So many questions…

John McNaughton

Do you think Trump has ever gone fishing? Ever? If he did, was he wearing a 3-piece suit at the time? What university offers a class titled “Justice Warrior”? The student looks better dressed for fishing than the guy holding the pole — who’s teaching who? Why is he fishing instead of studying? He should know better than to put a book on the ground.

The painter of this bit of propaganda does have to explain what it means, literally.

Is this actually art?


  1. says

    Give a fish, feed someone for a day, teach to fish, feed me because you’ve gotta pay me in fish before I teach you anything. Fish paid? Okay good. Step one, you now know how to fish here’s your fish license.
    And thus Fish University was born.
    I was just gonna say a “give fish, feed day, teach fish, feed me to pay off the lessons” but then I remembered Trump University. And that you pay before you get “taught”.

  2. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    Is it art? Sure. Rather bad, very propagandistic art, but art nonetheless. I’ve seen a number of this guy’s other pieces – and the Cthulhu spoof of one of them ( ) – so I’m not surprised. In fact, this is probably one of the most restrained pictures of his I have seen. I’m confused, though: Why isn’t Trump grabbing any pussies in this picture?

  3. vucodlak says

    Doesn’t do much good to give a person a fishing pole if your deplorable environmental policies have killed off all the fish. And dried up the rivers.

  4. microraptor says

    Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

    A life lesson from Sir Pratchett that contains a whole lot more wisdom than this waste of bandwidth.

  5. says

    Teach a man to fish and you get his fishing license fees as long as you like.
    Anyroad, I wonder why the ‘artist” didn’t depict a halo hovering above teh drumph’s head, I’m sure it’s implied.

  6. Steve Cameron says

    That’s clearly Alec Baldwin playing Trump and not the president himself. I think McNaughton’s doing some next level trolling.

  7. Dave Dell says

    Ron Swanson says ‘Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish…and feed yourself. He’s a grown man. And fishing’s not that hard’

  8. Dr. Pablito says

    Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll spend all day drinking beer in his boat. Or showing you his ice hole.

  9. Dr. Pablito says

    Plus, I don’t see a river or lake or creek or any body of water at all in that Art.

  10. Cuttlefish says

    That looks to be a surf casting rig. That is perhaps the only believable thing about the painting–that Trump would be the one to bring inappropriate gear, while wearing something inappropriate, to do something inappropriate to an inappropriate audience.

  11. chigau (違う) says

    The college student appears to have no toes on his left foot. And the fingers on his right hand are all the same length. Clearly an alien impersonating a human.
    And he is wearing a hoody. We all know what that means.
    Claudia Sawyer #3
    That is too close to fat-shaming.
    Better to note that the hair on the shitgibbon looks like normal, human hair.
    Unlike the real shitgibbon’s hair.

  12. consciousness razor says

    Plus, I don’t see a river or lake or creek or any body of water at all in that Art.

    They’re fishing for tree fish. The really ‘uge ones. That’s the best way to teach fishing. I have the best fishing teachers. Only the best, all of them, and that’s what they all tell me. The tree fish are much smarter than the stupid water fish that any dummy can just fish right out of the water. Who does that? Losers, that’s who. And how are you gonna find success being teached to catch tree fish if you always go for the easy marks? Sad. So much potential, wasted. So, so sad.

  13. Nemo says

    That’s clearly Alec Baldwin playing Trump and not the president himself.

    I thought you were kidding until I magnified the picture.

  14. lb says

    This is not fine art. It’s barely competent representational illustration. My painting professors would have thrown up in their mouths and then kicked me out if I’d come up with something like this when I was in grad school.

  15. daved says

    I would say that the “student” is missing the distal joints of the fingers of his right hand, and may not have a right thumb at all.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    He listens to Trump’s proposal…

    The hidden message in this painting is addressed to Melania T: check that pre-nup!

    Pls note, Melania, that Donald’s left hand is ringless.

  17. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    And he is wearing a hoody. We all know what that means.

    He’s Bill Belichick?

  18. Nekomancer says

    Honestly, when I first looked at the picture I thought it was the college boy who was teaching Trump how to fish! A pleasant thought. What a nice SJW to patiently show Trump how to put the rod together and get him started. Most SJWs I know are like that, caring, thoughtful, and ready to lend a helping hand, as opposed to the grouping hand that Trump always uses. Anyway, if there was a painting to show the humanization of Trump through the actions of a caring SJW this is it! I think this is a whole lot nicer and reasonable interpretation of the painting than McNaughton’s. Sometimes the author or painter is not really the best interpreter of their own works!

