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.