Current GOP presidential front-runner/three-time husband/four-time bankruptcy filer/short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump and the unreliable narrators of Randy Newman’s songs are both known for “telling it like it is,” regardless of how violently xenophobic or terrifyingly uncouth “it” may be.
The two possess a harrowingly similar worldview, so much so that it’s difficult to tell them apart—especially as Trump’s escalating antics continue to blur the lines of reality and fiction. After all, the protagonist of Newman’s “Rednecks” would also refuse to denounce former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke. What other presidential candidate, aside from David Duke himself, has ever had the chutzpah to do the same?
Speaking of questions, here’s another: Can you tell which of these quotes emerged from the poisoned tongue of human soundbite Trump, and which are (mercifully fictional) Newman song lyrics?
“We give them money, but are they grateful? No—they’re spiteful and they’re hateful.”
“It’s money that I love.”
“Let me tell you something about myself: I’m a college man and I’m very wealthy. I’ve got no time to trifle with trash like you, because I must be about my business.”
“They say that money can’t buy love in this world. But it’ll get you a half-pound of cocaine and a sixteen-year old girl, and a great big long limousine on a hot September night.”
“I’m dreaming of a white president—someone whom we can understand. Someone who knows where we’re coming from and that the law of the jungle is not the law of this land.”
“Didn’t used to be any spades here, now you got ‘em. Didn’t used to be any Mexicans here, now you got ‘em.”
“Got to have a yellow woman when you’re a yellow man.”
“I’ve been around the world. Had my pick of any girl.”
“Why would someone beautiful as she love someone old like me? Maybe it’s the money. Jeez, I never thought of that. Goddamn it.”
“I ain’t sayin’ I’m better than you are, but maybe I am. I only know that when I look in the mirror, I like the man.”
“I’m all right, so I don’t care.”
“Let me tell you a little story. Just this morning my wife and I went to this hotel in the hills. That’s right—the Bel-Air Hotel—where a very good friend of ours happens to be staying. And the name of this young man is Mr. Bruce Springsteen. That’s right, yeah. Oh, we talked about some kind of woodblock or something and this new guitar we like. And you know what he said to me? I’ll tell you what he said to me. He said, ‘I’m tired. How would you like to be the Boss for awhile?’
“It kind of pisses me off that this Supreme Court is going to outlive me. A couple of young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now, too. But I defy you, anywhere in the world, to find me two Italians as tightassed as the two Italians we got. And as for the brother, well, Pluto’s not a planet anymore, either.”
“I don’t care what you say—you’re livin’ in the greatest country in the world when you’re livin’ in the USA.”
“In America, every man is free to take care of his home and his family.”
“I love Miami. It’s so hot and the women down here are so impure.”
“I’m glad I’m living in the land of the free. Where the rich just get richer, and the poor you don’t ever have to see.”
“All around, even our old friends put us down.”
“South America stole our name.”
“No one likes us. I don’t know why.”
“Asia’s crowded. Europe’s too old.”
“Let’s drop the big one and see what happens.”
“The world is a horrible place.”
Answers: Every quote but the last can be attributed to the diseased minds of Newman’s narrators. But Trump could utter any, or all, of them tomorrow, and no one would bat an eyelash. And isn’t that just perfectly terrifying?
Megan Koester is a writer and comedian (obviously) who lives in Los Angeles (somewhat less obviously). You can follow her on Twitter at @bornferal. While she appreciates your Facebook friend request, she probably will not accept it.