Penn Jillette on Donald Trump

Penn Jillette on Donald Trump, last August, on the The Joe Rogan Experience:

More than most things I’ve read and watched about Donald Trump, I found Pillette’s insights useful.

Speaking about Trump’s qualities that recommended him as a host of The Apprentice, where Jillette was twice a contestant:

You want someone capricious, and crazy, with no filter. That’s what you want.

And that’s what we got.

And so he makes arbitrary decisions… you know, the human brain tries desperately to make those make sense, and that ends up being some kind of entertainment. 

Donald Trump got elected President because there was enough of an audience who wanted to see what would happen in his next episode. I have a close colleague, a now-deeply-remorseful Trump voter, who admitted as much to me about his own reasons.

Jillette continued:

Donald Trump Jr. said to me “of all the people we’ve had on the show, you seem like the only person who’s ever liked my father.”

He said “you actually seem to like him.”

I said, you know, I have a fascination and a respect and a, um, affection, for people who are able to get out of their filters.

And I said some people do that with pure genius, like Bob Dylan, some people do it with bravery, like Lenny Bruce, some people do it with drugs, Neil Young, perhaps, Jimi Hendrix, perhaps, and most people do it with a mixture of stuff.

But I said, Thelonius Monk said “genius is the one who is most like himself.”

And I said, with some sort of mental problems, coupled with, um, greed, and a lack of compassion, your father has somehow found a way to throw off the filters. 

I’ve long maintained that “entrepreneurship” is, at its core, a learning disability: it’s not the presence of some elusive business genius, it is simply common sense coupled with an inability to care what other people think. Trump is the prime example of that. As Jillette rightly points out, this learning disability is similarly useful for creating great art, theatre and music.

Unfortunately for the world, this learning disability does not equip one to be an effective President of the United States.