Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Anti-Trump Book Channels Farcical Faulkner

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The latest fake news to come after President Donald Trump is a book by his Hillary Clinton-supporting niece, Mary L. Trump, to be released on July 14. It should be sold as fiction because it apparently channels the made-up Compson family of William Faulkner’s novels.

The Washington Post reported that the initial listing of this book concealed Mary Trump’s name by saying it was written by Mary “Compson,” and Mary even used the name “Compson Enterprises” for the company she created. The Post also found that as a student Mary was engrossed in Faulkner’s novels, which portray the Compson family as having immigrated from Scotland just as Trump’s mother did.

William Faulkner was a liberal icon imposed on many of us in high school and college, despite how few students could make sense of his stream-of-consciousness writings. Faulkner was an obscure writer until he was put on the map by a surprise award of the Nobel Prize for Literature, an honor never bestowed on conservatives.

Faulkner wrote novels about the rural South, often in stereotypical language that would be considered offensive today. His fictional characters frequently used the N-word, and if the Left were consistent about tearing down monuments they would be demanding expulsion of Faulkner from schools, too.

The liberal-controlled Pulitzer Prizes honored him not just once but twice for his writings, and he doubly won the prestigious National Book Award, too. Like other favored liberal authors of the last century, Faulkner has been a mainstay of the academic elite who are not anxious to admit their errors.

Princeton University recently scrubbed the name of Woodrow Wilson from its campus buildings and programs, even though Wilson had been Princeton’s president before being elected twice as president of the United States. But English departments are notably more liberal and less willing to drop sacred cows like Faulkner down the memory hole.

Unless the author is Shakespeare, of course, who has been a target of the cultural destroyers for years. Or the movie Gone With the Wind, which is being censored despite never using the N-word which Faulkner used so copiously.

Faulkner’s favorite fictional family, the Compsons, was as dysfunctional as imaginable. As the leftwing Daily Beast observed, the Compsons were “a clan plagued by alcoholism, depression, suicide, hypochondria, teen-age pregnancy, and incestuous urges.”

Few Faulkner readers would take the Compson name and adopt it as their own, or draw inspiration from such fiction to smear a president of the United States. But there is big money to be made in fake news, particularly when the presidential election is less than four months away.

Mary L. Trump had been publicly silent about our president throughout his tenure in office, and her book appears timed to exploit the publicity of her uncle’s reelection campaign. It is hardly credible that all of a sudden this disgruntled family member, long estranged from Donald, has something fair to say about him.

The book complains that her grandfather Fred Trump Sr. shouted in front of employees that “Donald is worth ten of” her own father, Fred Jr. It is hardly Donald’s fault if his father spoke of him more highly than his older brother, and no one doubts that Donald was more successful in continuing his father’s real estate business.

Mary L. Trump, a psychologist in New York City, is as biased a relative as anyone could be. She felt shortchanged by a family property settlement after bitter litigation, and she is politically opposed to Trump, too.

Mary’s father Fred Jr. died from an alcohol-related heart attack after becoming an airline pilot. Donald Trump has frequently spoken graciously of Mary’s father in a caring and sympathetic way, while noting that his brother’s tragic fate motivated Donald not to drink alcohol.

While Trump has spoken highly of his relatives, including Mary’s father, the media desperately gives a platform to those who want to criticize our president. The media’s promotion of a fiction-based book by a disgruntled relative is beyond the pale.

This was a bit much even for the Daily Beast, a website that has long been opposed to Donald Trump. That website wondered about this book on Trump as written by someone who apparently views herself and her famous relatives to be characters in a work of fiction.

Why not simply read Faulkner’s famous novel itself, if you have time to waste, instead of trying to retrofit Faulkner’s fiction into the life of President Trump? the Daily Beast implied. On that point many can agree.

But then, nothing about President Trump fits the “Southern Gothic” narrative of a Faulkner novel. Trump grew up in multicultural Queens, made his mark as a builder in diverse New York City, and his approval rating among black voters has been comparable to that of other Republican presidents.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

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