The Anticlimactic Destination
A week after the Clemson Tigers routed the vaunted and usually dominant Alabama football team, the new champions visited the White House to receive their congratulations from the President. Due to the longest government shutdown in history, a fraction of the White House staff has been furloughed; the cooks are gone. President Trump reportedly opened his wallet to pay for the celebratory dinner — a comical and almost sad collection of fast food items, individually wrapped or contained within paper or cardboard, suffused across long tables and resting above silver platters. The spread was a buffet of food going cold, a feast of cheap grub. The dichotomy between the grandeur of the White House and the stacked Quarter Pounders is nothing short of modern art. However, the proximity of the outside world and the opulence of the President’s home is worthy of observation and measured disapproval.
The images from the event are hilarious and impossible. Upon first glance, they look like memes, altered photos. They tell of a story that is easily conceivable in a parallel universe.
When you think you’ve seen it all, you discover you have not. Anything is possible. These photos inspire a range of emotions, an inexplicable ambivalence and a number of questions. (The portrait that hangs in the dining room, over the mantel, is one of Abraham Lincoln. He’s positioned in a chair, leaning forward with his chin held in his right hand — perhaps deep in thought or bewildered like the rest of us.) However the photographs make you feel, the undeniable truth is obvious. Yet again, the President made this presentation and story about himself. This event was supposed to highlight the achievement reached by the Clemson Tigers. (The impressive team went 15–0…all for tepid fare.) Instead, the event was self-serving, insincere, and theatrical. The president has previously expressed his fondness for fast food. And this occasion displayed a President requiring comfort food in times of peril. It’s not difficult to imagine that he took a cup of fries with him upon retiring to his quarters upstairs.