Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday August 26, 2023
Trump’s 4th Indictment: The Dramatic Mugshot Chronicles
In the grand theatre of history, the faces of presidents have been immortalized in iconic images that range from the comedy and tragedy masks of ancient drama to the eerie visage of the ghost-faced mask from the “Scream” series of horror movies. And now, a new face joins this gallery of dramatic expressions: Donald Trump’s mugshot.
Travel back to the early days of photography, reminiscent of the daguerreotype process that captured President William Henry Harrison just after his inauguration in 1841. The stark contrast of light and shadow on these silver-plated surfaces resembled the timeless drama of the theatre. Within a couple of years, John Quincy Adams’ portrait emerged as the oldest surviving presidential photograph, his gaze mirroring the intensity of the ancient comedy and tragedy masks that have symbolized human emotion for centuries.
Now, let’s fast-forward to the present, where the stage is dominated by a character that seems to step out of a villain’s playbook. Enter Donald Trump, a name that evokes a sense of both intrigue and polarizing sentiments. With his fourth indictment, he’s elevated himself to a position akin to the iconic face of the original Joker from the Batman universe—a face that blends chaos, cunning, and theatrical flair.
This modern drama takes centre stage with Trump becoming the first former president to face criminal charges not once, not twice, but four times. His mugshot, however, becomes the defining moment—an image that encapsulates both tragedy and comedy. It’s as if the theatre curtains have parted to reveal not just a man in a suit, but a complex character caught in the crosshairs of the legal system.
In this real-life drama, the ghostly echoes of the “Scream” mask loom large—the hollow eyes and open mouth mirroring the fear that ripples through the corridors of power. Trump’s mugshot becomes a chilling reminder of the consequences that await even the most powerful figures.
As Alphonse Bertillon’s techniques from the 1880s merged art and science in criminal identification, Trump’s mugshot becomes an artistic narrative of accountability. Just as Bertillon’s portraits were a “speaking image,” Trump’s mugshot speaks of the dichotomy of power and vulnerability, just like the enigmatic faces of comedy and tragedy.
But this tale isn’t just one of sorrow and seriousness; it’s a tapestry woven with threads of humour and satire. Social media becomes the stage where hashtags like #TrumpMugshot and #OrangeIsTheNewOrange trend, a digital audience reacting to the drama with a mix of amusement and concern.
In a world where images carry the weight of generations, Trump’s mugshot now stands as a modern-day emblem—a face that signifies not only his personal journey through the legal labyrinth but also the larger narrative of American politics. Just as the comedy and tragedy masks continue to symbolize the essence of human experience, Trump’s mugshot captures a moment of vulnerability and revelation.
As the legal saga continues and the trial approaches, this mugshot becomes a recurring motif in the ever-evolving narrative of Trump’s legacy. Much like the iconic faces that have graced the stages and screens, this image serves as a mirror reflecting the drama, intrigue, and complexity of our times. In the mosaic of American history, the mugshot emerges as a potent and enduring symbol—an image that unifies the comedy, tragedy, villainy, and fear that colour the chapters of America’s story. (AI) Editorial cartoon published in the Hamilton Spectator and the Toronto Star.
Fulton Prison Blues
With apologies to Johnny Cash
(Verse 1) I hear the tweets a-tweetin’, in the early mornin’ sun, I ain’t seen facts or truth since this wild ride begun, I’m stuck in Fulton prison, where delusions run amok, But those tweets keep on flowin’, like a never-ending truck.
(Verse 2) Well, I was just a billionaire, with buildings made of gold, They said I’d be a leader, a story to be told, But I spun tales of grandeur, oh, the lies did multiply, Now when I hear that news reportin’, I just can’t help but sigh.
(Verse 3) I bet there’s folks in Mar-a-Lago, sippin’ on champagne, Livin’ life so lavish, playin’ in my big charade, Well, I know I’ve caused a stir, but I’ll never take the blame, Those folks keep believin’, and that’s my kind of game.
(Verse 4) If I could leave this prison, if that plane was mine to steer, I’d fly beyond the chaos, let my legacy be clear, Far from Fulton’s prison, to a land of gold and spray, And I’d let those critics chatter, as I tweet my blues away.