“Read a Damn Book – 077: Sh*t My President Says”
I’m a huge fan of the Too Much Coffee Man comic, and I was hoping that its creator, Shannon Wheeler, was going to be at the I Like Comic Con a few weeks ago so I could say hi and buy a copy of his new book, Sh*t My President Says. Unfortunately, I only made it to the convention on Saturday, and Mr. Wheeler wasn’t able to be there until Sunday. Luckily, my daughter Frankie and her husband caught him on Sunday, and he signed a copy of his new book for me!
Wheeler is a brilliant artist and cartoonist, and he’s plumbed the heights of existential angst (for laughs) in Too Much Coffee Man, but in this new book, he’s taken his work in a different direction. (Although the existential angst is still there in spades…) According to the introduction to this book, Wheeler has read through over 30,000 tweets by Donald Trump, going back to 2012. Wheeler then collects a carefully curated series of these little bits of Mr. Trump’s personality and uses them to tell the story of a shallow, self-centered, self-aggrandizing little man, and he uses his considerable skill as a cartoonist to illustrate that story. The resulting cartoons are somehow horrifying, funny, and sad all at once.
Wheeler’s art style is clean and expressive, focusing on the figure of Trump, and incorporating minimal background and just a few “props” into each illustration, usually just enough to make a visual gag out of whatever Trump has written. Each tweet included in this book shows the date that it was published, and in many cases, Wheeler groups several tweets together that share the same theme, giving the reader a direct look at Trump’s brain, and how Trump’s “thoughts” evolve over time. Trump comments on a number of topics, some of national importance, some as trivial as celebrity gossip. He writes garbage, like global warming isn’t real, that vaccines are dangerous to children, that wind turbines are “disasters” for the environment, and so on… It’s horrible, considering that he’s now in a position to push these awful beliefs on innocent citizens.
Meanwhile, Wheeler usually draws Trump as a child---impetuous, overconfident, and often with a frown on his face. (If the man wasn’t so unpleasant, you’d almost feel sorry for him.)
This book is funny, but also apocalyptic. In truth, it’s dark, but it’s also an important collection in that it catalogs a great many of the terrifying and trivial things that Trump has written. And it’s quite a feat that Wheeler is able to make a book that so expertly lampoons a would-be tyrant, using Trump’s own words to point out his deficiencies.
The book is a very quick read, and the artwork is brilliant, of course. The humor here is barbed, though, and despite these being Trump’s own statements, I’m certain that most Trump supporters won’t be happy with this book. (I am NOT a Trump supporter.) But if you enjoy satire and political cartoons, especially when the cartoons are well drawn, then Sh*t My President Says is going to be right up your alley.
---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Commander in Cheap of The P.E.W.)
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