Everybody knows and loves Tom Hanks. We were sleepless in Seattle. We got mail. We were stranded on an island. We miraculously landed a jet liner on the Hudson River. What’s not to love about Tom Hanks?
Tom Hanks also became big. As it turns out he did so on the boardwalk at Rye Playland near where I live and where there now happens to be a museum for children. Unfortunately, there is no sign to mark the transformation and no Zoltar to attract the tourists.
The story of a child in the body of a man is not a Peter Pan story. It is a different genre of story. At this point in time it deserves special notice. Big is not simply a Hollywood story, an amusing tale about a circumstance that cannot possibly happen it real life. It can and did happen in the real world so it is instructive to compare the two versions of a (male) child in the body of a (male) adult: the Hollywood version and the White House version.
Tom Hanks has a really big secret; does our President? Let’s examine the story situation item by item.
1. Tom Hanks is a child in the body of an adult
In the movie the transformation occurs overnight; in real life it happened day by day over decades. It is hardly unique or unusual now to acknowledge that a child inhabitants the White House (when he is not off playing elsewhere). On the contrary, it actually is fairly routine for people to refer to the White House occupant as child-like, childish, a four-year old, or a fourth grader. However, these comments miss the point. He is not childlike, he is a child. In the movie version, Tom Hanks still was a child although to outward appearances he was an adult. A brain scan on the adult Tom Hanks would have revealed his mind was that of a child. The same is true in the real world version.
I think our child president can best be characterized as a 7th grader. I know many people propose lower ages and grade levels. But, given the importance of sex to him, 7th grade seems more appropriate than the younger ages. The so-called “locker room banter” is not that of a professional sports team locker room. The so-called “locker room banter” is not that of college team locker room. The so-called “locker room banter” is not that of high school locker room with all due respect to Porky’s.
The “locker room banter” is that of a 7th grade gym locker room where boys will be boys.
The obvious consequence of this phenomenon has escaped the news media. If you want to know why a 7th grader does something, what he was thinking, who are the experts one should consult? The answer of course is a 7th grade teacher, a junior high school guidance counselor, and a child psychologist. Who are the people you never see on the cable talk shows? A 7th grade teacher, a junior high school guidance counselor, and a child psychologist. Instead you see people with no expertise in this field claiming to be able to understand what the child is thinking. As the example of the locker-room banter analysis illustrates, these TV commentators are clueless.
2. Tom Hanks is a level-headed child in the body of an adult male
What misleads people in gauging his age beside sex is recognizing that we are not dealing simply with a child in the body of an adult in the White House and playing golf, but with an immature child. It is not that he just is a 7th-grader but that he is an immature 7th-grader. Think back to when you were in 7th grade. Do you remember the class smart-aleck/dumb-aleck? Were you the class smart-aleck/dumb-aleck? Sometimes the class clown can be spot on and the comment really is funny, maybe even insightful (“Low Energy”); sometimes the comment is just plain stupid (“Pocahontas”). Overall the batting average tends to be pretty low and the smart-aleck/dumb-aleck can be an embarrassment. Now he has twitter.
Recognizing that he is not only a child in the body of an adult male but an immature child is critical to understanding his decision making. He genuinely is not capable of the type of thinking one normally associates with a leader. He is limited to a superficial, simple-minded perception of the world because he still is the immature ignorant person he was as a 7th grader. As an immature child he can only react to the immediate. That’s why it’s effective to be the last person to speak to him. That’s why he sends hissy-fit tweets. Presidents are expected to have outgrown childhood, but suppose you can’t? It’s not fair to judge him on adult standards since he isn’t one.
3. Tom Hanks is an intelligent child in the body of an adult
The odds are Tom Hanks knew that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. He probably knew that 306 Electoral College votes wasn’t a landslide either. He certainly knew how to explain algebra to a young child using Larry Bird shooting a basketball to convey mathematical concepts. He was able to participate in an adult conversation over dinner about the four ships of Columbus based on his having just read about it and not have to get a ten-minute tutorial from an adult to learn about history. Tom Hanks as a child in an adult body was capable of reading a book.
