This was well written and I appreciated the references to Italo Calvino and John Champagne’s work. McNaughton’s art is very like the “hypermasculine/divine propaganda” seen in totalitarian regimes (but heavy on the Americana).
There is a tendency to think the tyrant can’t be a buffoon. Even in our criticism of totalitarians we tend to make them exceptional. Larger than life. Monsters ushering in dark decades of oppression.
But the tyrant can be and often is a buffoon. Theatrical, posturing, insecure, and ridiculous. A point made by Charlie Chaplin and more recent satirists.