• Daniel Ethan Finneran

Birds of a Feather: Trump and Kim

February 2018


Although four decades, five children, six thousand miles, and seven inches stand between them, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un aren’t so different after all. Taking seriously the media’s recent comparison of these two political parvenus, we in the audience are left with this strange conclusion: Trump and Kim are peas in a pod, thieves thick and thin, birds of a feather.


Both are famous for their eccentricity and feared for their impetuosity. Both adorn their lives with accolades (be they imagined or real) and retell their triumphs to fawning lackeys and sycophants. Together, they sweat caprice from their very pore every time their tempers become exercised or hot. In a word, collectively, they’re sweating often.


Both know the value of appearance in this brutally televisual age. It’s for this reason they attend to themselves with exhaustive cosmetic zeal. In both cases, this level of attention demands of them a careful treatment of their idiosyncratic coiffures: Trump’s hair, if nature permits of us our calling it that, emphasizes the temporal lobe. With a gossamer wisp of blond, it floats gently upon his ear while streaking front to back. In the front sits defiantly another plume of unnatural locks. Kim Jong Un has an interesting “do” in his own right. Fashionable in the Orient as it’s not in the West, Kim sports the faded, undercut yet over-kempt pompadour the likes of which has no rival. His hair takes a drastic leap from barren and shaved sides to an exploding parietal plumage. It’s a transition that’s too stark to be aesthetic and too unsubtle to be taken seriously. Nevertheless, the hair makes the man, and the man his country.


What then, can be said of the fabrics that enclose their flesh—the threads within which they administer and live? Both are rather rotund fellows, with waistlines exceeding those of their cabinet members and, by in large, their fellow countrymen as well. No doubt, the overflowing torso gives the gourmand away, but it also engenders a larger canvas upon which expensive suits can swim.


Mindful of their epicurean size, and cautious not to be constrained by it, neither man wants to be tailored to form or painted too close to his bones. Above all, their sartorial agendas revolve around breathability as their first and last concern. For President Trump, this comes in the form of a boxy double-breasted jacket (always black or blue), equally accommodating trousers, and a turgid, inflated, elongated tie. As for the Supreme Leader, he fancies a monolithic Manchurian two-piece—charcoal, solid black, or dark grey—with pinstripes darting north to south (in much the same way he’d like to do across the DMZ). He tops it off with a capacious “Nehru” neckline begirding his obese throat.


Each, outfitted as such, strikes fear into the heart of his opponent and pride into the soul of his people. Yet there’s also the face, and both share in the inscrutability of the other’s. Trump wears a self-assured Teutonic pout, while Kim sports a dagger-like Asiatic glare. Both conceal their emotions with impressive restraint but they make manifestly clear the frigidity and scorn that is their mug.


Obviously, they both like weapons of the nuclear kind. Trump has many and wants more; Kim has one and simply wants it to work. Still, in either case, they urgently agree that their arsenals are worse for what they lack and that proliferation is king. That said, neither could tell you, at least not with a reassuring sense of confidence, exactly what’s meant by the term “nuclear triad”—Trump because of ignorance, Kim Jong Un because of insufficient progress (his weapons are tied to earth, whereas Trump’s, whether he knows it or not, can float or fly). Technicalities aside though, both like to pose and make it known that in this apocalyptic capacity, they’re handsomely endowed. One parades his missiles through the streets, the other would like to, but is forced by staff, by constituents, and by general decorum to be a bit more discrete. One has a button, the other a larger button, just as one has an ego, and the other a larger ego. All things, as such, befitting their scale.


There’s an odd and uncomfortable feeling that, if not for the fetters of a family tree, one would make his sister, the other his daughter, the object of his romantic pursuit. Perhaps I’m alone in having sensed this, but at the Winter Olympic games, did you not also feel as if there was something tacitly incestuous going on between Kim Jong Un and his sister, Kim Yo Jong? Lesser gods have sated their lust with sibling love (one thinks back to the Titanic and Olympian dynasties of Kronos and Rhea and Zeus and Hera—both pairs were not only lovers, but brothers and sisters) so why wouldn’t the Kim dynasty do the same? After all, Kim fancies himself part of a veritable godhead on earth—complete with a father, a son, and a holy ghost. He, currently, stands atop the pantheon that sermonizes at Pyongyang. More explicit, though, is the way in which President Trump thinks about his lovely daughter, Ivanka. Never has a father been so audaciously amorous when talking about his baby girl.

He left little to the imagination when he admitted blatantly that, were Ivanka not his kin, probably he’d be dating her. Even Electra (to bring forth another Greek)—that beautiful, vengeful orphan whose father-loving complex bears her name—would shiver at the thought. So too do we.


Perhaps the media is right. I feel myself as inhabiting the position of a man convinced. The arguments in favor of Trump’s and Kim’s consanguinity are ironclad and the conclusions are ineluctable. As for the similarities, the point from which our analysis sprang, they’re striking and clear as day. I think, all along, the media was telling the truth: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are really just one in the same.

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