The Trumpocene Era

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

“I have known, for decades, that American discourse was degenerating into babble; that the American academy was becoming, more and more, a dumbed-down, profit-based, high-school-equivalency engine; that American society was devolving into race-, and income-, and illusion-based ghettoes, many literally gated. I have been knowing all this. But still, somehow, the Era of The Trumpocene has come as a shock.”—By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

By Way of Being

By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

Palin endorses Trump: pot calls kettle black. (Photo by Brandi Simons/AP)
Palin endorses Trump: pot calls kettle black. (Photo by Brandi Simons/AP)

“We’re creating a world of dummies. Angry dummies who feel they have the right, the authority and the need not only to comment on everything, but to make sure their voice is heard above the rest, and to drag down any opposing views through personal attacks, loud repetition and confrontation.”Ray Williams, “Psychology Today”

“The rise of idiot America today representsfor profit mainly, but also and more cynically, for political advantage in the pursuit of powerthe breakdown of a consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people whom we should trust the least are the people who best know what they are talking about. In the new media age, everybody is an expert.”Charles Pierce, Idiot America

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”Isaac Asimov

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s timewhen the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness . . . . The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.” ―Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PETIT TRIANON Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—1/25/2016—What can I, what should I, add to the noise of this past week in American politics?

For the most part, I’m just speechless. Gobsmacked, in Brit-Speak. Wind knocked straight out of me. Trumpified.

I have known, for decades, that American discourse was degenerating into babble; that the American academy was becoming, more and more, a dumbed-down, profit-based, high-school-equivalency engine; that American society was devolving into race-, and income-, and illusion-based ghettoes, many literally gated. I have been knowing all this. But still, somehow, the Era of The Trumpocene has come as a shock.

How have Trump and, now, Palin, of all people, hijacked my television set, my computer, my car radio, my newspaper (“The Good Grey Lady”), all social media, and even my subconscious? How has the country of my birth come to this, then, and so rapidly?

Here we are tipping into America’s Third Reich, and I somehow missed the First and Second.

“The Huffington Post”’s self-styled “Senior Viral Editor,” Nick Wing, titled one of his latest posts, “12 Things Sarah Palin Just Said, In What We Can Only Assume Is Real Life,” and subtitled it: “We keep pinching ourselves and it’s not working.”

Amen, Nick Wing, amen. I, too, and my circle of international peeps have been pinching ourselves ever since Trump began his toxic surge to the top . . . but it’s not working. We’re black and blue from pinching, and still shrieking like Munch-man on the bridge.

How are the loudest voices in the room saying things like this, out of Palin? “How about the rest of us? Right-wingin’, bitter-clingin’, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religions and our Constitution. Tell us that we’re not red enough? Yeah, coming from the establishment.”

And this, out of Trump? “I will build the greatest wall that you’ve ever seen. And I would never do this myself. But I hope it will be so—actually, it will even look great. I already know what it should look like. You know, the other day, they were saying, I was watching these characters—politicians that are running against me—you can’t get Mexico to pay for the wall! Of course you can. They can’t because they never would even think of it.”

Yes, the American Apocalypse has been bred, delivered, and is up on all four feet, by Trump, out of Palin.

There was a time, in living memory, when I thought the Grizzly Mom was amusing, if insane. Now, I shudder in my shoes to see her return to the stage, without her minders.

And Donald Trump—psychopathic narcissist, pathological liar, demagogue, poseur, ignoramus, etc., etc.—just scares the bejeezus out of me.

Friends call me from The Other Coast, from Europe. They can’t sleep. The prospect of Trump in the White House has them up at all hours, whimpering.

So, again and again, to them and to myself, I repeat my mantra.

It’s a simple one. Three syllables. These days, it beats Valium or Clonazepam or Ambien.

At bedtime, I mutter to myself, or down the phone line, over and over: “Nate Silver. Nate Silver. Nate Silver.”

“Give me the numbers, Nate. Talk science, and polling, and comforting figures to me. Soothe me, oh world-class statistician and predictor-extraordinaire, oh you who called so masterfully the 2012 United States presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, correctly predicting the winner of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Weigh in, Oh Prince of Polls, Oh Regent of Reason, Oh Colossus of the Cerebral Cortex!

And Nate—sparingly, because it’s so early in the election cycle—is weighing in, every now and then, like a sort of sabermetric deity on high.

