On Friday, January 20th of 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as 45th president of the United States. Although the turnout was small in comparison to previous presidential ceremonies, thousands of supporters were in attendance, as well as most of Washington's elite. Many of them were in for a rude shock, however, as Trump's speech turned out to be surprisingly grim and bleak. Trump promised a message of unity and reconciliation, but those who believed this promised felt as if they'd been tricked and smacked in the face once the ceremony was over.
Trump's reference to a landscape of "American carnage" was much reported in the media, but in fact the complete speech was even darker than this. Onlookers were stunned into silence by the speech. Though only twenty minutes long, relatively short in historical inaugural terms, the speech seemed longer. Those present compared it to an endurance test of intensity, almost unbearably unpleasant at times. Here are a few excerpts from the speech, in which Trump repeatedly cast the modern USA as a land of despair:
Today is a trying time. Throughout the so-called rust belt, factories are closed. Job seekers are out of work. Stretched before us stands a landscape of American carnage. We walk under a dead moon, and our sun is a scorching ball of blinding radioactivity.
Our schools are havens of depravity, our workplaces breeding grounds of deviltry and diabolism.
Our national discourse is an erratic needlepoint on a quilt of insanity, our national anthem is a wrinkled tattoo carved into the flabby belly of a dying witch. Our public policy is a warlock's spell brewed in a bubbling cauldron suspended over a blazing fire kindled in hell with the rotting wood of a cursed tree.
In our rural towns, marauding hillbillies prey on innocent backpackers, hacking up their bodies for barbecue and feeding the results to unwitting travelers.
Baboons wander our backroads, raping any stray dogs they happen to meet, producing hideous baboon-dog offspring.
In a bathtub in a dreary motel, a reporter awakens to find himself handcuffed to a chair. A message awaits him. He can save himself, but only if he cuts off his best friend's leg with a hacksaw.
Carnage is the law of the land, decimation its willing handmaiden. Murder is our marriage, mayhem is our method. Misery is our bread, and blood is our butter, and we wash down this miserable meal with a cup full of torture.
In closing, I'd like to quote the noble words of the song "Necrophiliac" by Slayer, which go as thus: "Heathen whore of Satan's lust/I spit on you/In my loins I feel the need/To fuck this putrid corpse/Hungry for the smell of death/The devil's child is born."
Thank you very much. Go, America!
The crowd was stunned, to say the least. Staggering away from the inauguration, Trump's supporters were completely silent. Many appeared addled and confused, apparently unable to process the strange words they'd just heard.
Bradley Albright, a systems analyst and self-described former hippie, had this theory: "Somebody must have slipped him some acid. That's the only explanation. It could have been purple sunshine, or it could have been the bad brown stuff. Either he just had the greatest trip ever, or the worst. It's really hard to tell the difference between a really good trip and a really bad trip."
"I don't understand it," one onlooker was heard to remark. "It makes no sense to give such a depressing speech. It only makes sense if it's a plot by a Russian spy to demoralize our entire nation. But that's absurd, of course."
The speech won Trump some surprising endorsements from the liberal arts community, where the words were acclaimed as a high point in the canon of despair. Professors of literature and philosophy scrambled for comparisons, mentioning only a few works of grotesque horror such as Naked Lunch and Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom Such commentators cited the "For sheer despair and shock value, you'll find little precedent," claimed one NYU professor. "The speech made the most sordid passages of Last exit to Brooklyn seem like a Pollyanna storybook, and showed up Bob Dylan's 'A Hard Rain's A'Gonna Fall' for the silly pop ditty it really is. I am breathless with despair and horror." Others found the speech to be an excoriating attack on immoral society in the tradition of the Book of Jeremiah, and Dylan's "born again" period. Some were reminded of the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, which would help explain the president's otherwise baffling references to "strange creatures seated on demonic thrones…stroking their long beaks in….eerie delight."
President Bill Clinton was too busy eyeballing Ivanka Trump's boobs to pay attention to the speech.
Jimmy Carter candidly admitted to having no particular opinion: "I slept through the whole thing. I am pretty damned old, you know."
Former president George Herbert Bush and wife Barbara Bush were unable to attend the speech, being both hospitalized with illness. They had recently been released from intensive care and expected to be released in three days. But, upon watching Trump's horrifying speech on television, both were sent into a state of shock and had to be re-entered into intensive care.
The speech won the president at least one surprising endorsement, from the American Nihilist Foundation, who stress they are "an actual expression of legitimate philosophy, unlike those punk kids in the Nihiist Society of America, who are just a bund of whiny poseurs who are cranky because they are too nerdy to get a date." ANF spokesperson Deth Black says that Trump "is much more of an intellectual than anybody could have guessed. His speech indicates a familiarity with the work of Michel Houellebecq, who is incidentally a xenophobic asshole and an Islamaphobe, much like Trump."
But the final word may yet belong to the president himself. In his latest tweet, Trump was overflowing with praise for his own speech, saying: That was agreat speech, wasn't it? I am already one of history's greatest presidents. GREAT SPEECH. GREAT PRESIDENT.