bit of booze– and there’s no real pleasure in life.
Nate, there was an interesting piece on All Things Considered this morning about how everyone on Trump’s team hates each other, and they’re always leaking stuff to the press and arguing and saying mean things to each other, except for the boy angel Mike Pence, of course—everyone pinches his cheeks every morning when they hang their coats in the White House foyer. “Howya doin, Mikey??” they cry, hanging their winter coats and warming their hands by the fire of the Constitution.
Even Pope Francis Skypes an air kiss every morning to Mike Pence before stopping to scowl at Trump when Trump walks into his field of vision. “Nessun diavolo! Uscire dalla mia skype!” the Pope yells in Italian, which translates to: “No devil! get out of my Skype!”
Then Trump starts to unbutton his pants, chuckling to himself: “Oh, you on Chatroulette again, Pence? I’ve got something for them to chat about!”
Anyway, looks like ol’ Mike Pence just rushed down to Capitol Hill to make a tie-breaking vote to confirm the massively unqualified Betsy DeVos as Education secretary so maybe don’t pat him on the head when you see him? Like give him a little scowl or something?
Remember a couple years ago, that AIDS outbreak in Indiana? Imagine hearing about that and knowing that pretty soon you’ll be thinking, “Once the current President inevitably gets impeached for God-knows-what, then that Indiana AIDS governor will be President and we’ll at least be not nearly as close to the brink of nuclear annihilation every day. I can’t wait for the AIDS guy to be President.” It’s like if you were forced to work for a company where the Vice President was Martin Shkreli, and the President was some kind of Hydra-Shkreli, with ten Shkreli heads smirking away, listening to ten secret Wu-Tang albums at once. That’s 360 chambers!
Do you think the O.D.B., RZA, Raekwon the Chef, et al. would appreciate a fire, a circus, love, with a sense of mindfulness and fear, or would they dismiss these things as insignificant? The blaze, the mighty roar, their father’s protection of them from it (I say father, singular, because I imagine the Wu-Tang Clan being raised by one guardian like Alvin and the Chipmunks)? The death-defying skill of the acrobats, their years of tireless practice, the noble and incredibly powerful elephants reduced to undignified mammoth clowns? Infatuation, heartbreak, the propelling force behind so much art, so much death in this world– do these affect the Shaolin Warriors, give them pause, or are they, too, dead to the emotional force of the spectacular in their pursuit of success? Is that all there to the ruckus?
Sorry, Nate but while we were writing this, Mitch McConnell interrupted Sen. Elizabeth Warren as she read Coretta Scott King’s heartfelt and thoughtful letter opposing Jeff Sessions and forbade her from speaking during the remainder of the debate on the nomination of Sessions. To be fair, Republicans thought Warren was reading the incantation to banish Jeff Sessions back into the Hellmouth. Very rude, in my opinion!! I guess Trump is our “Big Bad” this season.
At the rate the Republicans are going, who knows what the fuck else will have happened by the time this gets published, Nate?! Unless we publish this in the next five minutes, there’s no way we can keep up with the toxic series of events gushing out of Washington like a Nerf Super Soaker filled with liquid racism!
So I guess if we can’t up, Nate, then let’s keep dancing?! I mean, if that’s all there is?
:: lights dim, a spotlight comes up on stage, illuminating Nate in a glittery dress as a candelabra descends and someone offstage passes him a mic ::
NATE (to the tune of “Is That All There Is?”)
When I was twenty-nine years old, the candidate I voted for in the Presidential election decided her strategy to win was going to involve turning away Wisconsinite grandmothers who wanted to canvas for her,
And getting Gloria Steinem to imply that young female voters only wanted healthcare and a college education so they could take socialists to the sock hop and lover’s lane
So a guy who people only really knew as a fictionalized TV version of himself won instead,
Even though in real life he was a guy who liked to molest women and hold hate rallies
Where people beat the shit out of each other and threw each other out into the cold without a jacket,
And now a swastika-adorned bucket of the stuff that comes out when you clean out the fryalator at the end of the shift is going to run national security,
With the bucket’s only previous experience being the editor of racism dot biz,
And all educators are going to be replaced with sinister door-to-door Bible salesmen,
And the President is bumbling around in the dark in a bathrobe and bellowing furiously because they had a woman play Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live,
And he thinks the joke is that Spicer is weak like puny woman
And Frederick Douglass has been doing a terrific job, and people are noticing it more and more
And more and more, people are noticing the terrific job Frederick Douglass has done
And the job Frederick Douglass has done is noticeably terrific
And I thought, is that all there is to a coup?
But of course it’s not. Of course there’s always more.