Thursday, 15 March 2012

Coming up Trumps

Somewhere in Los Angeles, in a luxuriously appointed but otherwise characterless room, Richard and Kathy Hilton are stuffing bath oils and bran muffins into a gift basket, taking occasional pause to high-five each other at their remarkable good fortune. The small card, which will be added to the basket before it's mummified in crinkly cellophane, reads "To Donald Trump, thanks for stepping up and assuming the title of worst celebrity parent. It's been a long decade." Once the package has been collected by the courier, they'll call Paris and tell her that the coast is clear for her to resume her one-woman assault on all that is good and decent, free to once again leave a viscous trail of awfulness across all the West Coast's most exclusive nightspots.

Meanwhile, in his towering edifice of gaudy excess, Donald will be left scratching his head - taking care not to dislodge the wooden spars that keep his thatched roof in place - and wondering where he went wrong with his two sons. Every possible opportunity, and the best education that money can buy, just to produce an unsightly stain on the gusset of humanity.

Donald Jr and Eric, a pair of loathsome pseudo-alpha-males with all the likeability of a discoloured melanoma, have been all over the news this week, as images of their recent jaunt to Zimbabwe went viral. Of course, they're not the first to be caught out by a few unfortunate holiday pictures finding their way onto the internet. But we're not talking about Facebook-friending an ill-advised holiday romance, or snapshots of you losing your swimmers while parasailing. The Brothers Trump favoured a different kind of extreme activity on their trip, signing up with a company called Hunting Legend, in order to help a few endangered species edge a little closer to a permanent exhibit in the Natural History Museum.

Keen to demonstrate their rippling masculinity and potent virility, the lads posed alongside their victims, which included an elephant, a crocodile and a leopard. Looking through the pictures is more unpleasant than working in Gary Glitter's local Snappy Snaps - the most offensive image being a shot of Donald Jr holding a knife in one hand and a crudely severed elephant's tail in the other. These once majestic beasts were all bagged close to Victoria Falls, a place where wealthy hunters pay upwards of $10,000 for a licence to kill. And Donald's boys are defiantly defensive of their actions, with Junior tweeting "I hunt and eat game. I am a hunter, I don't hide from that... I can assure you it was not wasteful the villagers were so happy for the meat which they don't often get to eat. Very grateful." Let's try not to think how much food ten grand would have bought the same community, if this is really about benevolent sharing. Besides, they still had to skin and butcher the enormous fuckers.

It's important to stress that no laws were broken. The hunting lodges which operate in the area maintain that they need to control animal populations, and that the money raised through licensing supports the local area. That's all well and good, but as a representative of the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce pointed out to The Independent this week, "The government deliberately overestimates how many animals we have so they can grant more licences and make more money."

Ultimately, the legality of the Trumps' actions is somewhat moot, since anyone who can look through a rifle-scope at an elephant and calmly pull the trigger, clearly has bigger issues to contend with. Whereas most people might view these gentle giants as one of nature's most awe-inspiring marvels, these cunts only see a matching set of umbrella stands.

Maybe I'm prejudiced, since I've never understood the appeal of hunting as a pastime. If I wanted a natty red jacket, I'd go and work at Butlins. And I certainly wouldn't want to spend my time charging through the countryside with a troupe of braying idiots, in the hope of seeing a terrified dog get ripped to bits. You can argue till you're long in the face, but hunting simply isn't a sport. Unless you're willing to concede that firing squads should be added to the Olympic agenda. In a competitive context, the word 'sport' implies a matching of equals, but until the animals get a Humvee with a roof-mounted shotgun, let's not try to convince ourselves that it's anything other than the troubling manifestation of our primordial blood-lust. Donald Jr might declare proudly that "I have no shame," but it's the gaping void where his soul should be that I'd be more concerned with. 

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