Here he is, my adult in the room, talking about Trump’s huuuge problem amongst the electorate at large: “We’ve got an unpopular set of presidential candidates this year—Bernie Sanders is the only candidate in either party with a net-positive favorability rating—but Trump is the most unpopular of all. His favorability rating is 33 percent, as compared with an unfavorable rating of 58 percent, for a net rating of -25 percentage points. By comparison Hillary Clinton, whose favorability ratings are notoriously poor, has a 42 percent favorable rating against a 50 percent unfavorable rating, for a net of -8 points. Those are bad numbers, but nowhere near as bad as Trump’s.”

Nate, I grovel in gratitude at your metrical feet!

But he’s not finished, yet: “This is not just a recent phenomenon; Trump’s favorability ratings have been consistently poor. It’s true that his favorability numbers improved quite a bit among Republicans once he began running for president. But those gains were almost exactly offset by declines among independents and Democrats. In fact, his overall favorability ratings have been just about unchanged since he began running for president in June.”

So, calm yourselves, defenders of democracy. We’re not finished, yet. And turn down the volume—everywhere—for the duration. Google Nate, every now and then, over the course of the coming year. I’ll keep you in the loop, as I can. Just know you have company among the sentient insomniacs of the world. Relax, repeat my mantra, and keep your voting cards ready.

It’s going to be OK. Eventually.


12 Things Sarah Palin Just Said, In What We Can Only Assume Is Real Life: We keep pinching ourselves and it’s not working,” by Nick Wing, January 19, 2016

“Anti-Intellectualism and the ‘Dumbing Down’ of America,” by Ray Williams, July 7, 2014 

The GOP’s demonic alliance: How the religious right & big business are dumbing down America,” by Conor Lynch, April 27, 2015

Apocalypse now: Sarah Palin’s bizarre Trump endorsement analyzed,” by Dave Schilling, January 20, 2016 

Sarah Palin: The most ridiculous quotes from the Donald Trump endorsement speech,” by Heather Saul, January 20, 2016, 

Donald Trump Is Really Unpopular With General Election Voters,” by Nate Silver, January 18, 2016

To order Elizabeth Boleman-Herring’s memoir and/or her erotic novel, click on the book covers below:

Elizabeth Boleman, Greek Unorthdox: Bande a Part & a Farewell to Ikaros

Elizabeth Boleman Herring, The Visitors’ Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, Publishing-Editor of “Weekly Hubris,” considers herself an Outsider Artist (of Ink). The most recent of her 15-odd books is The Visitors’ Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable, now available in a third edition on Kindle. Thirty years an academic, she has also worked steadily as a founding-editor of journals, magazines, and newspapers in her two homelands, Greece, and America. Three other hats Boleman-Herring has at times worn are those of a Traditional Usui Reiki Master, an Iyengar-Style Yoga teacher, a HuffPost columnist and, as “Bebe Herring,” a jazz lyricist for the likes of Thelonious Monk, Kenny Dorham, and Bill Evans. (Her online Greek travel guide is still accessible at, and her memoir, Greek Unorthodox: Bande a Part & A Farewell To Ikaros, is available through Boleman-Herring makes her home with the Rev. Robin White; jazz trumpeter Dean Pratt (leader of the eponymous Dean Pratt Big Band); Calliope; and Scout . . . in her beloved Up-Country South Carolina, the state James Louis Petigru opined was “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” (Author Photos by Robin White. Author Head Shot Augment: René Laanen.)


  • Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

    Diana, we’re awash in verbiage here, from all sides. I just keep trying to tell friends the polls–all polls–now mean nothing; that we cannot panic; that we have to retain some faith in an electorate which, twice, elected Obama. I hope my one, wise, damp finger in the wind approach to life serves us all well . . . come November.

  • Charles Donahue

    It’s good that you have Nate Silver to assure you about what those of us who’ve had no trouble sleeping at night already know, Donald Trump’s unfavorable ratings are too high to be concerned about him becoming president. Why so many seemingly intelligent people have chosen to make him the object of their focus is beyond me?

  • Bill Bruehl

    A Trumpistotomy seems painful but turn it around and it is clowning. All he needs is a big red nose for the world to see the clown. Clowns know they can say and do anything. That’s their freedom. They also know inside they are not serious. They can also deduct business expenses. Business comes first. Trump uses his air force to travel. He’ll say it’s all been for business, bad publicity is good publicity. Should he get elected, and he’s not awfully interested in some job that’ll take him away from his business, he’ll move the White House to a Golden Trump Tower somewhere and delegate national business to staff. People go and cheer him because his clown act works, but will they vote for a clown? We’ll see.