Madman: Legacy of Sterling Cooper Draper Trump
Swap the mahogany bar rail for a customized bus, a martini for a bottle of Trump water, the narrow lapel Brooks Brothers suit for the midnight blue Brioni with the flaming red tie, then close your eyes: I’m hearing Roger Sterling but I’m seeing Donald Trump. Swap one Madman for another. The misogynistic repartee you’ve been hearing all weekend and the smarmy come-on to the married TV hostess are all Madman.
Trump as Throwback
Roger Sterling, and his sidekick, Don Draper, saw themselves as slick and irresistible as Donald Trump. They drank and cheated their way through a mid-century urban landscape that gave way to the post-70’s New York of Trump, overblown, overbuilt, overconfident – or seemingly so. They lived as if theirs was the only movie, and they were the only stars. Trump would have slipped seamlessly into the 1960s ad world, with its inherent white privilege and its ignorance of
Madman in the Tower
Donald Trump brayed about his groping and assaults on women, which Draper would never have done and Sterling would have tried to be more cool about it. They were at different ends of the same locker room. Not the high school locker room of varsity football players, j.v. wrestlers and hoop-dreamers trying to jump-shoot their way to an élite education. It’s the locker room of the establishment, Tom Wolfe’s Masters of the Universe, towelling off after a game of squash at the Athletic Club or the Union League, men from high places, who’d gone through prep and college together into the corner office. There was always a corner in that locker room preserved for Mad-boys, like Trump, who never internalized the privileges. They used their conquests and outrageous behavior as their calling card.
In an Access Hollywood bus in 2005, Trump dropped one of his calling cards, like a turd, trying to impress TV personality Billy Bush. He reminisced about trying to make Bush’s predecessor, Nancy O’Dell, and ruminated on the perks of his celebrity – his perception that women welcomed his groping hands and stiff, little fingers, blind to the fact that his advances were unwelcome; that he was abusive and overbearing. He mistook his celebrity and wealth for appeal and charm. As a side note, Billy Bush is a nephew of former President George H.W. Bush, a Skull and Bones man, who would never be caught dead in Trump’s end of that exclusive locker room.
This Madman is not a nouveau riche thing. Misogyny runs through older, more established families. Some of those scions drift down to the other end of the locker room bench, snapping towels and talking about their conquests. Even a Man-child who still considers these as verities is smart enough to keep them under wraps. Some have evolved, leaving behind the adolescent concepts of masculinity.
Unfit for this Time and Place
Trump is not merely tone-deaf. He is out of touch with the reality of the relationship between men and women in 21st Century America. It is a fundamental misunderstanding, one of those basics that make him unfit to be a leader of our people.