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Newsletter 362

Published October 26, 2020
The Ring of Hot Air... Biden vs. Trump

I’m running a little late again, partly because I’ve had a  week of non-stop writing, but also because I was transfixed by the final debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It wasn’t because of the dazzling eloquence on display. It was fascinating just to see Trump trying to act responsibly – even though he didn’t have any substantive arguments. It’s probably a better indicator that he knows he’s a goner than his blustering, lunatic antics in the first debate.

By this stage I’m surprised at the number of people who are convinced Trump is going to win. His performance as a candidate is so bizarre, so childish, that it would require a miracle for him to reel in it from here. His only strategy is to hold superspreader events where he treats his fans to a long recital of lies and grievances, while demanding that all his enemies should be locked up. If you want some insight into the people who go to these rallies check out the new Borat film – which has a jaw-dropping scene at a pro-Trump gathering.

Biden managed to hold it together long enough to say empathetic things about bringing the nation together, but he still fluffed a few lines and seemed, as usual, like an old fogey. The Democrats’ election slogan should be: “Vote for Joe. He’s harmless enough.”

With less than two weeks before election day the Trump campaign is becoming more grotesque on a daily basis. Surely the Orange One must have some major scandal that he can drum up at the last minute? The stuff about Hunter Biden’s mysterious laptop is wearing pretty thin. It’s just not possible to portray Joe Biden as a master criminal – even if Trump succeeded this would only make Biden seem more interesting. The real criminal action will come after the election, with the avalanche of lawsuits Trump has been holding at bay while he claims the status of an absolute monarch. He might not be joking when he says that he’ll have to leave the country if he loses. It may be the only way of staying out of gaol. I’m sure Russia or Saudi Arabia, or even North Korea, would be happy to put him up. As a last resort there’s always the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Or perhaps Scummo might find him a semi-detached in Gymea.

This week’s art column looks at two enterprising sculpture shows – Les Sculptures Refusées at QStation in Manly, and Sculpture in the Vineyards – now rebranded the Wollombi Valley Sculpture Festival, a mere two hours drive north from Sydney. The QStation show is a Salon des Refusés for Sculpture by the Sea, which would normally be planted on the foreshores between Bondi and Tamarama at this time of year. COVID-19, alas, has forced the postponement of this mega-show until some unspecified time in 2021. This means the rejects exhibition, which features some very good sculptors, is being held far in advance of the main event.

In Wollombi last weekend I found my phone didn’t work and I couldn’t get my newsletter out. Everything else was superb – from the exhibition, which featured 164 works, to the accommodation and hospitality. If you’re feeling you need something to replace the annual Sculpture by the Sea experience, Wollombi beckons…

This week’s film review looks at Corpus Christi, an outstanding movie from Poland about a young delinquent who impersonates a Catholic priest in a small town. It’s a story that manages to be both inspiring and fatalistic by turns. We know the imposture cannot last, but the transformation the new-found priest brings about, both in hmself and the village, is amazing to watch. If Donald Trump were half as good at impersonating a President he might be looking at another four years.