Thursday, November 24, 2016

Don't Spread This Image Around The Internet

Apparently our president-elect doesn't care for it. So please respect his wishes.

1 comment:

Fatty Boom Boom said...

The Trump election will prove more remarkable as a cultural watershed than a political one.

White working class people have learned they must perform an identity or have one imposed upon them. No matter how false, a performed identity will feel more real than one imposed by p.c. alt-whites or alt-right neo-cons, or by fake news sites like Fox News and the New York Times.

Elite pundits who sneer questions like "when will the working class realize they have been conned" have been conned themselves. It's possible to take Trump neither seriously or literally, but still find him a useful tool to sneer back.

The white working class are not the only ones setting aside restraints, inventing new language, and acting out new identities. Their performance will (continue to) overlap, borrow from, and contribute to other communities; communities that the elites would prefer to keep locked away in air-tight cultural compartments. A creative commons is again taking hold.

Our cultural stagnation is ending.

The meaning of Trump isn't really Trump himself. Trump's election renders Trump irrelevant; his election is like Kennedy and Oswald's bullet combined. Trump is over politically before he began. His administration will be the weakest since Buchanan. He will accomplish nothing directly, but his indirect importance rhymes with other eras.

Why was Kennedy important? For political change? He was just another cold warrior, with the same old policies. For championing Camelot high-culture and couture? High-brow was totally swamped by a revitalized popular culture of dissent, free love, and free expression, and a cult of authenticity. Even Kennedy's most important policies (particularly on civil rights) were really Johnson's.

We celebrate Kennedy not for what he accomplished, but because his ugly death marked a breaking point in US culture, a sudden infusion of reality that swept away the delusions of an America that had been transfixed by a fake media reality.

Trump's election represents the same sort of ugly break. College activists who just months ago demanded that executive power limit speech, have woken to the power of unrestrained speech. Their new woke is more realistic than last year's woke, and it has started to look a bit like the older Free Speech Movement woke.

The media portrays these two aggrieved groups--the college educated/endebted young, and the working class--as having nothing in common, and in opposition. But two groups that having nothing to lose may yet share the goal of upending the establishment. If the ending place of the rise of the 60s era "New Left" was estrangement of workers and identity activists, perhaps the current upheaval may mark their rapprochement.

Trump's attempts to curate his image will prove counter-productive, because Trump doesn't get to decide what Trump means.

We do.