  19. leerudolph says

    Dunc@4: “That’s not a 3-piece suit.”
    I don’t know…the pose and the lighting don’t rule out it being a suit jacket and two unconnected legs (sort of like chaps), with no crotch between them.

  20. leerudolph says


    I would say that the “student” is missing the distal joints of the fingers of his right hand, and may not have a right thumb at all.

    He lost them while noodling.

  21. hemidactylus says

    @26- Maroon

    If teally Belichick he’s got an underwater crew videotaping where the fish are and has some rotenone stashed so the surf pole is redundant.

  22. hemidactylus says

    And Putin would have given Trump the Super Bowl ring, which should be depicted in the painting.

  23. Tethys says

    The glow effect shows a Thomas Kinkade influence, it’s possible that TK’s 16 guidelines for making stuff suck were followed in executing this dreck. Article at link contains this gem of a bio and critique

    ” postmodern Norman Rockwell for the evangelist set” and “Putting Thomas Kinkade in an art-historical context is like trying to put Jack Chick in the context of the illustrated comic strip,” says Peter Frank, associate editor of The Magazine Los Angeles and senior curator at the Riverside Art Museum. “In the age of Photoshop, anybody can do this kind of crap.”

    Placing the orange one in a rural, folksy setting is jarring in the same manner as painting of dogs playing poker. No matter the intent, I see it as a young man teaching the sad old man about fishing poles.

  24. hemidactylus says

    Sorry I confused “Super Bowl ring” and “election”. There’s an apt metaphor in that. One was stolen and the other gifted, depending on your perspective.

  25. willj says

    JFC. As someone once said, “Think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of ’em are even stupider than that.”

  26. tacitus says

    Trump in a suit is clearly intended to make him more Christ-like in the sense that when you see Jesus portrayed in this style of painting (like the one on the current HUD Secretary’s wall at home), he’s always dressed as he would be seen when he was (supposedly) alive.

    The rule is you don’t compromise the image of the anointed one just so they fit better into the surroundings.

  27. says

    Give a man a fish and he’ll complain you didn’t give him a woman to cook it for him.

    Though I’m not sure if “government should provide the education and tools everybody needs for their profession for free” is quite the message the artist wanted to send.


    Claudia Sawyer #3
    That is too close to fat-shaming.

    I don’t know. As a fat person, I want fat people to be portrayed as fat. That’s just how we are. There is no moral component to being fat.
    Removing fat in a picture, on the other hand, is making a statement about being fat: it’s shameful and must therefore not be portrayed.
    It’s like when people try to compliment me by saying that I’m not fat. People, that’s wrong. I’m fat, I can see that and so can you, but it’s damn insulting to pretend that something that is obviously the case isn’t true, because by that you’re saying that this plain fact about my body is something I should be ashamed of.

  28. lotharloo says

    Is it only me or Trump here looks like Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of trump?

  29. komarov says

    Sell a man a fish and he’ll be back tomorrow. Teach a man to fish and you’ll be out of business.

    Okay, if your teaching is of Trump quality, you may be able to make ton of money doing both. At least until the students starve, unable to fish or afford groceries.

  30. Tualha says

    Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Yep. Because there are infinitely many fish, and an infinite shoreline from which to catch them, and an infinite supply of wood to cook them with, and a fish contains all the nutrients needed by the human body. So there are no issues with competition, overfishing, resource depletion, the tragedy of the commons, or nutritional deficiencies. Just teach everyone to fish and they’ll have all the food they’ll ever need! It’s simple!

    Yep, sounds just like Trump.

  31. Michael Sparks says

    It’s art, but not very good art. Any painting that the artist has to explain in detail is probably a failure from the start.

  32. davidc1 says

    Teach a man to fish ,and he will soon get sick of eating fish .
    The style!! of the painting reminds me of the stuff in the Watch Tower that JW’S used to push through my letter box.

  33. madtom1999 says

    Teach a man to fish and he will wipe out whole ecosystems before we know anything about them.

  34. blf says

    Given hair furor’s apparent fascination with golden things, I assume he’d fish for goldfish. Probably using a big beautiful harpoon, but not until his aides had exterminated all sharks for several hundred kilometres, and nailed the goldfish to a big beautiful trump logo. Then he’d complain the harpoon had damaged the logo and it’s all President Obama’s fault.

