By now everybody has probably heard something about George Santos, the congress critter from New York who may or may not be actually named George Santos. He’s lied about, well, everything as far as I can tell. From his family dying in concentration camps, to his name, to I don’t even know what. There’s a whole political rant that could happen, but no, not going there.
No, what I’m interested in is the fact that he’s a poorly written character. Or a tremendously amazing one and you’ll find that he escaped an Elmore Leonard book. I don’t know how I’d get away with writing this kind of character. He’s really a caricature and there’s no depth to him. Figuring out his motivations and goals would be terrifically hard. Is it to get to congress? Is it fame? Or infamy? Is it money? Is he secretly a Russian spy? The reincarnation of the the three stooges all rolled into one?
In many ways, he and Trump are similar characters because they lie. Trump’s motivations seem more obvious, though, which is money, power, and attention. I’m not all that sure that Santos’ character is after money, or if he is, it’s more a byproduct of something else. I do think he loves the spotlight, but again, don’t know if getting attention is a byproduct of what really drives him. Of course, Trump is more of a known quantity. We know more about his family, his history, his general life. Santos is more like Humbert Humbert (unreliable narrator of Lolita). We only know what he tells us, and he only tells us lies.
I can see Shakespeare writing Santos and Trump. In fact, King Lear is very Trumpian. Or vice versa. Santos is comic relief at this point. Obviously not in real life because he has impact in the real world. Remember, this is only fiction we’re talking here. I can see Santos as the principle in Ferris Bueller or the obnoxious father in a Twisted Sister video. The buffoon who is sheer comic relief.
I don’t know if he’d be an evil character in a book or a chaotic character in a book. Probably chaotic because that would mean he’d bumble about like a pinball and sometimes he’d win points and sometimes he’d lose the game.
What kind of story would you put him in and why?