Has anyone seen the video of Putin and Mohammed Bin Salman doing the frat boy handshake? The image of their handshake is burned into my brain forever. I can watch it in my mind's theater replaying over and over. Enter Stage Right, the puppet King of America, complete with orange clown makeup and cotton candy hair. Seemingly unawares, as a puppet might be, of the hands inside the frame.

What do I see in this handshake between these two cartoon villains? I see a very familiar gesture indeed, which I have seen time and again as parody, irony, and dead-seriousness. It is a perfomance, which the modern human male in possession of capital and social power uses, to display his self-assured victory; most often encountered in a heavily idealized "bro" setting like a fraternity party. Except this was no fraternity party. This was a G20 meeting. If the G20 felt to these two men like an appropriate setting to bro out in the open, what fraternity do they think they are a part of? What horizon of good fortune do they share?

Victory over what, exactly? In other words... Surely a man whose skin is so thin that he must stoop to murdering rag tag citizens like journalists, notoriously underpaid and ignored, must be a very unhappy victor indeed. I think I can safely say that many people fear these men, but very few people actually envy them. Like Tony Montana, you expect them to die alone on a mountain of cocaine or mole diamonds. How badly do these men wish they could extort envy. How badly!?

Trump, in my view, is and was always a brand of money-laundering towers. I say that, with my career "background," matter-of-factly. Money laundering happens. I described at the outset of this period in history, this #FacebookPearlHarbor, to anyone who would listen, that I was quite sure Trump was involved in money laundering, and not just tax evasion, but bringing dirty money into his businesses. Because, to Trump, there is no "dirty" money. There is only money. I wouldn't be surprised if Putin made a direct investment in Trump Tower Moscow, a downpayment for a future sale, which could go through only if sanctions were lifted.

MSB and probably Netanyaho invested in Kushner's Dogshit building, which would have sunken his family's entire empire. Who knows what other deals were struck? And just what is so wrong with striking deals? Didn't we hire Trump for his alleged dealmaking skills? Why should we expect otherwise? Isn't it more our fault for hiring him than it is his fault for trying to make us all rich?

In a society that seems to worship wealth regardless of the means to get that wealth, I am at a loss of effective words to condemn Trump's aestheic. He appears "honest" because he mostly doesn't pretend to be a moral creature at all. For Trump, dollars measure the soul of a man, and it doesn't quite matter how you got those dollars. He includes "white trash" in his kind regard, but only because he stereotypes them. They aren't any more or less moral than anybody else. But to Trump, they are greedy lazy pieces of shit ("utility maximizers"), just like he is.

We are not dictators, not mob bosses in America, right? Our royalty got the power that it has through just means. Making desirable and safe products at reasonable prices using economies of scale and fair trade. Our titans are high class. Not petty dictators sitting on golden chairs. But even if this were true, does it matter? Does it matter what sort of rich man we are supposed to worship in the secular religion of "Economics"?

Is dissecting the exact difference between the vulgar bourgeoisie and tasteful wealth going to get us anywhere? Let's just ask ourselves one more time: does it matter how a man or woman got wealthy? Or does it just matter that they look good doing it? Porno tape, inheritance, cultural appropriation, robo-forclosure machine, marriage to an old creepo, stoking fear and resentment, firing everybody, bank robbery? I feel like as long as you have a good Instagram photo, maybe it doesn't matter anymore.

That this even sounds like a plausible argument shows you the moral bankruptcy of the aesthetics of our day. Politicians used to at least give "small town people" the "free" benefit of moral superiority. If it is harder to thread the eye of a needle with a camel than to admit a rich man into the kingdom of heaven, then surely it is more likely that a poor person would be a good person.

Whatever it means that goodness comes with a certain amount of fear and disappointment, for politicians, it was always a numbers game. Many "small town" people they praised were terrible people: rapists, murderers, cheaters and liars. But at least politicians used moral language, hopelessly tainted as it was with classist undertones. And since it was likely to be true, it rang true, and the message resonated.

No more do we even talk about who owns the moral wealth. Maybe because it's just too hard to market real poverty, now that cameras are literally everywhere. Its just not going to be appealing to be filthy, hungry and stressed out, no matter how much "homeless chic" I see walking the fashion runways or how many models look like they might be as hungry as a homeless person at least. Or maybe its that purity doesn't sell anymore and we don't have a term to replace it. Without it, virtue (another old word) is just a pretense, and a cheesy one at that.

What is the difference between a mob boss, a dictator, and a national CEO for oligarch shareholders? I scan the concepts again and again in my mind, and I'm not sure that there is a difference to be had, with the words I can easily call to mind. I see that one of them has tacky rococco furnishings, while the latter one has sleek taste. I can't be sure of any other difference. And maybe that is precisely the victory of these coddled fraternity brothers: At a time where we lack the terms we need to move forward, we have been caught in our own anti-humanities trap. Who can tell the difference anymore between a robot and a real person, when your interactions are mainly words on a screen?

On the Internet, the Emperors don't have to wear clothes anymore.