Monday, 6 March 2017

The Donald Trump Presidency is a Reality TV Show

The Donald Trump Presidency is a Reality TV show of the sort that abolishes the difference between fiction and the real. Hollywood looks rather like an outdated American Dream factory these days. Trump appears both like the ultimate director and leading star protagonist of a new era unfolding in real time.

The headlines and attention of the media, as well as controversies, are necessary to generate in order to keep the ratings high. The blitzkreig of executive orders is part of this strategy to polarise and provoke spasms of outrage among 'liberals', those protesters who will spit venom at those who voted Trump.

So the other part of this is to troll the opposition into acting in ways that fit the Trump narrative, that there are winners and losers and that the losers just would be unable to accept his popularity, his victory and his determination to 'Make America Great Again'. They will become the baddies and Trump the goody.

We are seeing government by an entertainment and 'alternative news' agenda. At one level it is terrifying, at another we are all becoming both spectators and participants in the globe's unfolding reality TV spectacle finale. Trump is going to start saying, as in The Apprentice, 'You're Fired' to whole swathes of US institutions.

The trolling is working for the simple reason that the opposition is reacting in ways that serve Trump because it often consists of hysterical narcissists who want mainly to be seen. Trump's next move will be to mobilise his supporters on the streets ( 'we gotta fine crowd of folks out there today people, a real fine crowd').

There is nothing much serious about opposition protests at present.Anyone who has a placard reading 'A Vote for Trump is a Hate Crime" or spouting an inane phrase or dumb slogans such as "Love Trumps Hate" is simply not making a coherent argument or devoting themselves to persuading people why Trump is bad for America.

Much of it is a another mere form of infantile narcissism, the most important aspect of which is 'look at me'. Trump hasn't actually done much yet. When he starts putting specific policies forward with bad effects, especially if there is a drive towards conflict and war,then focused protest is clearly serious and appropriate.

'Make America Great Again'-that's another mere slogan meant to tap into the feeling life in the US was not what once it was, as recently as the 1980s. It's tapping into Reagan era nostalgia and having a 'muscular' and defined role for the US again in contrast to the culture of  'weakness' and 'political correctness'.

Trump himself is living in a 1980s time warp in many ways. Those who feel obsolete and and left behind want to feel safe and secure again. Or have a sense their lives are tied up with a general sense of the US reasserting its power once more, something connected to their lack of it in their own lives as a consequence of neoliberal globalisation.

Certainly, Hollywood cannot compete with this new reality TV and government. Obama's showbiz support meant nothing, its hold over the American mind has diminished and it is becoming obsolete.Who cares what a few establishment luvvies say about Our Donald ? The ordinary folks themselves will become stars of their own show.

February 1 2017

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