When my children ask me if there was anything good about the Trump Presidency, I will look off into the middle distance, cough, and say “Well, sometimes, he did some shit so stupid that it was really very transcendent, like touching the finger of a kind of primal God of stupid things.”
Due to a confluence of events—primarily, a segment of the population electing as President of the United States a person unfit for office in even McDonaldland, and that person then engineering the longest government shutdown in United States history—when Clemson Coach and weird evangelical Dabo Swinney brought his players to the White House last night to celebrate their national championship win over Alabama, they were treated to a feast of fast food. Wendy’s and MacDonald’s. Not even Taco Bell. It’s… it’s beautiful.
And he was so proud of his half-cocked idea! “It’s good stuff, great American food.” He OPENLY SPECULATES about how much food will be left, after he has done his work feeding the hungry big boys!
The thing about Donald Trump is that, without fail, he will stroll right into wild exaggerations of American sins and lay them bare for anyone who wants to see. Our collective mistrust of people of color becomes a big stupid wall that literally shuts down the fucking government. Our inability to hold powerful, hypocritical men to account gets a Heritage Foundation freak onto the Supreme Court even though he was being credibly accused of sexual assault. Our incompetent disaster response in Puerto Rico becomes the president doing paper towel set shots into a crowd of needy people. Displays of hubris and bad planning that expose the pure malice that lives deep in the American heart.
And here, in offering LITERALLY THE CHEAPEST HOT FOOD HE POSSIBLY COULD to these players who have just beaten the most dominant football program of their generation, DJT has inadvertently given us the ultimate metaphor for the sham of amateurism. An entire economic system is built on these kids' backs, one that lines the pockets of networks, conferences, advertisers, administrators, coaches—Dabo made over $6 million this year in salary, along with nearly another million in bonuses for his run to the championship—and due to a series of convenient self assessments and ideas about itself, the kids get practically NONE of it.
They are, instead, offered the Big Mac of economic compensation: a scholarship and a marginal living stipend. If anyone suggests that they might want something more substantial out of the NCAA—a BETTER hamburger, maybe some seafood, the amount of money they’re actually worth, insurance against the personal risk they assume because the NCAA and NFL have conspired to force them into deferring their professional careers to keep both college and pro football profitable for the people who don't play it—they are castigated for their greed and told to appreciate what they got. Hell, someone might even tell you, these athletes actually DON’T want money, because they also believe all the stuff we've been told about this sys—
Look this might be unfair to Iron Nate, who wasn’t the only person peddling this take, but you have to admire how easily media class types were willing to forge a perfect narrative to carry on my flimsy think-piece metaphor. These college students have had non-shitty food before! They probably really enjoy it! I suspect that if you hit the pavement and asked if kids occasionally eat at not-fucking-McDonald's they would say so. And, while you were chatting, if you were to also ask them if they'd like to be paid in relation to the VALUE THEY PRODUCE for everyone else in college football, I further suspect they would also say they'd really enjoy that!
But instead of being paid, they have to eat fucking Fillet-O-Fishes with an idiot freak while he tells them about whatever stray shit got thrown into his addled brain while he was watching TV earlier that day because their coach needs the prestige of a White House visit on top of his absurd payday and Trump needs the prestige of sunbathing in association with their accomplishments.
It’s monumentally stupid, every vice of the hell world of college sports laid bare, but in an image of Trump sitting there looking at a White House staffer in formal duds, lighting the fanciest fucking heating lamp you've ever seen to glow over hundreds of fast food sandwiches, it achieves its full bloom. It's a perfect display of the truth of the nightmare treadmill these kids get thrown on year after year, decade after decade. In this way, Trump’s stewardship is really valuable: he provides the nutrient rich horseshit that fertilizes the stupid ass root and creates a beautiful, truthful flower that smells like farts. You gotta hand it to him.