- Den Brock takes on Donald Trump 



This is the first chapter of what is identified, collectively, as The NEXT THRILLING CHAPTER. In fact, no individual chapter bears that title... 



I kind of wish I’d just called it A MOVIE SERIAL, but I hoped people would be able to find it online if they were interested.



Anyway, a first draft of the script was written late in 2021, and the first chapter was a standalone test run, to see whether it was feasible to proceed with the project. It’s a bit rough, but I’m easily feased, so, like an idiot, I went ahead.

     But I might as well explain how it came about in the first place.



Back in 2020, on September 18, the Denboro Collective released a set of three tracks on Bandcamp, under the title,


No Rights Reserved


The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance, and You’re Disturbing My Sleep


The set was accompanied by a short explanatory text that read,


These three tracks are available for free download.


I might pretend this is because they were made as a public service, but really it’s no more than a small exculpatory gesture, because when my grandchildren ask me, what were YOU doing in 2020, what am I going to say?


Oh, I put out another album of “music” (if you want to call it that) that nobody was listening to.


“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” -- John Philpot Curran


And when they look at me with their big, horrified eyes, I’m not going to pretend I was so far from or so near to what was going on that I couldn’t tell this was history in the making -- one of those moments you need to stand up because you can see just how much worse things can get.


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -- George Santayana


So here’s something to mark the U. S. Presidential Election of 2020.


“You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time...” And a guy who’s not too fussy about what’s true and what’s not can do a lot with that. 


Brock, for many years determinedly apolitical, and largely tuned out from the mass media, had become aware that Donald Trump was very loudly and very determinedly telling supporters he could only lose the upcoming election if it was stolen.

     Trump also refused to confirm whether he’d abide by the results of the election if he lost. Casting doubt on the electoral process, he primed supporters to be suspicious, to see fraud in anything they were suspicious of, and to support his refusal to accept defeat.

     “I’d have been pleased, after the election” says Den Brock, “to discover I’d simply given rein to an overactive imagination. But the first track, made entirely out of Trump’s voice, ends with him saying, ‘I’m not a good loser, I don’t like to lose.’ And that was the point.

     “As we all got to watch it play out over the two months leading up to January 6, 2021, I worked out it’s not a happy day when, for once in my sorry life, what I was afraid might happen happens.”

     Brock’s concern about the implication of Trump’s strategy was concisely set out in the text that accompanied the second track:


It may seem odd to say it, but when you compare Donald Trump with Adolf Hitler, it shows Trump in a good light. It’s true that Trump, like Hitler, is a crowd-pleasing rabble-rouser who likes big rallies, lies without conscience, encourages viciousness and stupidity, vilifies and demonizes his political opponents, subverts the rule of law, promotes racism, and talks a lot about the greatness of his country. But Hitler promised his followers a thousand-year Reich, whereas Trump has rather more modestly invited his followers to chant, “Twelve more years.”

     A rare display of historical acuity: it took Hitler only twelve years (1933-45) to lead Germany through the dream of glory, to defeat and ruin.



But it was the third track, Tiamat—more abstract, more interesting, to my mind, and less abrasively direct than the other two—that gave rise to The NEXT THRILLING CHAPTER. I wondered whether it might serve as the soundtrack for something, and gave some thought to what kind of a short film could make use of it. I got an idea, and Den said sure, go ahead.

     The idea was pretty simple. A lot of Trump’s supporters are convinced the world’s going all to hell—and don’t expect me to persuade anyone it isn’t—but the solution they appear to entertain is infantile and pernicious: if someone could only change things back to how they were before the rot set in, etcetera, etcetera. Donald Trump being the man to do it, of course.

     What’s wrong with this solution is the rot goes all the way back, through human history. There never was a time when things were just hunky dory. People who believe there was are probably confusing human history with that period in their childhood when their parents told them there was nothing to worry about, and they didn’t know any better, so they believed it. Obviously, Trump encourages this confusion for the sake of cultivating support, by promising hope of salvation to people made anxious in a difficult world. But what if, is the premise of the first chapter—what if, at some level, Trump is sincere?

     Setting aside for a moment the fact that lying comes as naturally to him as breathing, it’s not so far-fetched. A petulant child, long accustomed to being indulged and getting his way, his original childhood was from the mid-1940s to the late 1950s, when television was black & white, and so were most of our values. And back to the 1950s is where he wants to direct his followers—to a time when the American empire was rising, and the West and the Second World War were still being won in the movies, on television and in comic books, and the good guys were the good guys and the bad guys were the bad guys, and the good guys won in the end.

     Of course that’s a grotesquely simple-minded view of the nineteen fifties. But let’s take the simple-minded view is where I started, because what puzzles me about the people so desperately determined to go back to when the good guys won in the end is how they manage to pretend Trump isn’t one of the bad guys—a self-interested and relentless liar, and, since 2020, when his pride was wounded, a would-be destroyer.

     So I made an old-fashioned movie serial, with black & white values, where good guys go up against a dangerous villain who represents a menace to society. And Trump’s the villain, why make any secret about it?


     And that’s the essential hypothesis the serial sets out to test. All the rest is fun and games, of a sort...