Of course when the eclipse came, the dictator stared directly into it….

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Patricia Lockwood’s “No one is talking about this” is an attention grabbing novel that toggles between irony and sincerity, sweetness and blight. She delves into the portal, which coyly refers to the internet, as a place where she is perpetually suspended in horror and amusement. Her novel notes on her observations of the reality of the internet, how our lives are lived predominantly online. From flat earthers to popular internet memes, the first half of the novel comprises of fragmented content on pop culture swirling in the abyss of the portal/internet. 

What interested me was a specific quote made in chapter 2, it goes “ Of course when the eclipse came, the dictator stared directly into it, as if to say that nature had no dominion over him either”. (Lockwood, 2021)Funny thing enough, the person she is referring to was Donald Trump – former president of one of the largest democracies in the world. This quote refers to Trump staring into a solar eclipse without protective eyewear as others around him followed safety protocol. Trump did wear protective eyewear at the end but it was all due to that one photo that led to an explosion of memes swirling around the internet. The reason why we should wear protective eye wear when viewing a solar eclipse is due to the retina itself. The retina translates light into electrical impulses for the brain to process, but the same does not apply for the sense of pain – there’s no internal mechanism in our bodies to warn us that we’ve looked into the sun for too long. Hence any amount of looking into the sun should’ve be avoided as even the smallest exposure can lead to blurry vison and temporary blindness. (Cillizza, 2017)

The quote mentioned was a continuation of a previous quote where two women were discussing the power and effects of a solar eclipse. In response, Lockwood chose to include the quote about Trump as a dig at him as well. This is inherently obvious with her choice of using the word ‘dictator’. In a certain sense, Lockwood wasn’t wrong about her choice of words. During his presidency, people were worried that Trump could affect the fragility of America’s democracy with his dictatorial proclivities. (M. Walt, 2020). Trump’s evident narcissism, long record of fraud and shady business deals and obvious admiration of other dictators all contribute to that. As if that wasn’t enough, Trump did many things during his presidency that other dictators have done as well. 

Of the many things that could serve as tell-tale sign of a dictator, here are some of the more obvious ones: (M. Walt, 2020)

  1. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.

Trump has constantly made attacks on the press, tweeted about fake news and even outwardly threatened multiple media outlets that he disliked.

2. Building a pro trump media network

Trump doesn’t have his own media company but Fox news is basically in his camp…..

3. Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents

Trump is corrupt that’s that.

4. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard and domestic security agencies

Soldiers and civil servants have to swear an oath to the constitution, not an individual. Trump has tried to get government officials to swear loyalty to him personally.

The list goes on and on, and I am sure we all get the ‘picture’ by this point of the blog. With Trump’s narcissistic and bully like behaviour , I would say it is a fair assumption for Lockwood to claim that Trump is a dictator who believed that “ nature had no dominion over him either”. (Lockwood, 2021)


Lockwood, P. (2021). No one is talking about this. USA: Riverhead Books.

M. Walt, S. (2020, September 8). 10 ways Trump is being a dictator . Retrieved from Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/09/08/10-ways-trump-is-becoming-a-dictator-election-edition/

Cillizza, C. (2017, August 22). Yes, Donald Trump really did look into the sky during the solar eclipse. Retrieved from CNN politics: https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/21/politics/trump-solar-eclipse/index.html

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