P.T. Barnum pioneered the art of the hoax that is now D.J. Trump’s campaign. Barnum was famous as a promoter and showman and founded “The Greatest Show on Earth” aka The Barnum and Bailey Circus. (More)
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Phineas Taylor Barnum was born in 1810 in Connecticut and died there in 1891. He was mainly known for his circus and his celebration of famous hoaxes. Even Trump has noted a comparison .“I’m a bit of a P. T. Barnum. I make stars out of everyone.”
Here are some of the highlights of Barnum’s career: The Donald Trump parallels are in italics.
* Barnum said of himself, “I am a showman by profession…and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me”, and his personal aim was “to put money in his own coffers”.
I don’t make deals for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it.
* Barnum went bankrupt trying to build an industrial park.
* Barnum became active in local politics to fight laws that restricted gambling.
* Barnum was a supporter of and speaker for the temperance movement.
* Barnum ran beauty contests.
* “Barnum became known as the Shakespeare of Advertising, due to his innovative and impressive ideas. He knew how to draw patrons in, by giving them a glimpse of something that had never been seen before. He was, at times, accused of being deceptive and promoting false advertising.”
* “One of Barnum’s more successful methods of self-promotion was mass publication of his autobiography. Barnum eventually gave up his copyright to allow other printers to sell inexpensive editions. At the end of the 19th century the number of copies printed was second only to the New Testament in North America.”
* “Around 1850, he (Barnum) was involved in a hoax about a weed that would turn black people white.”
Okay, Barnum wins this one. Trump, what gives? How will you appeal to black voters?
* “Barnum’s shows satirized as in a stump speech in which a black phrenologist (like all minstrel performers, a white man in blackface) made a dialect speech parodying lectures given at the time to “prove” the superiority of the white race.”
* “Barnum was an early pro-life anti-birth control advocate and “the legislative sponsor of a law enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1879 that prohibited the use of “any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception” that remained in effect in Connecticut until being overturned in 1965 by the U.S. Supreme Court Griswold v. Connecticut decision.”
* Although Barnum never said, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” he did say, “The people like to be humbugged.” “For his part, Barnum always maintained that his patrons were not “suckers” but willing participants in his lighthearted pranks and hoaxes.”
So, how many Americans today want to be “humbugged?” Has the “Greatest Show on Earth” morphed into “Make America Great Again?” Donald gets the last word: “If you get good ratings, they’ll cover you even if you have nothing to say.”