Trump Also Ruins Famous Passages From Novels

America’s Lowlife-in-Chief Donald Trump is notorious for his lies, cruelty, racism, corruption, cowardice, laziness, hypocrisy, narcissism, sexual predation, and more — all of which is praised or tolerated by his far-right Republican enablers in Congress, at Fox “News,” and elsewhere. He’s changed so many things for the worse that I’m sorry to say famous literary passages can also be affected. Read ’em and weep:

“Call me icky male” — if he ever honestly analyzed himself, Trump would adapt the first line of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick this way.

“It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times” — Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities phrase made relevant to what the current White House occupant has made our era become.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a cad in possession of an inherited fortune must be in want of a porn star” — changing the first line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to make it about Trump.

“So it goads” — three words, inspired by the “So it goes” catchphrase in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, that describe every sentence that comes out of Trump’s mouth.

“You are the worst thing” — how billions of people feel about Trump, with apologies to the “You are your best thing” quote from Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

“Whatever are souls are made of, his and ours are despicably the same” — Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and other heartless Republicans comparing themselves to Trump in a rare candid moment inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights line.

“It was times like these when I thought Trump, who got multiple deferments from the Vietnam War despite excellent health, was the most cowardly man who ever lived” — an updated quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

“For you, a thousand times more” — Trump channeling Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner as his regressive tax law puts lots of not-needed extra money into the pockets of millionaires and billionaires.

“Wealthy families are all alike in raking it in; every non-rich family is getting less rich in its own way” — that tax law again, through the lens of a misquoted passage from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

“So we beat on, rubber duckies against the current, borne back ceaselessly to the countries our parents fled” — a version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final Great Gatsby line alluding to Trump’s repugnant anti-immigrant policies that include deporting kids.

“There was no possibility of taking a walk ANY day” — the first line of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre changed to reflect just how physically unfit Trump is.

“In the souls of the people hurt by far-right Republicans, the grapes of wrath are growing heavy, heavy for the vintage” — with apologies to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

Any revised-for-the-Trump-era literary passages you’d like to offer?

My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for The latest weekly piece — in which I mention a controversial redevelopment for only the billionth time this year πŸ™‚ — is here.

63 thoughts on “Trump Also Ruins Famous Passages From Novels

  1. Last night I dreamt I went to Mar-a-Lago again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited. No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it; it was narrow and unkempt, not the drive that we had known. At first I was puzzled and did not understand, and it was only when I bent my head to avoid the low swinging branch of a tree that I realized what had happened. Mueller!!!!

    Apologies to du Maurier’s “Rebecca”, (though in fairness I changed but one word, and added but one other), and a shout-out to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love it, jhNY! Just those slight tweaks were enough — including the power and excitement of the last (hopefully) fateful word you inserted. πŸ™‚

      Daphne du Maurier could really write, couldn’t she? A great author — and, unlike Trump, she didn’t need a ghostwriter.


      • Her grand-daddy was likewise a literary force of real influence– I’ve got the copy of “Trilby” my father , age 9, gave his mother for Christmas in 1935– it was a used book even then, which only proves for at least 3 generations we’ve haunted the second-hand book places (her husband and she late in life ran a second-hand bookstore, as did my father, before he went on to collect books by the yard for his field of study), and the habit starts early!

        I am also fond of John Barrymore’s 1931 portrayal of Svengali in the movie bearing the name, as it’s entirely over the top and camp and fab.

        Yes, she could write, and beautifully!

        ps I first was intent to parody the opening paragraph of “A Farewell to Arms”, remembering fondly the dust on the leaves and the troops and the road (and hoping I might turn it into a description of the Women’s March January 2017), but upon rereading it, I felt I would be attempting a parody of a parody of Gertrude Stein!

        Liked by 1 person

        • George du Maurier! Who, as you know, was a cartoonist, too. And I love the three-generational nature of your family’s second-hand-bookstore prowling!

          Speaking of Hemingway parodies, sometimes Hemingway was a parody of himself. πŸ™‚


    • Hey jhNY, Loved your comment and I was also thinking about the du Maurier quote, but instead went to the Africa one instead. But I have two words for you from last week’s blog: “The Chill” (am I correct?).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 1) I just walked into a room where I have a tote bag, with a quote on it from Austen’s P&P: “I am excessively diverted,” which I will turn into, “I am excessively disgusted” when it comes to Trump.

    2) On a much more somber note, I just heard the news of Aretha Franklin’s death. What a wonderful talent! I think one of the best was from the very brief clip of her life when she was appearing in the Kennedy Center Honors, and she was one to celebrate Carole King, another great songwriter/singer. When she sat at a piano and started playing and singing King’s “A Natural Woman,” King was visibly shaking and crying — what a great moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great version of the “Pride and Prejudice” quote, Kat Lib! I think Jane Austen, if alive today, would have had a field day skewering someone like Trump. No sense and no sensibility…

      Very sad to hear this morning about Aretha Franklin’s death. She WAS an incredible talent. That voice! I’ve seen the clip of her singing “Natural Woman,” with Carole King’s intense reaction. Memorable.


