The art of ruthality

Whatever their other differences, their fundamental message is the same.

Trump and Clinton (photo credit: REUTERS)
Trump and Clinton
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Sometimes, you just gotta be ruthless.
I know. Over the last few days, with consummate ruthality (an evocative neologism; you read it here first), I have unfriended, unsubscribed, unlisted, deleted, blocked and otherwise cast into outer darkness almost all the obnoxious, offensive, obscene predators/ pontificators/ prevaricators and dümmste who have cluttered my cyber life. And now I’m down to the final two: the most obnoxious, offensive, obscene, predatory, pontificating, prevaricating dümmste of them all.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
And yet, I hesitate – if only because, in the current titanic struggle between the banality of evil and the evil of banality (Who’s which? Take your pick) I feel compelled to remain, as the media so self-righteously call it, an “informed consumer of news.”
News, as we all know, being an acronym standing for: Nasty, Erroneous, Wicked and Silly.
When my cyber-purge began, I adopted a simple template. Quantity? Too much. Quality? Too little.
Gone. I quickly discovered that these failures clustered just about everywhere.
Anybody who habitually confused swearing with thinking: gone.
Anybody who habitually posted or shared treacly exhortations to love yourself, demand that others love you unconditionally, practice random acts of self-righteousness, live as though today were your first or last day (How would you get anything done?) – gone.
All those “world’s most adorable animals” junkies, gone, except for the guy who sent me the photo of a dog sled pulled by eight dachshunds, above the caption, “Why Germany Will Never Win the Iditarod.”
Anything resembling pornography or dating services, even that Russian email whose subject line Google-translated, “Flexible Girl Alert.” Gone.
Also, joyously, the voluminous Sunday packets of Bible Study, FFT (Food for Thought) and “Humorisms” sent by a Messianic Jew my wife met 20 years ago at the Fort Myer officers club and who’s been trying to redeem us ever since. Gone.
Then, on to the banishment of commercial blandishment. I started with an Israeli company that fired my wife when she asked for a raise but kept sending me their really well-done (my wife did them) ads and VSLs. Then I scattered the electrons of all those “educational” offers. Do I want to go to Israel to study in English before starting/ finishing college? Check back when I’m 18 again. Nor have I any interest in those allegedly inter-disciplinary programs. An MBA in mystical finance? No, thanks. Just trying to interpret my bills and bank statements provides sufficient mystification.
And then, getting out of that Twitter network I never joined, with its tweets by people I don’t know. And who exactly is this Naftali Bennett guy? Then, finally, I dis-enrolled from those LinkedIn writers’ groups I never joined. “I want a million- dollar book advance. How do I get one?” Figure it out yourself.
But then, just when I thought it was safe to go back into the cyber-universe, I began to scan the daily offerings of the candidates.
Whatever their other differences, their fundamental message is the same.
Send money.
Mrs. Clinton, it appears, has yet to settle on her “Gimme Gimme Gimme” strategy. First, I got a letter telling me that she was “infuriated” by people who think she can win without their support.
Hillary is p.o’d – send money.
A few days later, I got an official-looking “account statement” filled with zeros.
Is she going to sue me or what? Then came a notice with the subject line “For the Final Time.”
I did not contribute, and now she talks about how proud she is and about her “wonderful family” and asks, plaintively, “May I Count on You?” And every epistle comes with a little box asking you to contribute $1.
Mr. Trump does it a bit differently.
He tells me that for a contribution of $179, he’ll send me a personally autographed copy of his 1980s brilliant, profound, the-worldhas- never-been-the-same mega- scripture, The Art of the Deal, which stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for almost a year. Now, one of the ugly open secrets of the publishing trade is that best-seller lists can be manipulated by bulk purchases at outlets known to be part of the statistical sample. Mr. Trump, I’m sure, has a casino full of old copies.
No deal.
Clearly, Mr. Trump, like Mrs. Clinton, has never been noticeably deficient in the self-esteem category. However, like Mrs.
Clinton and daughter Chelsea, he sometimes prefers to let the children enthuse.
His son Eric, especially, who has informed me repeatedly that I should support his dad because his dad “cares.” It was also his son Eric who enlightened me, by way of comparing Michelle Obama to Melania Trump: “Anyone can go to law school, but it takes brains to be a model.”
Now, how can I give these people up with only three months to go until Election Day? Not possible. But come November, perhaps, I can delete one of them.
The winner, probably.