Who Said It: Donald Trump or Norma Desmond?
They’re both increasingly isolated and adrift from their glory days, but only one is a former president.
Over the holiday, New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi produced a compulsively readable dispatch on the nascent presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who has been largely holed up at Mar-a-Lago since leaving office. It’s a detail-rich endeavor, but one particular factoid jumped out: Trump apparently is a massive fan of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, in which Gloria Swanson cemented her icon status playing the role of Norma Desmond: a silent film–era superstar driven to near madness by her own keen sense of faded glory, and whose ill-fated comeback attempt ends in tragedy.
A little too on-the-nose, you say? Maybe a lot on-the-nose. See if you can parse the fact from fiction: Which of the following quotes are from Sunset Boulevard, and which are from Nuzzi’s article? (Answers at the end.)
- “I did nothing wrong...I’ve done nothing wrong.”
- “You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, and the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!”
- “You know, these people forget.”
- “We always have known that this was not the end.”
- “We don’t need two cars, we have a car. Not one of those cheap new things made of chromium and spit, an Isotta-Fraschini. Have you ever heard of Isotta-Fraschini? All handmade. Cost me $28,000.”
- “I think I’ve always been relevant. Like, I’ve been relevant from a very young age.”
- “And who’ve we got now? Some nobodies!”
- “I’m seeing people all the time. I have a lot of people. I’m not isolated.”
- “I believe I am overly generous, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. But sometimes it can make life a little bit more difficult.”
- “That’s a lie! They still want me!”
- “You know, this floor used to be wood. But I had it changed.”
- “I’ll show them! I’ll be up there again, so help me!”
- “I don’t need anybody’s advice! I don’t need any advice!”
ANSWERS: Desmond said 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12. Trump said 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13.