There’s a funny and poignant interview with Fran Lebowitz in The New Yorker. She talks about how she’s coping with quarantine life and the closure of all the restaurants (Lebowitz doesn’t cook). Like all thinking people of good will, Lebowitz loathes Trump with every fiber of her being. When asked if she’d learned anything new about Trump from the crisis, here’s what she said:
No. Every single thing that could be wrong with a human being is wrong with him. But the single most dangerous thing about Donald Trump is how unbelievably stupid he is. It’s not the most dangerous thing in someone who has no responsibilities, but in a President it’s the most dangerous thing.
His absolute belief in himself, that is something that is not going to ever change. And he doesn’t care. When people say he’s not showing enough empathy—he doesn’t know what it means. Whenever he uses the word “love,” which he does occasionally, I think of the word “algebra,” because I don’t know what algebra is. I took Algebra 1 four times, because I failed it four times, and I still don’t know what algebra even means. I know the symbols. And that is what love means to Donald Trump.
Maybe the algebra analogy strikes me as so bang-on because I am also hopelessly stupid about math. Unlike Lebowitz, I did manage to pass both Algebra I and II with the patient assistance of my sister, who was bewildered during our tutoring sessions by my inability to grasp what were to her simple concepts. My brain just doesn’t work that way.
Waiting for Trump to express genuine empathy is as pointless as waiting for Fran or me to earn a Fields Medal. Anyhoo, go read the interview — it’s good.