Donald Trump: Putting the gift in grift

Masturbatory trading cards pertaining to Donald Trump's life and career have raked in a cool R77 million for the former president of the United States.

It was the laugh of the week: Trump’s baseball-style trading cards. 

For there was Trump rendered in full fantastical photoshop: Trump with lasers coming from his eyes, Trump as Statue of Liberty, Trump riding a red-and-blue elephant, Trump with – most unbelievable of all – an actual six-pack, like the wet dream of the alt-right. 

Just $99 each. Oh, what a gift. What a grift. 

I cried actual tears as I watched his “major announcement” on YouTube. 

I mean, folk were kind of expecting him to declare his running mate for the 2024 presidential election or the like, but no. Instead, we got Donny telling us he was the best president ever – “better than Lincoln, better than Washington” – and now we could buy masturbatory trading cards “pertaining to (his) life and (his) career”, like that time he really was a cowboy, an astronaut… 

That’s Christmas wrapped if you know a fan, and you don’t even need to wrap it because they’re not cards at all, or even physical items, but instead pieces of code existing only online, non-fungible tokens, like pictures of baseball cards you can never touch – for $99 each! And all tied to a sweepstake where you could be the winner of a Zoom call with Don, a chance to play golf on one of his courses, or (the biggie) dinner with the man himself. It’s genius. 

It’s madness. It’s $99. It’s R1 750. Surprise, surprise, they sold out, all 44 000 of them, netting a quick $4.4 million. 

I’d say that there’s one born every minute; I’d say that a fool and his money are soon parted; I’d point out that 44 000 fools in a country of 332 million are to be expected; but I would also posit that it wasn’t necessarily 44 000 of Donald’s rabid fans who bought these NFTs.

Instead, it was speculators – even Donald himself – knowing full well that the way to increase something’s value is to make it unavailable, and that the NFTs needed to be an instant sell-out for the Ponzi-lite scheme to work. Now, naturally, they’re trading at far higher prices, these pieces of magical ether. 

I look forward to the next release. I can already see it: Donald Trump wearing the emperor’s new clothes. And with that image – last turkey in the shop, anyone? – I wish you a very merry Christmas.

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