Photo of the week: Tinhorn kitsch at its worst
A dispatch from The Old Dominion, from a 200-year-old room designed by Thomas Jefferson and built by his slaves and the slaves of his neighbors.
It doesn't get much worse than this, insofar as ridiculousness and bad taste are concerned: a tinhorn dictator reviewing ridiculously dressed soldiers somewhere in Latin America.
One dictionary definition of "tinhorn": "a cheap pretentious person with extravagant claims."
You won't get any apologies from me for the politically incorrect terminology. Incorrectness is absolutely necessary in this case.
At a certain age, one can lose certain filters in the brain-to-tongue connection. It's not a physiological change, perhaps, but one shaped by life's experiences. At a certain point, after so many years on earth, you can spot a bad toupee when you see one.
I saw one yesterday, in West Haven, Connecticut, on the head of a man about my age.
Your years of experience let you know the difference between black and white, despite all the shades of gray in between. At that point, you can also realize that calling a spade a spade trumps any other considerations, especially if people's lives are at stake. You see your neighbor bullied by thugs, you call the bully a bully and ridicule him.
What most bullies never realize is that they tend to be ridiculous, and that this is why they can't stand being ridiculed. Bullies are nothing other than cruel buffoons. They ooze insecurity, and that oozing is an acid that burns all touched by them.
Which brings us to Nicolas Maduro and this buffoonish photo above. Is there anything more ridiculous than a tyrant posing with soldiers dressed as characters from a low-budget 1930's matinee serial? Does it really matter whether the soldiers are Venezuelan or Peruvian or Bolivian? Is there anything more kitschy, more ridiculous, more redolent of "tinhorn-ness" or "tinhorn-hood" or "tinhorn-ninity" or whatever you want to call that cheap kitschy overkill that is the very essence of a bully's sense of good taste and self-esteem?
Nah. I don't think so. I have reached a certain age. I understand the liberating power of incorrect words -- liberating for the one uttering them, potentially liberating for those being bullied.
If Maduro were bald, he'd be wearing a really bad toupee. No doubt about it.
And if you're familiar with the Marx Brothers film "Duck Soup" you will immediately understand why the photo above cries out to be captioned "Hail, Hail, Freedonia!"