Mathew Mackie

Chris Uhlmann’s pointed criticism blunted by King Kong condition

After Chris Uhlmann’s scorn for Donald Trump went viral, it got me wondering, what is our well-constructed criticism for? We’re not going to get rid of him.


Yesterday we took to the electronic streets, in equal measure congratulation and castigation in the name of the man who what said stuff against Donald Trump. What a grand day it was. The band played guttural noise that echoed around the world after an Australian made his point. Well done/How could you. But, the problem with feeling something as a result to his diatribe, is that it doesn’t mean anything – because it doesn’t change anything.

The ABC’s Chris Uhlmann merely added his own to the rolling, rampant stream of popular flow against Trump, a vicious, tepid body of water that does nothing to erode the fortifications around Donald’s mind, or the congressional dam he straddles, as we watch him dangle his sweaty moral testicles on noble walls that other people built. If last week taught us anything, is that the media sharpening one long knife with compulsive frequency, is that they tend to get impaled on it. Trump literally attacked CNN, but CNN couldn’t attack back beyond offering us the most unfulfilling manhunt this side of Taken 3.

I love journalistic hot fire, it’s probably why I dabble in it, but this massed media blitzkrieg against the borders of Trumptonia has done little to the heart of his industry. It seems that Donald’s Orange Army is following the red, implementing a very public scorched earth policy. All that’s left is the still smouldering remains of evidence, curios of public curiosity. What could that be? We wonder, but there’s little else to make it a meaningful landmark. A great recent example is the Comey hearings. Remember what happened with that?

Yeah, me neither.

Uhlmann claimed that Trump was “an uneasy, lonely, awkward figure” and that he “has no desire and capacity to lead the world”. Two quotes that I absolutely agree with, but in the words of the world’s formative antagonist, it’s sad. Sad that the lifespan of his well-formed sentences has already expired, and sad that if his words ever met their target, they’d probably be ignored. Uhlmann’s words are merely a microcosm of today. It seems we’re all pushed around by a current, caught in the rip of what I call canned laugh track discourse. Just like the sitcoms of our youth, we’re informed of the correct time to react. And react we do, because we identify the sound of other people doing it. But it’s not a real. It’s a fleeting bleet of forced emotion. We don’t truly feel anything, because we don’t have to. There’s another joke of a headline on the way.


We don’t truly feel anything, because we don’t have to. There’s another joke of a headline on the way.


Which is all well and good, and it’s probably why we binge-watch the episodes of Trump’s Presidency. We especially when we know we’re watching a dud. We know The one where Trump gets a hug was a pretty naff effort by comparison, but we watched it anyway, despite catching a glimpse of ourselves at our fattest angle, double chin screaming disappointment. But what else were we going to do? This is our weekly tradition – yelling at Trump.

I feel we sit at a crossroad, elevated by a pivot point, skewered by a fork in the road. We need to examine what we’re yelling at Trump for. To do that, we first need to face an uncomfortable truth. We’re not going to get rid of him. We’ve had our chance. The DNC failed to mount a midterm comeback by throwing money at a backwater in Georgia, impeachment is an impossibility, as the GOP controls the majority needed to push through the vote if anything substantial is found, which, and let’s be honest, it hasn’t.

Ultimately, we need to euthanise the scruffy-barking-golden-retriever-puppy-for-Christmas optimism that has kept us hoping that this year is the year. 

Yeah, no.

Trump is very much like King Kong in this respect, except that he slapped his name on the tower before climbing its flagpole. And while we scramble planes of thought to dislodge the pouting ape, we should know that the verbal bullets we fire at him in machine gun angst will just pathetically bounce off his toughened hide, making him roar louder, and grip his Stockholm syndrome addled hostage tighter. He rightly is the eighth wonder of the political world. We should marvel at his brutal features, born from a tough life in the urban jungle. A force of nature that cannot be reasoned with or met halfway. But, while we should quiver in fear at the sight of the great ape, and stun him with flashbulbs because we do not understand, I contend that we should not keep him in chains. For that merely enrages the beast. His shackles are what empowers him. He needs an enemy to fight. Perhaps we should lower him down from the headlines, and let him roam the streets freely, hoping that the novelty will soon wear off, and with the limelight firmly shot out with the bb gun of reality, knowing that the show was truly over, perhaps then he’d return home to Skull Island.

After all, if we follow the lessons of King Kong, and kill him, then we’d feast our senses on the gargantuan corpse smashed into the fractured cobblestone, and then we’d pity the beast.

And we certainly don’t need that.