WANJURAH: Of Melania Trump lies and ice-cream for the royalty dog
Two unrelated events, one in the UK and the other in the US, this past week have delivered eloquent examples of how the bad often outlives the good in public memories.
One of the incidents I’m referring to is Melania Trump running away with the crown of the party pooper of the decade with her plagiarised speech. The other is Britain’s Prince William and his wife release of their three-year-old son pictures to the public.
The royalties, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, meant to celebrate with the public the future king third birthday. But from the three pictures of the handsome kid, a storm has swirled around one showing him feeding ice-cream chocolate to the family pet dog.
It is summer in the UK and temperatures have been soaring above 30 degrees. The young Prince George parents ostensibly hoped their son would come out as a sensitive, kind child helping his dog stay cool under the heat. But the image has stirred a hornet nest among dog lovers and animal rights crusaders.
They have furiously attacked the gesture as harmful and dangerous to the dog. Apparently, canines are allergic to dairy products largely because their digestive system is ill equipped to break them down. That inevitably causes them tummy problems. Chocolate for dogs is a big No! It is reportedly highly toxic to them.
Now the royal couple stands accused of animal cruelty. The Royal Society of Protection of Animals has formally written its complaints. The public attention has since shifted to the poor dog. You would think the birthday was meant for it. The birthday boy has faded into the background.
Following the controversy, I couldn’t resist a chuckle at the glaring disparities in concerns separating different societies. As a lover of dogs myself, I was bemused to read about the said digestive difficulties dogs encounter with dairy products. I have never fed ice-cream or chocolate to my dog for sure. But that’s purely a forced economic choice rather than nit-picking on a dog’s menu.
But I know that on the few occasions I have gone to the village and come across enough milk, I always bring some for my dog and I. Then, on Sunday morning, we each have our share of milk and we are both evidently happy. I have never noticed any subsequent discomfort in my dog. In fact, on the contrary, I suffer the discomfort of being unable to read Sunday papers as the grateful dog is all over me in an apparent appreciation of the treat!
And now to Melania Trump. Her speech, just like the Republican convention, turned out to be a case study of manufactured disaster for the Trumps. The joke is that she should have at least been choosier with her thieving act. Rather than “borrowing” from Michelle Obama whose husband the Trumps dislike with passion, she should have kept the theft in the Republican family by copy-pasting excerpts from Mrs Bush or Mrs Reagan, for instance.
The Trumps have since given a half-hearted apology for copy-pasting Mrs Obama speech. That was after initially sticking to the stupid lie that it was Melania’s original genius. It turns out the wife learned lying from the best.
Writing about Trump’s acceptance speech as the Republican Party candidate, Lucia Graves for the Guardian observed: “It wasn’t that he was lying exactly – a liar is riddled with apprehension that the lies will be discovered, but a bullshitter just doesn’t care.”
Yet this was supposed to be Donald’s Trump speech of his life. Unless he confounds expectations and common sense to become the US next President in the November election, Trump formal acceptance of the Republican Party nomination should have been a career milestone demanding a befitting speech.
I was holding an argument with myself on whether to stay late for Trump’s speech. But when I read that he was under pressure from his minders to stick to a written speech, I lost the interest. You see, a Trump who is loyal to a script is extremely boring. It is like asking Raila Odinga to abandon “vitendawili” and mock football commentary in his political rallies for a structured speech!
Odinga supporters, I suspect, would demand he throws away the papers for a “Raila na mpira” tomfoolery. But at least the Cord leader can get serious and talk policy when the moment demands it. Trump on the other hand is a consummate rabble-rouser who is bored by facts and disciplined conversation. As his written speech confirmed, and just as Lucia notes above, he is so addicted to lies that he no longer knows or cares for the sound of the truth.
From media reports out of the Republicans convention in Ohio, my going to sleep was the wiser option. Trump speech was largely soporific. It turns out the only flashes of excitement were when his crowd-pleasing instincts strayed him away from the written script. At least then, he would fire his supporters with appeal to their baser fears over immigrants and terrorists with a typical Trump cocktail of distortions, exaggerations and inventions.
Melnania act has triggered suggestions that in future conventions, speeches should be submitted via Turnitin. The plagiarism checker is employed by universities to pick out academic theft in students and lecturers work. Perhaps the same should be extended to Kenyan political speeches. I can imagine Turnitin screaming red with its findings!
But I’m surprised that the usually unforgiving media has not hang Melania out to dry. It has eased off her undignified act rather soon. Her husband under-performance perhaps gave the media more immediate fodder for Trump-bashing. It seems to have spared his wife a revisit to an equally embarrassing fact about her.
For the truth is Melania also lied about her education. Specifically, her claim to have graduated in Architecture and Design from the University of Ljubljana in her native Slovenia is a lie. The truth, according to multiple sources, is that she enrolled for the course but dropped out in the first year. There is no record of her enrolling in any other university thereafter. Her CV displayed in the GOP convention sustained the graduate lie!
She would be in good company in Kenya where political opponents first port of call is to question each other academic certificates. But such disputes are inevitable when you have governors and wannabe governors who insist they went to universities but cannot recall a single classmate or have no classmate emerging to confirm sharing a lecture hall with them!
I have since read in a respected paper a claim that despite her model looks, Melania is surprisingly intelligent. I don’t know if that is meant to be a compliment. But I have no doubt few, if any, can today recall any moment of intelligence from her speech.
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