4. Tom Hanks as a child in the body of an adult has the job fit for a child
Tom Hanks’s job was to play. His job was to utilize what appeared to adults to be his child-like sensibilities to play with toys. He job was to maximize their economic value by designing toys that better appealed to actual children. The joke was that no one realized he really was a child. Still, no one ever considered putting him in charge of the manufacture of toys. No one ever considered putting him in an administrative position. He had the perfect job that matched his abilities: being a child.
As a child, even a level-headed intelligent one, Tom Hanks did not have the mental necessities to handle the complexities of the adult world. He could only deal with bilateral one-on-one relationships because his mind had not yet matured to the point where he could effectively understand yet alone participate in collaborative ventures. He still was a child. For an ignorant immature child the international arena simply is too overwhelming for a limited brain to comprehend. The most he can handle is a few (1 or 2) narrowly-defined talking points if lucky and even then they might be too overwhelming for him causing his head to explode. Besides the smart aleck/dumb aleck knows that he is smarter than everybody else in the room and what seems hard to others really is easy to him.
As an intelligent level-headed child in the body of an adult, Tom Hanks knew the difference between work and play. He had no objections to fun and chaos but no one would ever put him in a position where he had to managed adults or function in an organized manner. He hadn’t yet reached the maturity where he could do such things. That time was still off to the future. By contrast, the ignorant immature child in the body of man now in the White House when he isn’t out playing golf, never reached that level of maturity. He is only capable of chaos. It is not a management-style choice by adult, it is the limit of his mental capabilities as an immature child.
Why do young drivers pay higher automobile insurance?
Why do young drivers have more accidents?
Why do young people always say “I didn’t think of that”?
Part of maturity is understanding that there are consequences to actions. Part of maturity is understanding that an action doesn’t only occur for a moment and for you, but affects other people. Children are not prosecuted as adults because they lack the capacity to know right from wrong and to recognize that actions have consequences. They simply lack the mental necessities to function as adults and are not expected to (excluding the stories of the parentless children where the oldest now has to act as the parent to the younger siblings). Children have imaginary friends. Children make up stories. Eventually they outgrow them except for those who become novelists, comic book writers, or who write screen plays in Hollywood who can tap into that childhood sensibility.
As it turns out, another venue for the expression of such stories is in professional wrestling. In that arena, the character of “the Donald” has proved to be a slam dunk winner! In the professional wrestling arena and the artificial Apprentice boardroom, the ignorant immature child had the perfect jobs to match his abilities. Who knew it would successfully play in the real world? How inferior a candidate and political party would you have to be to let him get away with being an ignorant immature child? That’s deplorable.
5. Tom Hanks knew he was a child in the body of an adult and wanted his own life back
By contrast, the ignorant immature child-President is clueless. The adage about “when you’re in a hole stop digging” doesn’t apply to an ignorant immature child who lacks the mental necessities to realize that he is in a hole.
Consider how proud he is of concocting the defense that adoptions from Russia was the topic of conversation both by him and by his son. See how clever he was in linking the two Russian conversations around the same item. See how noble and uplifting he was in his expressed concern for the unfortunate childless Americans desperately seeking babies to adopt and how he will be their savior. What collusion? There was no collusion? He was talking about adoptions and not the removal of the sanctions on Russia that led to the Russian ban on adoptions in the first place. Can’t everyone see that? Our ignorant immature child-President is incapable of realizing he has admitted the main topics were sanctions and getting the dirt on his opponent. Now his son will face the choice under oath of trumping to protect his father or to tell the truth and expose his father as a trumper.
In the movie, all’s well that ends well (except perhaps for Tom Hanks’s adult love who is now alone and may have to wait ten years until he becomes an adult in the sequel that was never made). In real life, we are not so lucky. Some of the silliest comments made on the cable talk shows have been “Now he has become presidential” or words to that effect. One has to laugh at the absurdity of such remarks. He was an ignorant immature child when his father sent him to military school in the vain hope that he would man up. He is an ignorant immature child now. He will be an ignorant immature child when he dies. And he still could be reelected in 2020 if the Democrats keep blaming Putin for their defeat and don’t have the vision to confront the shortcomings of their candidate and their party’s message.