When Faber and Faber published T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats in 1939, it’s safe to say that neither the publisher nor the author aspired to save the world. Similarly, when Andrew Lloyd Webber, Trevor Nunn, and others adapted Eliot’s work into the hit musical Cats over 40 years later, they of course didn’t act with an intent to save countless people from unpredictable harm.
Nevertheless, it turns out that the product of this pair of artistic endeavors deserves credit for accomplishing a feat that has proven elusive to mere mortals: the mollification of Donald Trump. In her upcoming book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now, former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham reveals that Max Miller, one of Trump’s babysitters, stepped into the role of “Music Man,” playing Trump’s favorite tunes to quiet the toddler’s frightening tantrums. According to a New York Times review, Miller played “Memory” from Cats “to pull him from the brink of rage.”
That such a loutish and amoral beast can be moved by music at all is remarkable and worthy of several dissertations. However, the more immediate importance of this revelation is that it offers even further evidence against the absurd notion that Trump is some shrewd politician with uncanny discipline and self-control. Grisham describes Trump’s fits as real and “terrifying,” admitting she started to regret joining the Trump administration when she “began to see how his temper wasn’t just for shock value or the cameras.”
Given that the so-called Music Man employed his tactic regularly over the twice-impeached monster’s failed term, it apparently had some success. Without knowing specifics, we can only imagine what might have happened had Trump been denied this pacifier at those dangerously unstable moments. Would Trump have rage-tweeted us into a war? Would he have issued another hurtful executive order trampling on the rights of more innocent people? Or would he have angrily banged out the codes of the nuclear football with his fists?
Thankfully, the untamed, orange-maned beast no longer wields the power of the presidency. Trump’s anger problem, which by all accounts is authentic and well beyond the cretin’s control, is one reason why, as Hillary Clinton warned, he was “temperamentally unfit” to hold the highest office in the land. To paraphrase Trump’s beloved song, on January 20, the street lamp died, another night was over, and another day was dawning. We must make the most of the long-awaited sunlight.