      • I had occasion in the 90’s to attempt a bit of work on her behalf. I cannot express what a thrill it was to have the opportunity to serve The Queen, though sadly, what she needed done was impossible: she wanted backing tracks of some of her early hits, but there were none made during the original sessions, and no way to remove her vocals from the rest of the music on the final mix tapes, especially as she was then in the habit of coming in with little notice to the recording studio, sitting down at the piano, singing and playing at the same time, and leaving after a few takes.

        Either she had it that day, or she didn’t, I guess. Trouble is, often the vocal mic picked up the piano, the piano mics picked up the vocal, and both picked up a little of the backing band. Even if the original multi-tracks had been preserved, and in many cases they were, it would have proved impossible to make a clean backing track without some audible trace of her original vocal.

        Strange to say, but after all her years in the studio, I was never sure she ever really focused on the recording process, or its limitations. She seemed surprised that removing the vocals from a mix was more or less impossible. Mind you, I never spoke to her directly, but was working at the instruction of her producer, another legend. It was he who told me about her surprising surprise…

        Liked by 1 person

        • jhNY, a really interesting one-degree-of-separation memory of Aretha Franklin. Thank you! I guess performers (and non-performers) can be great at one thing or several things but not great at everything.


          • (I think my life story can largely be described as Zelig-like, with one degree of separation being the rule, not the exception.)

            I hope, among all the deserved accolades she receives today, that what is not lost are Aretha Franklin’s long-standing associations with the civil rights movement, most especially with Martin Luther King, who was a friend of her father, the Reverend CL Franklin. King often stayed at the Franklin home when he was in Detroit, and the elder Franklin and King marched together in Detroit in 1963’s Walk to Freedom. Not coincidentally, and to me a bit amazing: CL Franklin’s parents were sharecroppers in Mississippi. That’s a far piece to travel in 3 generations!

            Sadly, CL Franklin was left in a coma after what appeared to be an attempted robbery in 1979, and lived for years after, in the family home, cared for by his family, without ever regaining consciousness. he died in 1984.

            Another of her contributions to the movement; one I’d count as being invaluable and healing: her recording of Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand, written by Ashford and Simpson.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well, Zelig was famous in a way. πŸ™‚

              Very glad you mentioned Aretha Franklin’s involvement in the civil rights movement. She was courageous in that way, because it could have hurt her career. And, yes, that was quite a three-generational jump you mentioned!


              • After watching the coverage of her life on MSNBC today, I’ll have to say that much of it had to do with her civil rights work, especially by her friend the Rev. Al Sharpton.

                Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure this is exactly right, but I got kudos from my junior high school English high school teacher who assigned my class to come up with a satire. What I came up with was Miniver Cheaply from Miniver Cheevy. That’s all I remember but my teacher thought that was really good and I was the only one to get it. I can’t remember if that was the entire title of the poem, but I’d love to know if you would tell me if I was correct or if I remembered it wrong. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kat Lib, I had actually never heard of the “Miniver Cheevy” poem before seeing your comment! But “Miniver Cheaply” is VERY clever. And though you came up with that title change years ago, it does apply to Trump because he’s notoriously cheap in some ways — like when paying workers, using charity money for himself, etc.


      • Just as an aside, Miniver Cheevy was penned by Edwin A. Robinson (didn’t someone on this blog mention him recently?). He also wrote the poem “Richard Cory” that was put to music by Paul Simon, which appeared on their “The Sound of Silence” album. I wonder if that was where I first became aware of “Miniver Cheevy”? But, yes Dave, I didn’t realize how much he exemplified the moniker I gave him in my take on that poem!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lee Child β€œ Never Go Back β€œ, none of the past Presidents will ever step in there as long as trump holds the office.

    Oh btw Omarosa is getting her fifteen minutes fame , going from network to network today even in PBS news. Rumor, she has tapes of Jarvanka..oh my πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, I like that “Never Go Back” reference, bebe! Yes, Carter, the two Bushes, Clinton, and Obama would have little interest in visiting the White House while the Devil-in-Chief is there.

      If more of those tapes Omarosa has or knows about are released, I don’t care if she gets 30 minutes or even 45 minutes of fame… πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don`t either Dave, the title of her book is ” Unhinged” , perfect title of trump !

        Our library manager came back from her couple of weeks trip from France, London, Rome and she says people thinks we are ” idiots”.
        So I say to her I requested the book, she tells me..oh no..” I can`t stand her”, another librarian tells me the same.

