Thursday, January 17, 2019

Trying to upstage the Trump-era White House? Not that it’s all that difficult

So are the Clemson Tigers football team – the so-called national champions of college football for this recently-completed season – destined to come to Chicago to make up for the tacky display that President Donald Trump put on for their recent White House visit?
TRUMP: Turned White House into All-American Burger

Much has been made of the fact that Trump tried to have a meal for the collegiate champion gridders – even though the ongoing shutdown of federal government means much of the White House staff that would cater such an event are among those out-of-work.

TRUMP TRIED TO score political points for himself by arranging for food to be brought in – literally from McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s. Lots of burgers and fries – although some pizzas also were obtained.

It almost sounds like a junk food fest of the type I might well have thought was cutesy back when I was a college kid and the idea of someone offering up “free food” seemed appealing, regardless of what was being served.

Trump himself argued that his culinary presentation was “American” in nature – and that the athletes managed to scarf up just about every scrap of food available. Although there are some reports indicating that the athletes themselves initially thought the display of fast food on silver serving trays was meant to be a joke.

What is clear is that many people are looking at Trump’s idea of “American” and seeing it as downright lame.

EVEN THOUGH, IF you want to be totally honest, there are too many people who consume too much fast food in their diets. Too many Big Macs and generic pizzas are the basis of what many of us eat.

And those individuals most likely are the ones who go out of their way to mock those people who do make a serious effort to eat in a healthy manner.

But no matter how tacky a display the president put on (even though it really isn’t any more garish than the overblown nature of most things associated with Trump), it would seem there are those who will want to behave in an equally obscene manner as a retort.
Something more gourmet than Domino's Pizza?
Take Nick Kokonas, the owner of The Alinea Group of restaurants. He says he’s offended that these star athletes were fed hamburger that they’ve probably eaten many times in their lives. He wants the South Carolina-based squad to come to Chicago for a gourmet meal (speculation is that lobster will be served) prepared by internationally-renowned chefs.

WE’LL HAVE TO see if the team chooses to come. Remember, it’s college kids who might appreciate “free food.” Then again, would they be politically aware enough to want to honor the idea of a White House event being more important than the actual cuisine that was served up?

Or are we destined to go through the Age of Trump with other entities feeling compelled to stage alternate events to the ones usually associated with the presidency – almost as though we could pretend that Trump himself doesn’t really exist.

Remember back when the Chicago Cubs managed to win a World Series in 2016 – and the team wound up getting two White House visits to celebrate. It should have been the beginning of the Trump years, but former President Barack Obama managed to slip in a team visit as one of his final White House events.

I have no doubt many consider THAT to be the real presidential appearance with the team – even though Cubs ownership these days are a batch of Trump financial contributors.

SO WILL WE be getting Clemson University to make an appearance in Chicago?

It could be interesting – even though we’d be celebrating the team that knocked Notre Dame out of the running for the collegiate championship by beating the Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl.
Can they come to Chicago as well?
I could envision the hard-core of Notre Dame’s football fandom in Chicago taking offense to celebrating their ultimate victory over Alabama within our own city limits.

Although I must confess; if we have to have a Clemson appearance in Chicago, I’d enjoy it if the school’s cheerleading squads were included. The ladies of Clemson would definitely brighten up the Second City with their loveliness that tops just about any other collegiate entity -- even the Song Girls of USC.


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