  35. says

    This needs some environmental waste, a few barrels with toxin logos on them possibly floating in the barely visible stream behind, and… not sure what else, but its a good start. lol

  36. kenbakermn says

    Give a man a fish, shame on you. Teach a man two fishes, we won’t get fooled again.

    God, how I miss Dubya. And maybe that’s the whole raisin deeter for Donny T; it’s the GOP’s attempt to redeem their former worst choice. Which begs the question, in 8 or 12 years what horrific nightmare are they going to nominate in an attempt to make Donny not the worst president of all time?

  37. Bruce says

    The caption says Trump hands him a pole and talks about choice. But there is only one pole, so there is no choice.
    Also, the implication is that when we see a guy with a fishing pole during the work week, we think there is a productive member of society. Not.
    Commercial fishermen work for corporations and use mile-long nets in the ocean. This is a lesson either in how to be a “bum”, or in how to have a hobby while waiting for next month’s trust fund dividend. It does not depict anyone learning how to be productive.
    Why didn’t he paint Trump as a community college instructor?

  38. raven says

    Why didn’t he paint Trump as a community college instructor?

    Because people would assume it is satire or a joke and laugh a lot.

  39. Onamission5 says

    Per the explanation accompanying this piece of… art… we are apparently supposed to understand the poaching of fish from parks as training for a skilled vocation and attending college as not-that.

  40. Porivil Sorrens says

    Ah yes, “Justice Warrior”, the seminal reading for all college students. Presumably, written by “Author”.

  41. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    Is this actually art?

    That depends on you. Up until about my 60’s I thought that any creative expression that appealed to me was art. Of course the stipulation there is that it had to appeal to me. But for the last several decades I’ve become a little more objective.

    For instance if a piece captures something, but doesn’t necessarily arouse a sympathetic response from me, I still consider it art. (In fact this painting accomplishes the exact opposite) It’s not eliciting a positive response in me. But at least there IS a response of any kind.

    You’ll find as you get older that becomes more difficult. For various reasons I’ve seen so many loved ones and friends slip into that state of mind where they don’t give a shit about anything. They can’t even give a shit about not giving a shit. For some they just reached that age, which varies, where they just stop caring about mostly everything, for others it was degenerative diseases. But for whatever reason it happens it’s a walking death that comes for many long before the grave. If you’re very very fortunate you see it and you might even be able to make a choice to feel something, anything.

    So if that painting evokes revulsion in you, embrace that. Hate it, revile it and enjoy that you’re able to do that. There will come a day when you can’t. For many that comes well before death. So, enjoy the revulsion while you can because it’s sweet and shouldn’t be wasted.

  42. says

    Did you notice that the young man, who is supposed to be looking in the bait box, is actually BOWING to Trump? And dark shading in the bushes that surround Trump’s head is in the shape of a halo?? I know there are churches in the US that actually worship Elvis Presley, and even subscribe miracles to him. I have seen several articles where the authors describe Trump followers as acting like cult members. In fifty years are there going to be churches who worship Trump?

  43. leerudolph says

    And dark shading in the bushes that surround Trump’s head is in the shape of a halo??

    According to Wikipedia, “In the early centuries of its use, the Christian halo may be in most colours (though black is reserved for Judas, Satan and other evil figures)”. Hmmm.

  44. drivenb4u says

    I’ve always had a laugh at McNaughton’s propaganda pieces. For Trump, I thought he should do one like this –
    Trump, in the foreground, flanked by two Miss America contestants. His hands are firmly on their ass as they wear shocked expressions. Behind them, on the Capitol steps, the entire GOP establishment, with Ryan and McConnell in the lead, are lined up in front of a shadowy robed figure (Satan, obvs) holding a parchment and handing them a quill. That would capture the essence quite well I think. Maybe he could put Romney in there off to the side with an aghast expression, might as well throw the guy a bone.

  45. says

    Mrdead Inmypocket:

    But at least there IS a response of any kind.

    You’ll find as you get older that becomes more difficult.

    Speak for your own damn self. Seems to me you know a lot of people who didn’t have much of anything going on their whole fucking lives.

    A 60 year old artist in cancer treatment.

  46. says

    I agree with davidc1. It reminds me of Watchtower at as well.

