Boris Johnson — The British Trump

by Brian Moniz

What’s the only thing on planet Earth worse than Donald Trump? More Donald Trump-figures taking over other civilized countries.

Last month the world got to meet England’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who not only acts as embarrassing and stupid as Donald Trump on a daily basis, but even resembles him from head to toe. These two men have everything in common, from being born into great wealth and never having to work a day in their lives for anything, to spewing ignorant, racist, toxic language that drives up fear and resentment in one half of the country while one half denounces and protests it. Johnson, like Trump, has figured out the key to soaring in the political world is to be so outrageous and ridiculous that people cannot ignore you.

“I certainly think that as a general tactic in life, it is often useful to give the slight impression that you are deliberately pretending not to know what is going on, because the reality may be that you don’t know what is going on but the people won’t be able to tell the difference.” -Boris Johnson

As John Oliver said on his late-night show, “That right there is the key to Boris Johnson, presenting his own lack of preparation so charmingly that you actually doubt he’s unprepared, but he is.” Does that sound like anyone we know today?

When you present yourself as a cartoon-character who came to life more than you do a highly intelligent, clean-cut politician, people will pay more attention to you not just because you are fun to watch, but because you are so different from the norm. People will confuse entertainment and ignorance for intelligence and charm. When you try to live by the highest standards, the only place left to go is down. When Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren try to stay on a pedestal, the slightest shake or fall will be remembered and held against them for life. When a Boris Johnson or Donald Trump are so stupid that they don’t even know they are stupid, their lack of experience, etiquette, intelligence and manners will be displayed as humorous, cartoony, and fun. Any time they actually do something right, their fans and the media will eat it up as something so impressive that we forgive their previous horrendous gaffes.

Imagine you are an elementary school teacher who has two students that are the polar opposites of each other — one student always works hard, does their homework on time, passes every test and gets straight A’s, while the other is lazy, fails every test and always has an excuse to why he didn’t turn in any homework. When that A-student gets a C on a hard test, that will stand out more than the F-student simply getting another F.

When he was a young man, Boris Johnson was fired from his job at The Times (London’s version of The New York Times) and his employers said Johnson “was the worst employee we ever had.” Boris Johnson was doing then what Breitbart writers do now — just making things up that they know, as they are writing them down, are complete BS simply because they know most people do not follow things closely for themselves or check sources.

Johnson then got a job at the Daily Telegraph and would fabricate stories and gain a following from his creativity in making things up and being so controversial. He was no different than Trump garnering a small following for himself on Twitter before he was President by spending years making up stories about Obama being born in Kenya or forming ISIS.

Johnson made up story after story simply to keep his followers entertained. They were easy to debunk but because he came up with so many, so quickly, it was difficult to get people to pay more attention to the fact-checking than the story itself. Like Trump, Johnson understands that if you tell a big enough lie, it will plant itself into many people’s heads and grow into a tree before the truth can come around and pluck it out. People want to believe that ridiculous, stupid things are true because it makes life more interesting and fun. Facts are boring; controversy and fanaticism get remembered.

There was a moment during the Donald Trump-Billy Bush days when Trump was giving an interview in regards to the sixth or seventh season of The Apprentice, and said that it was the number one show on TV even though it was listed somewhere in the mid 30’s for prime-time TV shows. Billy Bush corrected him on live television and Trump quickly responded, “Did you see last week’s ratings? I was number one for viewers 18–49” then told the camera to go to break. During the commercial break, Trump pulled Bush aside and told him, forgetting he was still on a mic, “Listen Billy, look…look…you just tell them, and they believe it.”

Besides being a liar like Trump, Johnson has no problem using bigotry to push himself ahead, putting people against each other, creating false narratives that minorities want to kill English citizens, and that poor citizens of color want to leech off the state. Johnson came under fire not long ago for saying that Muslim women who wear burkas are no different than bank robbers covering their faces. If Theresa May said that she would be booted out immediately, but because goofball Boris Johnson said it, most people laugh and move on.

After receiving some backlash for his bigoted comments on Muslim women, journalists camped outside of his home to get a response, and Johnson walked out in pajamas carrying a tray of cups of tea, telling journalists, “I’m here solely on a humanitarian mission because you’ve been here all day, and you’ve been incredibly patient, and incredibly I feel sorry for you…because I have nothing to say about this except to offer you some tea,” and the journalists laughed at him, took his offering of tea, and thanked him for it. He turned a troubling moment for him into a laugh with journalists who felt charmed by his gesture. They forgot so quickly why they were there in the first place.

When you are always controversial, you can’t be controversial anymore. Think of people in the United States who make a living off being so controversial that whenever they say anything out of line today, we don’t even care because we have become desensitized to them; people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones, Ben Shapiro, or Tomi Lahren; they all purposely make outlandish statements to gain attention, constantly raising the bar on their own insanity to find their 16th, 17th, and 18th minute of fame. They want to be known as controversial because that gets you booked on TV shows to voice your opinion and people want to hear what crazy thing you will say next. Sadly, this is the low-bar path America has chosen to go down by electing Trump, and now more countries around the world are falling for it, too.

Trump started this “too stupid to be ignored” trend back in 2015 when he gave his famous “Mexicans are rapists” speech, and Johnson now validates the idea that politics around the world are turning away from “elect the smartest people in the room,” and instead are going with “entertain me and you get my vote.” Many people now commonly mistake “entertaining” for “good,” “smart” for “smug and entitled,” and “complicated” for “boring.” Our only hope is that the 2020 election in the United States will boot Trump out and send a clear message to the rest of the world’s potential future leaders that playing the part of “the bigoted fool” and winning with stupidity and controversy is over, and we can reset the bar where it needs to be to ensure that Donald Trump’s and Boris Johnson’s are just a current fad and not a new life-long trend.

About the Author:

Brian Moniz is from San Jose, Calif. He studied filmmaking and writing at San Jose State University from 2010–2013 and got his bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film. Throughout his high school and college years, he worked as a music and movie journalist and critic. Having only recently come out of the closet himself in 2014, Brian enjoys writing about LGBTQ issues. His only regret when it comes to his sexuality is that he didn’t come out sooner.

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