I'm, Like, Really Smart: On Watching The Gorilla Channel

I'm, Like, Really Smart: On Watching The Gorilla Channel

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A small weird gem amidst the uproar of the stable genius erupting in Fire and Fury at Wolf's book: Given the lunatic times, thousands of people believed a prank "excerpt" portraying said genius as deeply irate his White House TV lacked "the gorilla channel," and his staff scrambling to remedy the situation with ever-more-outrageous measures. The saga broke right before release of the book as real, bonkers leaks described Drumpf's phobias, semi-illiteracy, three-TV-bedroom, ignorance about health care, lies about his weight, and happy take on Russia that “Jared has this - it’s all worked out.” Flowing into that giddy maelstrom was a post from Twitter user @pixelatedboat - aka cartoonist Ben Ward - exclaiming, "Wow this extract from Wolff's book is a shocking insight into Trump's mind." He went on to "quote" a passage about Trump's first night in the White House, when he complained the TV in his bedroom was "broken because it didn't have the gorilla channel."

“To appease Trump, White House staff compiled a number of gorilla documentaries into a makeshift gorilla channel, broadcast into Trump’s bedroom from a hastily-constructed transmission tower on the South Lawn,” the excerpt went on. “However, Trump was unhappy with the channel they had created, moaning that it was ‘boring’ because ‘the gorillas aren’t fighting.’” Staff then edited out the non-fighting parts, "and at last the president was satisfied." An insider continues, "On some days, he'll watch the gorilla channel for 17 hours straight. He kneels in front of the TV, with his face about 4 inches from the screen, and says encouraging things to the gorillas, like, 'The way you hit that other gorilla was good.' I think he thinks the gorillas can hear him."

The gorilla story spread so fast on Twitter - complete with memes - that, an hour or so later, Ward posted a dismayed follow-up, lamenting a parody "making up shit about Trump but people believe it so you become part of the problem.” When his creation kept spreading, he switched to a new, clarifying username - "the gorilla channel thing is a joke” - to try and stop the flood. After that, many admitted they'd believed the prank up to the part about viewing time, which seemed suspect. Trump didn't have the attention span to watch anything for 17 hours, they argued, and besides, that didn't leave enough time for Fox News. The buzz got so loud that Netflix - cheekily? - posted, "Please stop asking if we have the gorilla channel." And Ward's debunking didn't stop Vice from creating its own real if placid livestream of gorillas lounging and strolling; it prompted both gratitude and Trumpian complaints like, "They aren't fighting - this is boring."

Meanwhile, the furor over Wolf's book, and Trump's "dignified, statesmanlike response," continues to percolate. Billionaire Tom Steyer, who created the Need to Impeach campaign, bought 535 copies, which he plans to hand-deliver to every member of Congress. Someone else created a pop-up version of the book to make it easier for the big-word-challenged president to digest. Over 800 people took to Amazon to offer customer reviews. Thanks to Amazon's reported scramble to remove trolls, they'd all bought the book - because, they repeatedly noted, "Any book the President threatens to block (release of) should be required reading" and "Fifteen bucks is a bargain for such delectable schadenfreude!" A glimpse of the horrified comments: "A walk in an insane asylum...Better and cheaper than therapy...Goes best with a glass of Mueller noir...Scandalous and disgusting, just like Trump himself...Reading this book is like being forced to eat an entire 5 gallon carton of ice cream in one sitting. You should feel good, but in reality you feel awful, because of what you just did to yourself." The most concise: "Everything you thought you knew...wasn't bad enough." And that's without gorillas.

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