    I’m betting McNaugton doesn’t have a clue what socialism is, and claims the Nazis were left wing because they had the word socialist in their party name.

  47. raaak says


    Nazis were left wing because they had the word socialist in their party name

    This debate can get easily derailed because each side selectively talks about some subset of the Nazi policies and tactics as an indictment of the other side.

    Right and left both acquiesced to the Nazi rule at first despite ideological differences. This is not just a question about manifests and beliefs. It is important to see what actual leftists did in the face of the Nazi threat. They did not put up the kind of resistance one would expect from the left wing in a country with the largest communist party outside of the soviet union. This was in part because some leftists saw the Nazis as the lesser evil than the right. I wonder why.

    Also, when Nazis came to power, they implemented some leftist policies. For example:

    Hitler also spent large amounts of state revenues for a comprehensive social welfare system to combat the ill effects of the Great Depression, promising repeatedly throughout his regime the “creation of a socially just state.

    My own personal belief about this is that In general, as long as one was willing to be subservient to the fascist state, they could maintain their little capitalist or communist ideologies. It seems to me the right was more willing to side with the Nazis and was more prone to fascism. Still, the leftists didn’t resist the Nazis as if they were the mortal threat they later turned out to be.

  48. jazzlet says


    This debate can certainly get derailed if you drag it off into a discussion of nazism …

  49. rietpluim says

    No. This is not art. Art represents the personal view of the artist on the world; this painter does not even has the beginning of a personal view.

    It’s not even very well painted. The trees, the bench, the people are flat. They look like cut-out paper board. Their relative positions are ambivalent. The perspective of the bench does not correspond to the overall picture. They’re not really interacting. The only thing quite nice is the background. I’d grade it a C and I would be generous.

  50. justanotherguy says

    Plainly the artist thinks that the “Social” in “Social Justice Warrior” stands for “Socialism”.

  51. KG says

    My own personal belief about this is that In general, as long as one was willing to be subservient to the fascist state, they could maintain their little capitalist or communist ideologies.

    Well yes, if you call ignorance a personal belief. Leftists (communists, social democrats, anarchists…) were the first group sent to concentration camps on a large scale after the Nazis came to power. Following the Reichstag Fire of 27 February 1933 (less than a month after Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor), the Reichstag Fire Decree was enacted. Thousands of leftists (primarily but by no means only) members of the communist KDP were arrested over the next two weeks. Few were ever released. Those of the party’s leadership who were not arrested, fled into exile – where Stalin killed many of them in the 1937 purges. In the March 1933 elections, the KDP won 81 seats but were not allowed to take them. Hitler established his dictatoship with the passage of the Enabling Act (this required a 2/3 majority of those voting, ensured – in the absence of the KDP and some of the SPD who were prevented from attending – by the support of the Nationalists and the Catholic Centre Party. The SPD members elected, who voted against the Enabling Act, were swiftly expelled from the Reichstag, the party, and independent trades unions were banned, and most of their leadership followed the Communists into the camps. Hitler had the full support of the army and non-Jewish big business in this destruction of the organizations of the left and persecution of their leaders.

    It is true that the KDP foolishly and wickedly regarded the social democrats (SPD) as their main enemies, and thought Nazi rule would swiftly lead to a revolutionary uprising they would lead. But no significant part of the left supported the Nazi seizure of power, unless you count the “Strasserite” faction within the party, which was purged in 1934 in the “Night of the Long Knives”.

    Incidentally, your link does not support your central claim that “Right and left both acquiesced to the Nazi rule at first despite ideological differences.”, as I invite anyone to check (while also being aware that the link is to a site of the British Trotskyite group, the “Socialist Workers’ Party”, whose main tenet is that they are the party anointed by history to lead the revolution, and everyone else is wrong – they famously end up destroying any formal political alliance they join (as they frequently do), because of this attitude).

  52. partizan says

    Hi there comrades,

    Long time lurker (first time poster) and admirer of this blog.

    Yeah sorry if anyone’s already made this point, but this McNaughton chap has a very Stalinist socialist realist vibe:,online_chips:hoxha+addressing&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi4k-zX293aAhUhD8AKHTSACkIQ4lYILigI&biw=1280&bih=694&dpr=1#imgrc=n5ITlzALs40OgM:

    Find it funny how reactionary, small c conservatives tend to have the same crap taste in art.

