Authentic Fakery: Who is the new US ambassador to New Zealand?

George Elliott
Originally published in Critic

It’s more obvious when an American is not being genuine. They can’t hide it from us. Chiefly, it’s the accent. We’re so conditioned to hearing it try and sell us things. If the transatlantic Beeb accent broadcasts the truth with authority, the piercing North American accent represents the superpower’s authentic fakery.

How can something be so homely (a mother that feeds you with honesty) and so pretentiously insincere (a spiteful juvenile lying to you) at the same time? At once unveiled and veiled. Indeed, the country has a child as President – one whose metaphorical womb you would not catch me in – but he has a ‘beautiful’ family, the highest degree of traditional values, so everything is okay.

He’s an idiot. But around Trump are a cohort of smart, authentic fakes, who live and thrive in the DC swamp he says he’ll drain. Trump revels in his exposed contradictions, plunges in and out of his scandalous explosions like a masochist and sucks energy from the sheer mass reproduction of his own image. The agents of deceit, however, still try to cling to the idea of tricking people, of nuanced performance. They know that we know but they don’t care and they carry on anyway.

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Cosmopolitan magazine’s 1982 ‘America’s Sexiest Man’ centrefold model, and the new ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa is one such actor. Scott Brown, born 1959, was the first US Senator (current or former) to endorse Trump’s run (Jeff Sessions’ Wikipedia page probably says the same, but hey). Brown owns a timeshare on the Caribbean island of Aruba and – if you haven’t already heard him tell you fifty six times – his daughter, Ayla, is a country singer who was on American Idol.

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