371 Views

‘Fire and Fury’: Personality trumps Policy

Journalist Michael Wolff unveils the character behind the caricature in his book Fire and Fury, revealing deception far beyond president Trump’s hacked hairdo. Fire and Fury has since reached inevitable success, selling over 60,000 printed copies in the UK in January 2017 and reaching number one in New York Times bestseller list. With Wolff’s likening of the notorious Russian cover-up and the duplicity of Watergate, his expose promises an account of political chaos. Unfortunately, the book often ventures into comedic realm, opting to tackle issues of personality over policy.

Fire and Fury not only paints the picture of a spiteful ‘two-year-old’ toddler wielding the media with tweets of ‘fake news’, but also simultaneously hones in on harm behind viewing him as just that – a babbling idiot, unaware of his actions. Yet despite this, Wollf’s most popular lines surround the topic around his idiocy and sensational personality, once again seeing trump as a figure to laugh at rather than challenge. Wolff notes, “everybody around him was an idiot.” This kind of rhetoric, albeit an amusing satire, loses sight of the man behind the supercilious mask.With this best seller, accounts exposing the uses and abuses of power have never been more prevalent.

Other political fictions, such as Masha Gessen’s courageous bibliography of Vladimir Putin The Man Without a Face, pictures the emotionless Russian super-villain. As a journalist living in Moscow, Gassen has experienced his reign of terror first hand, from his beginnings as a low-profile KGB spy to one of the most influential presidential figures of our time.Books like Fire and Fury and The Man Without a Face, recognise the trend in mainstream media of our ‘love to hate’ attitude towards political villains. In opposition to this, Gassen takes the more hazardous style. She makes a strong case for not only Putin’s blind eye to embezzlement, but also sees him as an integral part of this process. The brave journalist details early stages of personal corruption, mysterious missing food imports as well as disappearing money from the Germans, an estimated $92 million. From this early on, Gessen credits the embezzlement of state funds directly to the millionaire Putin. Fire and Fury and The man Without a Face reveal and consolidate what we think we already know. However, Wolff’s account massively trumps Gessen in the sales department. It seems whatever side of the spectrum you are on – personality really does sell.

On the opposite side to the stoic ‘faceless’ Putin, critic Thomas Mallon takes us through the life one of the most sensationalized figures in presidential history in his Finale: A Novel of The Reagan Years. Mallon takes the book in all sorts of directions, from the success of the Reykjavik summit with Gorbachev, effectively dissolving the cold war, to the disastrous involvement in the Iran-Contra affair.

Despite all these books’ attempts to expose elements of economic and political corruption, they seem to heavily rely on the satirical caricatures that make these figures infamous. Satirical depictions of a mechanical Melania Trump on Election Day alongside the explosive personality of ‘The Gipper’, Ronald Reagan, seem too on the nose and hardly trans-formative to pass as political critique. Catering to modern society, the loud-mouthed, unfiltered white noise that is Trump’s daily speech wreaks havoc on what is really important. The popularity of wolff’s populist biography attempts to delve deeper into the policies behind the personality, yet instead only reverberates what we already know.

 

Featured Image: Refuge Fascism, Flickr

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
7 views
Film & Theatre
7 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
22 views
Sports
22 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
19 views
Arts
19 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
46 views
Arts
46 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1118 views1
Campus News
1118 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
49 views1
News
49 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
54 views
Campus News
54 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
45 views
Opinion
45 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
380 views
Arts
380 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
385 views
Arts
385 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
358 views
Arts
358 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
422 views
Arts
422 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
440 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
379 views
Arts
379 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
357 views
Arts
357 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
539 views
Campus News
539 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
306 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
895 views
Arts
895 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
365 views
Arts
365 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
444 views
Artist Focus
444 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
378 views
Interview
378 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…