Up until last night, this was the result you received when you Googled “famous writers.”
I refreshed for hours to make sure it was real. And no, it wasn’t some algorithm-y thing that shaped my results. Other humans on various devices confirmed that when you typed those two words into the search box in whatever crazy font you have set on your phone, Donald J. Trump would be nestled all smugly between Ernie Fucking Hemingway and Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
Steve-O King kinda peeked out at the side there, as if to ask, “What about me? I’m prolific. Acclaimed, even!” I love ya, Stevarino, but apparently there wasn’t enough room on the screen. The Big Boss Man sat at number two like the piece of shit he is, but imagine a universe in which he was the first result? Maybe we could slap Bill O’Reilly in there and push Hemingway down to third place.
Since that wasn’t the case, we cannot exist in the worst possible trashbarge universe. Like Donald, we’re right next door, not stylish or organized enough to ever justify all the dank fuhrer memes. In the “Best Author Donald Trump” universe, he’s a sexy combination of Lex Luthor and Mussolini. Completely Capitalist Heterosexual Space Fascism has the galaxy in its clutches. In our universe, it’s more like some rogue scientists made a chimera from King Joffrey (if you don’t get Game of Thrones references, it’s your fault) and the asshole rich kid from the 1994 Little Rascals movie, and Mark Twain is giving him side-eye.
Maybe this is why Hemingway went to Abercrombie & Fitch, purchased a shotgun (you could buy guns at all the hip clothing stores back then. Maybe The Donald will executive order that tradition back into vogue), returned to Idaho, and performed a little at-home dentistry (thanks, Steve-O). Maybe he had a vision of the future, where some dumpy megalomaniac would sit next to him in the halls of Google honor. Hemingway, veteran of World War I, observer of the Spanish Civil War (an activity which spawned one of my favorite books), and unofficial participant in World War II, dreamed of a future where the Commander-in-Chief would be an orange fascist toad in an ill-fitting sack suit, digitally chained to the side of his portrait, and that was an objective too far, a mission he would not dare undertake.
When the old dubya dubya aye aye broke out, Ernie was too old and overweight to join the military again, but he was Ernest Fucking Hemingway so they gave him a uniform and let him tag along. This was no Geraldo Rivera shit, like waving a pistol around and leaking positions to the enemy while the Third Infantry Division slaughtered ill-equipped Iraqis. No, Ernie was a goddamned professional. He read maps and had a keen knack for the lay of the land. He was rumored to have his own band of resistance fighters in France, and he was handy enough to be awarded the Bronze Star for navigation. Thing is, I’m pretty sure they don’t give that out just for finding shit. The only thing he found was the trigger of an M1 carbine, and then some bullets found a few Nazi faces. All on the down-low, of course. This was decades before Blackwater. Back then you had to be sworn in to murder foreigners.
Mark Twain wasn’t happy to be número tres, but I’ll ascribe no visions to him. Something about Ol’ Sammy is too sacred for me to warg into him (possess, sorry, Game of Thrones) and marionette his old bones around. Perhaps it would be fitting, as he once confessed to being so frustrated with Jane Austen’s prose that he would have liked to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own femur. I love period drama as much as the next guy (Poldark, baby), but that little anecdote never fails to amuse me.
As an observer of the American Civil War, abolitionist, anti-imperialist, civil rights activist (what a swell guy!), and arguably a socialist (Hellen Keller fans represent), I have no doubts as to what he’d say about Donnie Dumpo. As for my swill, I’d be terrified to know he had gazed upon it. I wonder how he’d receive the fine art of shitposting? He’d declare it bdelygmia, perhaps. Apodioxis? Entirely. Abominatio! Well, if you say so.
Nah, he’d have plenty to write about Dear Leader if he didn’t request it be locked up for a century before it was published. Sammy dear didn’t always like to insult shitbirds right to their face. Remove Donnie from second place, first loser, and you’re left with the Sam and Ernie show, which includes an interesting little timeline overlap of eleven years.
I’ll go ahead and point out the obvious, which is to write a series of stories featuring crotchety old Mark Twain and young boy Ernie Hemingway. Sam would pass on his knowledge and wisdom while experiencing the world anew, through the eyes of a child, as they adventure across the globe. It would feel a bit like Young Indiana Jones, except you’d have a Doc & Marty/Rick & Morty dynamic.
At press time, Google has repaired this fatal flaw. The results are all old grayscale white guys and Stephen King looking like someone stretched flesh over a skull (this is the very definition of a face but look at him and you’ll know what I mean). This isn’t as it should be, but step one is getting the orange menace out of the lineup. The man hasn’t ever written anything longer than a tweet. Just ask his oldest ghostwriters, who worked for him before Donnie figured out what a non-disclosure agreement was.
If I had his funds and an army of people willing to slave over hot laptops and slap my name on the manuscript, I’d do much better books than how-to-be-a-sociopath guides and capitalist wankfests. You’d have the Adventures of Sam & Ernie, and more. Unfortunately, this isn’t that universe. It’s two steps over from Lex Luthorland, right below Kanye Westworld.