I just read this (all credit to Jay Pinho of Al Jazeera America): “The least analyzed aspect of [Donald Trump’s] foray into politics is one that has taken shape over a much longer time frame: the vanishing distinction between politics and entertainment…Trump’s candidacy has rendered image and reality so interchangeable that some voters have embraced his bid as an exercise in extreme nihilism.” My immediate reaction, following solemn laughter, was to wonder if you agree. It struck me as very Coquettish.
Speaking as a Californian, this is nothing new. We’ve already elected Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. Twice. We put the fucking Terminator in charge of the world’s eighth largest economy without the slightest trace of irony, and then we did it again.
We’ve been vanishing the distinction between politics and entertainment since everyone stopped giving a fuck back in the day and decided it’d be a good idea to let Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan run shit. (As far as I’m concerned, California should never stop apologizing for that guy.) Trump’s candidacy is just the next logical step. He fits neatly into the logarithmic progression from Reagan to Schwarzenegger and on into oblivion.
I’m not suggesting we should embrace him. (Although to do so would indeed require an exercise in extreme nihilism.) We should reject him with every fiber of our being. We should call him out as the racist misogynistic fear-mongering capitalist garbage monster that he is. We should mock his supporters as unthinking legions with flaccid minds and facile lives. We should demand better, even from the toxic dumpster fire that is the Republican Party.
Image and reality are already interchangeable. (Duh. Welcome to postmodernity, Baudrillard.) That’s still no excuse to shrug your shoulders and embrace Donald Trump. Image can supercede reality all day long, that doesn’t mean we have to accept an image of the president an angry orange man with a butthole for lips.
We can do better, even as entertainment.
9 thoughts on “On politics and entertainment”
Speaking as someone who lives in the US midwest, most of the support I see for Donald Trump is from terrible people who truly believe that inheriting vast fortunes of money and not squandering all of it is, itself, a virtue. I doubt the overlap between Donald Trump supporters and self-identified nihlists is very significant in this part of the country. In fact, most people who would vote for Trump tend to think their particular brand of xenophobic vitriol and misogyny is morally superior.
I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said, except for the part about having a butthole for lips. It is an insult to buttholes.
“flaccid mind and facile lives” hoo nice
‘Angry orange man with a butthole for lips’
I quite like that description.. Might borrow it for future discussions on Trump.
Don’t know if you left in “supercede” as a nerdsnipe or descriptivist stance (or a mistake, I acknowledge it’s possible), but if it’s the former, IT WORKED. Just spend way too long researching it. Still think it’s wrong, but I’m less sure than I was 20 minutes ago.
It was a deliberate use of the word, but I’m curious why it jumped out at you. At what level did you read it as “wrong”?
Trump, Corbyn, Sanders, every one of them has that artificial flavour of authenticity to them that resonates with the times. I want a race of Sanders versus Trump(rather him than any other donorcrat dicklick du jour), if only to accelerate the polarization of the country to the point that folks will jump ship to Sanders as they wake up to the rot in the moral fabric of it, and then president Sanders can take the first step into reigning in the oligarchy. Clinton versus Bush would be predictable, but horribly depressing.
Let’s not leave Minnesota off the list for electing Jesse Ventura…
My step-daughter sent me an exquisite site yesterday suggesting Trump has Alzheimer’s. I cannot disagree.