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Houellebecq: ‘Trump, Mon Amour’

The bad boy French novelist says Trump is an 'appalling clown,' but the best president he's ever seen


‘Le MAGA, c’est extraordinare,’ says France’s greatest novelist (Argentinian Ministry of Culture/Flickr)

Michel Houellebecq thinks Donald Trump is a good president, and writes about it in Harpers. Excerpts:

On the numerous occasions when I’ve been questioned about Donald Trump’s election, I’ve replied that I don’t give a shit. France isn’t Wyoming or Arkansas. France is an independent country, more or less, and will become totally independent once again when the European Union is dissolved (the sooner, the better).

The United States of America is no longer the world’s leading power. It was for a long time, for almost the entire course of the twentieth century. It isn’t anymore.

It remains a major power, one among several.

This isn’t necessarily bad news for Americans.

It’s very good news for the rest of the world.

Tl;dr: because America ought to mind its own business and quit trying to tell the rest of the world what to do, especially at the point of a bayonet. More:

President Trump doesn’t consider Vladimir Putin an unworthy negotiating partner; neither do I. I don’t believe Russia has been assigned the role of humankind’s universal guide—my admiration for Dostoevsky doesn’t extend that far—but I admire the persistence of orthodoxy in its own lands, I think Roman Catholicism would do well to take inspiration from it, and I believe that the “ecumenical dialogue” could be usefully limited to a dialogue with the Orthodox Church (Christianity is not only a “religion of the Book,” as is too quickly said; it’s also, and perhaps above all, a religion of the Incarnation). I’m painfully aware that the Great Schism of 1054 was, for Christian Europe, the beginning of the end; but on the other hand, I believe that the end is never certain until it arrives.

D’accord! And:

In summary, President Trump seems to me to be one of the best American presidents I’ve ever seen.

On the personal level, he is, of course, pretty repulsive. If he consorted with a porn star, that’s not a problem, who gives a shit, but making fun of handicapped people is bad behavior. With an equivalent agenda, an authentic Christian conservative—which is to say, an honorable and moral person—would have been better for America.

But maybe it could happen next time, or the time after that, if you insist on keeping Trump. In six years, Ted Cruz will still be comparatively young, and surely there are other outstanding Christian conservatives. You’ll be a little less competitive, but you’ll rediscover the joy of living within the borders of your magnificent country, practicing honesty and virtue. (With some instances of marital infidelity. Nobody’s perfect, you should relax about that. Even in the best American thrillers, there are scenes of spousal repentance that are hard to bear, especially when the children intervene. I don’t want to play the “licentious Frenchman,” a character I loathe, I’m just pleading for the maintenance of a minimal level of hypocrisy, without which no life in human society is possible.)

Read the whole thing.

Ah, Houellebecq. The guy is nuts, but no kidding, a genius and a prophet. I’m not being sarcastic (though I’m also not going to endorse his point of view in this column).  If you have not yet read The Elementary Particles, The Map and the Territory, and Submission, well, why not? (Warning: the descriptions of sex are fairly blunt and repulsive, which is more or less the point; but do avoid the books if you find that stuff hard to take.)

I’ve written a fair bit in this space about Houellebecq. Click here for a list of all the blog posts tagged “Michel Houllebecq”.



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