The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Reality TV

I'm not sure how to react to the ascension of Donald Trump, the current (and I believe, short-lived) poll-leader among 17 GOP candidates for the presidential nomination. On the one-hand Trump is a empty suit, a blowhard on steroids, who pontificates about the broad challenges that face this  country, but offers no substantive recommendations on how to address those challenges, other than "The Art of the Deal." On the other hand, if you can believe the talking heads, Trump has hit a nerve among some who are justifiably angry with the incompetence, corruption, and weakness that has been evident in Washington over the past 6 years.

Conservative writer,  Kevin Williamson, ravages Donald Trump when he writes about a recent Trump campaign event in Las Vegas:
Oh, you’re goddamned right this is Vegas, baby! because the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort and Casino is the only truly appropriate venue for a show like the one we have right here [Trump's appearance]. For your consideration: the carefully coiffed golden mane, the vast inherited fortune, the splendid real-estate portfolio, the family name on buildings from Manhattan to the Strip, the reality-television superstardom, the room-temperature-on-a-brisk-November-day IQ. The only thing distinguishing that great spackled misshapen lump of unredeemed American id known as Donald Trump from his spiritual soul mate, that slender lightning rod of unredeemed American id known as Paris Hilton, is — angels and ministers of grace, defend us! — a sex tape. The gross thing is, you can kind of imagine a Trump sex tape: the gilt pineapples on the four-poster bed, the scarlet silk-jacquard sheets, the glowing “T” in the background, the self-assured promises that this will be the classiest sex tape the world has ever seen — that it’s yuuuuuuuge! — the cracked raving 69-year-old Babbitt analogue barking inchoate instructions off camera . . . no, no more, that way madness lies.

The awful, horrifying, despair-and-cringe-inducing real-talk truth that is causing the more mobile and proactive among us to start downloading those teach–yourself–Swiss German apps onto our iPhones and to read up on the finer points of immigration law is that the Donald Trump presidential campaign is the Donald Trump sex tape, an act of theater performing precisely the same functions as Paris Hilton’s amateur porn-o-vision escapade: exhibitionism, theatrical self-aggrandizement, titillation, etc., all of it composing a documentation of transient potency to be shored up against the inevitable passing of that potency. Trump is a post-erotic pornographer, and his daft followers are engaged in the political version of masturbation: sterile, fruitless self-indulgence.
Later in the piece, William acerbicly addresses Trump's legion of supporters:
Spend any time around the Trumpkins — the intellectually and morally stunted Oompa Loompas who have rallied to the candidacy of this grotesque charlatan — and you will hear purportedly heterosexual men working up freestyle paeans to Trump’s alleged virility — those “pussies in Washington” aren’t ready for “a real man like Trump,” as one put it — and cataloguing his praises in exuberant gonadal terms, with special attention paid to calculating the heaviness of the Trumpian scrotum relative to the equipment being packed by, e.g., Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio.
This truly is reality television, and the media loves it. Even the Democrat's trained media hamsters can't resist The Donald.

Steve Hayward talks further about the Trumpkins:
The true Trump apologists are way too far in now. They've invested too much to bail on him. So his defenders will become increasingly desperate to convince people that this is all part of the establishment's failure to understand their anger and the media's failure to appreciate Trump’s appeal.

That’s backwards. It's not that the media have failed to give Trump enough credit; we’ve given his supporters too much. We assumed that at some point they'd embarrassed to be associated with him: If not his slander of Mexican immigrants, then perhaps his mockery of POWs; if not his kindergarten Twitter insults, then perhaps his sad and compulsive boasting; if not his incomprehensible answers to substantive questions at the debate, then maybe, finally, his juvenile and misogynistic put-down of the female moderator

Those who still remain Trump supporters seem to be beyond shame. It doesn’t matter that they’re angry about the incompetence in Washington. Turning to Trump to solve the problems in Washington is like turning to an ape to fix a broken refrigerator. It’s embarrassing, but rather than embarrassment, the Trump followers will feel more anger and their pose will shift from self-righteousness to victimhood. And many of them will dig in further.
It's well past time for the Trump clown show to get the hook. Sadly, that won't happy in the short term, and we'll all be assaulted with more Trump reality TV.