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What It Really Means When You’re ‘Fucked’

It's not as simple as it sounds — especially not for President Trump

The redacted Mueller Report is out, and already one excerpt has rocketed to prominence as a quote for the ages: When Trump learned of Mueller’s appointment as special counsel to investigate Russia’s entanglement in his 2016 campaign, he reportedly “slumped back in his chair” and said, “Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.” You know, like a completely innocent person would do.

Just what is it to be “fucked,” I wonder?

It’s not always bad, for one thing: When you’ve just had sex, you’re freshly fucked, and feeling like a million bucks. You could be fucked as in “fucked up,” enjoying the semi-oblivion that comes with the right mix of intoxicants. But, in the main, being fucked is not ideal. From context, we understand that Trump meant “I’m fucked” in the sense that millions of us muttered “We’re fucked” upon realizing that he’d won the election — as in, we’re finished, ruined, beyond all hope.

And so we have been. Still and all, life continues. The seeming totality and finality of being fucked, which makes it sound as if something is “over” or “complete,” gives way to time’s ruthless arrow, and we soldier on in this state of fuckedness, without genuine resolution. Trump himself uttered those words in May of 2017, and he’s spent the nearly two years since then insisting that he’s not fucked in any way — not vulnerable to prosecution, not transparently guilty of impeachable crimes and naked attempts to cover these up, not compromised in every conceivable way as a chief executive. Denialism is perhaps his only talent. One recalls The Big Lebowski’s Walter Sobchak, a ridiculous blowhard who, having botched his own idiotic scheme to double-cross some apparent kidnappers, tells his horrified buddy, “Nothing is fucked here, Dude.” Yeah, right.

Unfortunately, in a cold analysis, Trump’s public line has proved correct. He wasn’t even close to fucked on the day he declared himself so, he hasn’t been fucked in the interim and he’s not fucked now, either. If anything, events and operatives have conspired to unfuck him as he endeavors heroically to fuck himself day after day. There is always an escape route — and this, too, is a fact of the fucked: Their fatalism is usually premature.  

No, if Trump is fucked, he is fucked in the way he has been for decades: fucked in the mind and soul, fucked out of humanity, “fucked” as a man who crosses into a dimension of moral sickness and depravity and cruel whim is forever fucked, because redemption is not possible. He will likely evade punishment, will go on fucking up anything and everything, and only occasionally on purpose. We’ll have no victory but the Pyrrhic kind, remembering in the ashes of this country that the guy to blame was entirely fucked.