• Behold a Pale Little Pony: Watching the RNC

    By Maria Bustillos

    The Republican National Convention started off with a bang on Monday, when all kinds of chaos and yelling broke out over an attempt by the #NeverTrump faction to change the party’s nominating rules. Later, in an appearance with Chris Hayes and April Ryan, journalist Charlie Pierce suggested to ultra-right-wing Rep. Steve King of Iowa that this might be the last convention in which “old white people will command […] the Republican Party’s public face.” King replied with a pseudo-question, suggesting that white people (and not “any other sub-group”) are responsible for Western civilization.

    In the evening Melania Trump’s speech created a sensation, mostly because a hunk of it was cribbed directly from a speech Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Donald Trump told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly that, as president, he might instruct his Attorney General to investigate the Black Lives Matter movement, because he thinks that Black Lives Matter has been “essentially calling death to the police.”

    On Tuesday, the RNC attempted to justify Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Mrs. Obama by likening it to substantially dissimilar remarks made by Twilight Sparkle, the animated heroine of My Little Pony. The pundits weren’t about to take that lying down. “Melania is totally Rarity,” journalist Sarah Kendzior sniffed on Twitter. “No Twilight Sparkle to be found in Trump Equestria.” (Equestria is where the My Little Ponies live.) Shortly afterward it was reported that Melania Trump does not, in fact, hold a college degree in architecture, as her personal website claims, nor any other college degree, from “University in Slovenia” or anywhere else.

    That same day Fox News chief Roger Ailes was (perhaps) fired for the alleged sexual harassment of a burgeoning number of his employees. The condition, color, and texture of his genitals were described in detail. Matt Drudge reported that Ailes’s severance is, or could be, worth $40 million. The news of his firing was confirmed and unconfirmed a few times over the course of the day. “What the Fox!” blared the cover of the New York Post, alongside a photograph of Ailes.

    A dozen guys wandered around downtown Cleveland decked out in military gear and American flags and armed to the teeth with AR-15, AK-47 and G3 rifles. One of them told Salon: “We’re just trying to help the community.”

    In the evening, Republicans formally nominated Donald Trump as their candidate for the 2016 Presidential election. Photographs of Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., recirculated on Twitter, depicting Jr. holding the bloody, severed tail of an elephant he, or someone, had killed on a hunting trip. The elephant’s corpse lay beside him.

    “Donald Day Trump,” said Paul Ryan.

    “Lock her up!” screamed those in attendance at the RNC on Tuesday night, with reference to the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. “We’ll get there,” promised New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

    On Wednesday many of Ailes’s employees, including Bill O’Reilly and Greta Van Susteren, said they would walk out if Ailes were to be fired.

    “A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama,” Melania Trump’s speechwriter said of Melania Trump.

    On Thursday, a press release from 21st Century Fox announced, “Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately.”

    In the evening, at the convention, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, “We must respect the police.”

    “The desire for greatness is not new,” said Representative Marsha Blackburn.

    “Where I work in Silicon Valley, it’s hard to see where America has gone wrong,” said Peter Thiel. Either cocaine or the attention of so many thousands of people at once lit him up like a toddler on Halloween candy.

    “Ivanka, if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big,” said Ivanka Trump.

    “I am your voice!” shouted Donald Trump. Now and then he yelled along with the crowd. “U! S! A!” He clapped his little hands together.

    Jared Kushner and Mike Pence kicked off their shoes and engaged in a genial cha-cha. Local herpetologists explained how to cope with the sudden rain of frogs pouring from the sky (“try to stay indoors”). With a banshee wail, Ted Nugent shot a flaming arrow in the general direction of the moon in a widely-circulated YouTube clip. Clint Eastwood spoke, all alone, to a refrigerator in his kitchen. The ghost of Dwight Eisenhower laughed and laughed, sadly, with his ghost-head held in transparent grey hands. Then the ghost lay down and closed his eyes.

    A hail of pink strawberries popped out of the walls of the arena and exploded into clouds of ladybugs, which attached themselves to the skin of certain attendees of the Republican National Convention, who ran shrieking outside, shrieking, screaming, where the frogs were still falling hard.