    PS: I’m a committed Marxist (the type who would, hopefully, have been executed by Yezhov or Beria) and not knocking commie contributions to art in general. To clarify, actually existing revolutionary socialist art (i.e. Constructivism) was pretty damn cool before Stalin got his conservative/reactionary/boring as fuck mitts on it:

  53. Zeppelin says

    @partizan, 68: Igor Golomstock wrote a book on 20th century Totalitarian Art. It’s been a while, but I recall him deconstructing very well why and how it all ends up basically the same, from Nazi Germany to Maoist China. Swap out the specific symbols and that painting, style and composition and all, could be from any of those dictatorships.

  54. says

    Trump: “Now son, if you use this cyanide pill, you can scoop up all the fish and sell them to the poor. Then you can dine on steak like me”.

  55. anbheal says

    The kid looks suspiciously like Stormy’s police sketch of the guy who threatened her unless she shut up.

  56. timpayne says

    For non-fisherman, Trump’s fishing rod is a long outdated boat rod, the sort that haven’t left old folks’ garages for the last fifty years. And it is a boat rod, nothing you would use for fishing from shore. So what we have here is a picture of Trump encouraging a student to put down his books in favor of an obsolete tool being applied to the wrong job. Am I giving the artist too much credit?

  57. archangelospumoni says

    Leave it to a simpleton goon rube hick Drumpfheteer artist clown to fail on the simplest language. For example, only such clowns would say this is a “pole.” Any self respecting angler uses a “rod.” And if you ever EVER fish on good waters–good enough to hire a GUIDE–once the terminal gear is ready, you do NOT touch it. Seriously here. You touch the actual terminal stuff and you will get a lecture by the person to whom you paid good money. Not only is this a normal angling sin, but Drumpfh’s particular skin chemicals and hair dye and tan makeup will really repel any fish. Fact.

  58. emergence says

    Really, I don’t support social justice causes to help myself. I’m a middle class cishet white male. I support causes like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo because I care about women and black people.

    Also, notice the blatantly anti-intellectual attitude on display here. Apparently we should avoid real education and just have Trump teach us stuff. As if Trump is capable of teaching anyone anything.

  59. Ragutis says

    A surfcasting rig. In a (presumably) suburban park. That’s just stupid. Someone’s dad (besides Trump’s) never took him fishing. Nor did he ever even glance at an online fishing forum. Might as well ask the Pope to paint a clitoris.

  60. says

    Meh. It’s no worse and probably less offensive in the long run than Rockwell’s four freedom series (four of the most horrifying works of the 20th century) and Rosy the Riveter.

    I see no reason to treat its art status different from Rosy. So sure art.

  61. jack16 says

    Excepting John McNaughton’s title my immediate perception was that the fisherman on the left discussed bait selection with a passerby.


  62. raaak says


    You seem to think that any notion that the German left was to blame for what happened there in 1930’s is a blanket indictment of the whole left today and in the past. The Nazis enacted a bunch of programs that many leftists- even today- would cheer for. They were also avid environmentalists. It doesn’t mean any social welfare or environmental policy should be judged based on what they did or didn’t.

    I didn’t say the German left cheered for the Nazis. But I am less willing than you to chalk the grave miscalculation that led to their inaction to foolishness. A similar defense can be made for the right; that they foolishly thought the Nazis were all about free market and opposing the menace of Stalin. Being fooled has never been a good defense.

    That being said, I concede my comment was irrelevant to this thread. Because this McNaughton guy seems to be the type who would equate socialism with Nazism because some fascist party in the past had social in their title.

  63. gmacs says

    I mean, he’s better than me, but I’m not a professional painter, and the guy should have double-checked his perspective. The legs don’t look like they will meet at the correct places, hands look like they’re the wrong size, Trump-impersonator’s torso is too low and the student is hovering his butt. Does this guy not have models he can call upon?

  64. says

    I’ve seen this floating about the net with the caption
    “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life: teach a man to hate and you make him a Republican for life”
    Much better that way.

  65. archangelospumoni says

    Mr. *Astro (*84)
    Many personal thanks for the timely link to a superb site.
    You, sir, win the internetS for the week. At least.

  66. lee101 says

    Think of the young man as the intended catch for Trump’s hook, and it makes more sense. Being a Trumpite, he wouldn’t even notice he’s the prey. Trump could shoot someone on Fifth avenue and he wouldn’t complain, even if he was the person shot. I wonder whether if McNaughton had just lost $60K in Trump University he would notice.