Music Man-Flim Flam Man-Don’t Trip on Trump!

Music Man 2Have you made the connection between the Music Man, the Flim Flam Man, Tripping over Trump, and the Iowa State Fair?  

Way back when….1962, Music Man, the musical, turned up giving us the flim flam man, a salesman extraordinaire, who comes to IOWA to sell a bogus band, a cadre of instruments, stacks of ‘patriotic red’ uniforms of every size and shape, and music lessons transforming the bored kids of River City, Iowa into “Suzuki Kid” wonders.

Oh, what a splash he makes.  He wows the grown-ups of Iowa City with his promises of a dazzling 76 trombones’ marching band that will distract the kids from the sins of the time, like pool (billiards) and booze and corruption and horror of horrors, the brazen slang that is creeping onto the lips of Iowa’s youth, like: “soze your ole man”, a real shocker to Midwest parents.

He is so convincing, this Professor Howard Hill, ‘music man cum flim flam show man’, that Iowans sign up right and left for the bogus dream of the band…but… are they buying a band? 

NO, they are buying exicitement, hope, optimism, and the promise of change or at least a release from the straight and narrow of forced decorum (behavior in keeping with good taste and propriety) and corseted emotions!

They are buying what they long to hear–“we can be great, our kids can be great, Iowa City can be great!” 

And so, even though a few see through the flim flam, the Iowa City folk just don’t care. They love the show. They love the uncensored chutzpah of this music man selling them dreams and days of just feeling good about themselves and their town!

Well folks, there you have it. Music Man to Flim Flam Man to Tripping over Trump as he barkers his way through the Iowa State Fair in August, 2015, dazzling the many. They show up in droves.  He gives the kids helicopter rides and they too start to believe in billionaire futures, no doubt.

He sells the grown-ups generalities (nothing wrong with that) and points up the sham of the many other flim flam man/s!  He says what he thinks. He promises good times ahead and to love and take care of everybody while making us big and tough in the world once more.

Yep, there is nothing wrong with making people feel good; a new day is a comin’, Trump-style!

And…there is nothing wrong with being a generalist about your politics especially when historically, “we the people” know that even when politicians lay out a very detailed- methodical- left brain- serious- no smiles- no happies- plan, we rarely see it turn into a real action plan. We are usually bored silly.

That’s the cosmic humor of it all.  Emotion feels good. Dreams feel good. Showmanship pulls us from our sleep. The details often bore, assume that reality is immutable, and leave out the backbone of real governance, creativity, that is!

Even in the movie, Professor Howard Hill pulls it off, finds his moral compass (to a degree), and the kids really do march down the street tromboning exuberantly and the grown-ups really do cheer for a new day in Iowa City!

I guess the only fly in the ointment might be if we truly believe that one guy, one leader, one anyone (female or male) can be the Saviour.

Yep, that’s an archetype that seems to repeatedly trip us up and whose shelf-life is waning. Even Jesus had some very good news to sell, but well, the action plan has fallen a bit short.

It has worked for some for the last two thousand years, but… not so much anymore. Lots of promises. but no cigar and yet, we still look for the one voice that will redeem us.

Even many a German (in good faith at the time, I imagine) thought they had found a Saviour who would pull them out of poverty, hopelessness and return their country to greatness.  Look how that turned out!

And as for we democracy types, the past has been filled with voters running to the polls to elect the next Saviour to turn it all around…no cigar!

What’s the high frequency message?  There is nothing wrong with a bit of flim flam, a bit of showmanship, and making the folk feel good, but this does not a Saviour make.

Time to wake up and reach beyond this archaic one MAN SHOWOne Man Show IDEA of governance.

After all, it is the 76 trombones’ band that really made the music and the town proud!


Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.


Be Sociable, Share!