        Let`s see who can un-glue that Lowlife-in-Chief Donald Trump.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for the link, bebe! It’s a really good column by a really good columnist.

          And I know what you mean about how people in other countries think the U.S. is nuts for voting in Trump. (I certainly heard some of that when I was in France this spring.) Fortunately, many non-Americans realize Trump was elected by a minority of voters and that a clear majority of Americans despise the guy. But, still, it doesn’t say anything positive about the U.S. when 30% of the population (or whatever the number is) supports a person as truly evil as Trump.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. A painfully observant column, Dave, the kind of creativity that causes a degree of discomfort and a shifting in one’s seat.

    Here’s my contribution: “Fat, dumpy Buck Trumpagain came from the escalator, bearing a bowl of bullsh*t on which a senator and a congressman lay crossed.”

    β€”Ulysses by James Joyce

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, we all know Rump does not read save his crude, simplistic, sophomoric “tweets” or a newspaper byline, so its not worth it, in my opinion, to equate literary text to him in any way. He is not deserving of the Presidency. I can put in writing he is reprehensible and vile on a myriad of levels which can equate to characters in literature like Ebenezer Scrooge (before redemption that is.) Not sure if Rump can ever be redeemed. He just does not CARE about anyone else but himself. Equate him to narcissists in literature, for sure. The Picture of Dorian Gray comes to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point, Michele! The idea of literature and the willfully ignorant Trump having any connection is definitely far-fetched. But I wanted to vent about Trump somehow, and I write a literature blog, so… πŸ™‚

      And, yes, Scrooge is Trump-like until his redemption, but I agree there is no chance for redemption for Trump. Even Satan would have enough standards to kick Donald out of Hell.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bran thought about it. “Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”

    “That is the only time a man can be brave,” his father told him. “Unfortunately, Trump hasn’t learned that lesson.”

    With apologies to George RR Martin and Ned Stark.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great and profound, Elena.

      Yes, Trump is afraid and not brave — with one example being the way he afflicts the afflicted and comforts the comfortable. He doesn’t have the guts, doesn’t have the interest, and is too greedy himself to take on the rich and powerful.

      As he pecks out malicious tweets on his mobile device, for him it’s a “Game of Phones.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Paula! I know what you mean — the many millions of people disgusted with Trump might go crazy without trying to laugh once in a while.

      And, speaking of laughing, one of Trump’s countless faults is not having a sense of humor.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “The fault, dear Trumpian, is not in your stars, / But in yourselves, that you voted for this exceedingly inferior candidate.”
    With apologies to Shakespeare, “Julius Caesar,” which of course is a play, not a novel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Excellent, Kat Lib! Thank you!

      Plays are literature, so this definitely works. πŸ™‚ Plus there’s John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” novel (which you recommended to me a while back and I found very moving).


      • Yes, Clairdelune, the non-rich among Trump’s supporters are SO gullible. They’re getting totally harmed by his awful policies. But I guess many of them share his virulent racism, so there’s that connection… 😦


        • I changed around some of his quotes: “I Dreamed of that S***hole country of Africa.” (I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallman); and
          “My favorite book is the Bible, and my favorite passage comes from Two Corinthians.”

          It’s amazing to me that we have such an illiterate sitting president! I was just watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and he said that apparently Trump wanted to take his oath of office using “The Art of the Deal,” rather than the Bible. And he didn’t even write the former, his ghostwriter did!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kat Lib, a brilliant riff on “I Dreamed of Africa”!

            It IS incredible that we have such an ignorant president — and what makes it worse is that he revels in his ignorance and doesn’t try to improve himself. If Trump didn’t have an ultra-rich father, he would never have had any kind of decent career.

            As you know, not only did Trump not write “The Art of the Deal,” but the ghostwriter despises him.


            • Yes, but did you not know that Trump is the smartest person in the world, at least according to him! And that he went to the best schools, knows the best people, and on and on again! I don’t know how to describe him any more — he’s such a narcissist, but that seems like it doesn’t even come close to describing him because he is so despicable.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Ha, Kat Lib! Yes, that’s Trump — brimming with self-confidence when there’s no decency or skill to be confident about.

                I agree — it’s hard to find adjectives to describe how truly awful he is. “Worst human on the planet” might come closest for me…


                • He is not the worst human being on the planet, given its vastness and the opportunity it affords to be no darn good, but he’s certainly the worst one we talk about!

                  OTOH, the Chinese regime under Xi Jinping has 1,000,000 people imprisoned as we speak.

                  Liked by 1 person

  9. Dave, I liked all your comments! πŸ˜›
    Your “edited” comments elicited a combination of giggles, exclamations of “right on!” and heartfelt curses.
    I always enjoy reading your column, but have had little time to join in due to a combination of too much urgent work, computer troubles and – siggghh – a natural slowing down, both physical and mental… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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