Source: The Recorder, Greenfield Mass, Tuesday, February 21, 1989
Donald Trump: hero or a 'short-fingered vulgarian'?
By JERRY SCHWARTZ
NEW YORK — Donald Trump can buy hotels, he
can buy football teams, he can buy casinos and air-
But he can't buy respect.
Spy magazine calls him a "short-fingered vulgari-
an." Cartoonist Berke Breathed takes Trump's brain
and installs it in the skull of Bill the Cat, the foul fe-
line of "Bloom County," A Daily News columnist
writes that when she needs cheering up, she watches
"Donald Trump do something silly."
The Stand Up New York comedy club devoted a
night to ridiculing Trump. For two hours, comics
drew laughter with readings from "Trump: The Art
of the Deal" and took their own potshots — suggest-
ing, for example, that he bought a Parisian landmark
and renamed it the "Arc de Trump."
The 43-year-old billionaire does not believe he de-
serves this tidal wave of derision, which rises along
with its success and prominence. But Trump — who
declined to be interviewed — thinks he understands it.
"Those Who don't like me don't know me, and have
never met me," he told Time magazine. "My guess is
that they dislike me out of jealousy."
Not so, say Trump's detractors. They dislike him
"He's just an everyday slob with too much money,
he just doesn't have enough taste to keep his name
off of things," said Breathed.
The sequence about Trump's transplanted cere-
brum, Breathed said, is born of his conviction that
Trump "looks too smooth and polished on the outside,
he should look like Bill the Cat.
Trump is no stranger to the funny pages, he also
appeared within the past year in "Doonesbury." Gar-
ry Trudeau showed Trump tossing casino chips from
the deck of his 282-foot yacht, the Trump Princess, to
small boats below. This obviously was not the "quali-
ty" jmage Trump wants to project.
"I did pretty well in school, but for the life of me, I
really can’t understand what 'Doonesbury' is about."
Trump has said. He suggested Trudeau’s wife, televi-
sion's Jane Pauley, "has a lot more talent than he
Critics have found fault with Trump's taste. When
he announced last month that he intended to close
that Plaza Hotel landmark of bogus Hawaiiana, Trader
Vic's — a closing that he delayed when the threat
of the bar's demise improved business — Trump said
he was doing so not because of any hostility to Samoan
Fog Cutters and similar drinks, but because the
bar was tacky.
"Wildly tacky," riposted Village Voice reporter
Guy Trebay, "is TrumpTower with its mean escalators
and pink marble vastness. Does Donald Trump
think a waterfall wall is the acme of subtle design?"
Critics have found fault with Trump’s ego and penchant
for self-promotion. Daily News columnist Gail
Collins, writing about a new board game based on
Trump's wheeling and dealing, noted that "Trump —
The Game" contained "approximately nine million
photos of Donald Trump.
The game is meant "for players 12 and up, and I
suppose there could be worse things to give to your
12-year old than a game that encourages him to act like
Donald Trump. 'Uzi: The Crack Dealer,' for example,"
Critics have found fault with Trump's dedication to
building glitzy buildings in a city where homelessness
-and poverty are endemic. One group staged a brunch
for the homeless this month in front of the Plaza,
along with a "public shaming" of its owner. Trump
did not attend.
But the reigning champion of Trump bashers is
Spy, a New York satire magazine, and Trump has reacted
with irritation and vitriol.
In September. Trump claimed Spy was in dire
straits and would be out of business within a year,
now each issue contains a countdown of “our death
foretold. Last week, an outraged Trump claimed
that the father of a Spy executive had suggested Spy
would ease up on Trump if the Trump Shuttle offered
the magazine to passengers; Spy said this was a joke.
The irreverent and irascible magazine is fixated on
The Big T – on the “eerily stiff hairdo” of Trump’s
wife, Ivana; on Trump himself, who was mentioned
derogatorily in all 10 issues last year and whose picture
was compared in the March issue with the first
police sketch of Son of Sam.
Each year Spy lists the 100 most annoying people,
places and things in New York. One year, Trump was
No. 1; one year, he was No. 3. Last year, he was Nos.
10, 14, 21, 26 and 30, subdivided into Donald Trump,
Candidate; Donald Trump, Acquirer; Donald Trump.
Boxing Promoter; Donald Trump, Author, and Don
aid Trump, Fixer of Things We'd Almost Rather
“We don’t hate him, we despise him,” Spy said this
"He's ... sort of a polyester guy in a 100 percent cotton
world," froths Editor E. Graydon Carter. "He
represents a sort of mass-market, fake sophistication.
In a city that invented real sophistication, his kind is
driving the real stuff out."
Carter is just warming up. He dismisses Trump as
"sort of show-and-tell child" who insists on splattering
his name everywhere he goes.
Carter knows that Trump has become a celebrity —
his face on the covers of news magazines, his book a
bestseller. To some, he is a capitalist hero.
"The folks who watch motivational cable shows
late at night — to them he's a hero," Carter said, "To
anybody who cares about New York, who doesn't like
brass, he's no hero."
brass, he's no hero."