So the Doomsday Clock has shifted 30 seconds closer to midnight following the election of Trump to the US Presidency, but ironically I actually think there's cause for optimism.

The US has finally reached that point where its become a caricature of itself and, as history has shown us, empires crumble from within rather than being destroyed from the outside.

It reminds me of a quotation from a book I've read about half a dozen times; Mark Kram's 'Ghosts of Manila', about the blood feud between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. The quotation isn't Kram's; it's by the Greek poet Aeschylus whom he quotes on the opening page before he begins telling his saga.

"So in the Libyan fable it is told that once an eagle, stricken with a dart, said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft, with our own feathers, not by others' hands, are we now smitten".


Of course, as the narrative unfolds it becomes clear the fable is pertinent to the story of these two mighty athletes, whose rivalry culminates with the meting out of 14 rounds of brutal punishment in the oppressive Manila heat, as they literally stop just short of killing each other.

It's a cautionary tale that can be applied to many other historical situations, and even more prescient, can act as a harbinger of things to come. Case in point - Trump and the current situation in the United States.

Again, it's with a healthy dose of irony that a bird could prove to be as destructive to the President as the dart that spelt the end of the eagle in the Libyan fable; a little, white, faceless bird that goes by the name of Twitter.

Trump basically ran his Presidential campaign via that particular social media platform and continues to use it unabated and unchecked.

There's barely a day goes by when he doesn't launch into another semi-illiterate rant espousing yet another myopic view on a range of topics. Ignorance barely scratches the surface.

Of course politicians, celebrities, sports stars and anyone else with a profile is widely encouraged to use social media, especially Twitter, to boost their individual brand. But there must a point where it becomes detrimental to said brand. Trump's reach via the medium is formidable but it also means the masses are able to 'have their say' as it were.

Just recently Trump Hotels asked the internet to share a favourite travel memory. It just happened to be at around the same time the owner was signing an executive order to ban Muslims from entering the country. The result was a savage reprisal from the Twitterati who, as they say, 'ripped him a new one'.

But even if we accept the fact that grammar and spelling aren't the President's strong points, you would expect his Press Secretary to be a little more literate. But no. He's not.

Earlier this week Sean Spicer retweeted a video he thought was praising him. It wasn't. To start with it originated from a very well-known satirical site called The Onion. The video said Spicer's role in the Trump administration is to provide the American public with robust and clearly articulated misinformation. He retweeted it with the words, "You nailed it. Period!" Whether it was ironic or not, it sent the Twittersphere into a tail-spin, as you can imagine.

I've also recently witnessed an example of merciless ridicule heaped upon one of my weekly correspondents, Mid Canterbury's Craig Wiggins. A staunch rodeo man, he raised the ire of some anti-rodeo people when one of them didn't stand for the national anthem at a recent event.

He admits he "called them out" in front of the crowd. His opinion is everyone should stand in public as the hymn represents our nation's status as a free one; mine is that status means people can sit, stand or do an Irish jig of they so please.

What followed on Twitter though was an extraordinary outburst that even made me blush! Under a photo of a fat man on a horse, which wasn't actually Wiggy, people went nuts. I can't transcribe it here for obvious reasons but let's just say it went along the lines of calling Wiggy's parentage into question, mercilessly body-shaming the hell out of him and suggesting cruelty to animals for housing his considerable bulk on the back of the poor horse!

It did provide Jamie Mackay and I quite a few laughs, but only 'because we knew it wasn't the 'Ol Wiggo on the back of the nag. (And 'because it was quite funny!)

The point is, to quote Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, "you play with matches, you get burned". People are inclined to hang themselves if you give them enough rope and the rate Trump and his administration are going he's spinning enough twine to take a fateful leap off the Statue of Liberty in no time at all.

It's my guess he'll go so stark raving mad he'll virtually self-combust and then maybe we could set that clock back another 30 seconds.