Doug Thompson wrote a piece in the website he founded, Capitol Hill Blue, about Donald Trump, ending with these lines from “Karn Evil 9” by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (1973):
This got me to thinking. The carnival that came to my mind was the one from “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” the ever so dark and harrowing masterpiece by Ray Bradbury. Only now it is “Donald Trump’s Pandemonium Shadow Show” that has come to town. I only hope the real life nightmarish journey through the house of mirrors that is Trumpland ends with the same shattered glass as it did Bradbury’s evil carnival mirror maze.
The heroes of the story are two almost fourteen year olds, Jim and Will. The antagonist of the story is Mr. Dark (aka The Illustrated Man) who bears tattoos all over his body of people he has lured into the carnival where they are trapped forever. The parallels between how he plays on peoples vulnerabilities and how Trump manipulates people are shiver inducing.
The scariest part of the carnival is the mirror maze. Once inside unsuspecting victims are trapped. Again, the parallels between Bradbury’s carnival and Trump’s horror show ring true. Trump has constructed a house of mirrors, but unlike in the story, once inside unsuspecting victims, rather than reacting in terror like they should as they quickly realize they are never leaving, they seem to have been mesmerized into believing that all will be taken care of by the Donald.
Readers of the novel will also remember the carousel which can go backwards and take a an innocent grown woman and turn her into a child, or speed forward so a middle aged henchman of Mr. Dark becomes a decrepit 100 year old who turns to dust. Trump rallies are their own merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels, they look like fun, but will ultimately be dangerous to those who decide to ride the shiny horses or hop aboard for a high flying ride.
There are few lesser evil characters, but none of them are close enough to be a doppelgänger for one of the Republican candidates. However, if you want to stretch the comparison you could say Mr. Cooger (Mr. Dark’s partner) is Ted Cruz, The Dust Witch is of course Carly Fiorina, and The Skeleton is (take your pick), maybe Mike Huckabee.
And then there’s the lighting rod salesman who our heroes Jim and Will meet at the beginning of the story when he tells them there’s a storm headed their way. He’s a dwarf named Tom Fury. He was lured into the carnival believing he’d meet the most beautiful woman in the world. Once stuck there he goes crazy and has no memory of his former life. Alas, poor Jeb Bush is made for that role.
Another Bradbury novel which is relevant to Donald Trump came to mind after I wrote this diary. You probably thought of it. It’s the renown “Fahrenheit 451” where the McCarthyite government has outlawed books and ordered firemen to burn them. Indeed the book was written during the McCarthy era.
R. L. Stine, best selling author of scary children’s books said "Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors. I always tell people that the scariest book I ever read was one of his books—Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
The novel's title was taken directly from a line in Act IV of William Shakespeare's Macbeth: "By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes."