Friday, March 30, 2018

March, 30th

Trump is a terrible politician. Not only is he incompetent, but he seems to have major ideological shifts from one day to the next. He is, however, a skilled culture warrior. He’s one of the best in modern history, as he’s spent his entire public life crafting this persona of the polarizing yet independent businessman, someone perfectly suited to comment on topics of the day from outside the “swamp” of professional politics in Washington DC. Someone only beholden to the whims of the market, and only limited by the personal effort put forth. Of course it is all total bullshit. Trump is a failure as a businessman, getting by from selling our equivalent of snake oil, but he does understands the (current) liberal ethos far better than the rest of the right. He understands that there is this underlying desire for liberals, the ones with enough power and influence that is, to define the moral boundaries in so many cultural spaces that he can just pick one after the other. If something doesn’t stick, surely the next thing will. 

It works well for both. (We don’t talk enough about the “regular” people who are doing well right now. Small business owners, professionals and managers. They are greatly influential politically on both sides.) Liberals get to project moral superiority, wear it as a sort of cultural badge they can flash whenever prompted, and Trumpites get to live out their jerk off fantasies of being “persecuted” by the Pontius Pilate of the day; the “liberal media,” some marginal and wacky professor (Kevin Sorbo did his best george ciccariello-maher in the stunning film “god is not dead”) or whatever. This is the only environment that works for Trump. This is where he can survive. 

Meanwhile, economic insecurity is internalized and normalized. It, of course, lays the foundation for the cultural battles. Sometimes it’s talked about, even seriously and in context, but then one side or the other will pull us back to where they feel safe, whether that be the virtue signaling of the right or the right.

So, I heard that new Roseanne is both funny and evil and people will be not watching but also watching!

Friday, February 09, 2018

The kids aren’t alright

Some comedian (Doug Stanhope maybe?) has a bit about today’s youth being the first in history to be lamer than their parents. It’s a funny bit, but probably more a correct observation than intended. What are those “crazy kids” up to these days? They’re eating tide pods? Washing their own mouths out with soap I guess. Did they say something naughty? (Or worse yet, “problematic.”) When I see a group of teens I can’t even produce a slight concern for any antic they could be up to, I half expect them to tell me to “stop slouching.” If I run into a college aged group, I’d rather they go get their parents so I can chat with someone who won’t shame me for smoking a cigarette.

Anyway, who knew Quincy Jones would be the one to make America great again?

Monday, January 08, 2018

Hollywood Award Shows are Basically Advertisements for Trump

Given the “resistance” has grounded itself in moralism, it’s perfect Oprah Winfrey is the latest hope. She has trash politics, but gave a speech that sounded wonderful but would have only really mattered before #metoo had “startup” potential. Oprah Winfrey is a retired billionaire in charge of a media empire. She surely could have revealed that Weinstein was a predator, an open secret within Hollywood, without losing her livelihood. Instead she was giving him kisses on another one of those fancy Trump ads. Do we still wonder why calling Trump a hypocrite isn’t the devastating political argument many liberals imagine it to be?

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018 needs reckless speech

I can’t remember which set it is in, but Dave Chapelle seems to be genuinely worried his children will never hear “reckless speech” in his new Netflix special. He isn’t worried about the government, he’s worried about the self appointed cultural police on twitter. The political tradition that once embraced transgression, at least partially, has now turned into a sort of secular version of the “moral majority.” Trump has broken so many brains, morialism is the height of our “resistance” politics. 

We desperately need more reckless speech in 2018. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Someone get the CDC a thesaurus!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cdc-gets-list-of-forbidden-words-fetus-transgender-diversity/2017/12/15/f503837a-e1cf-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?utm_term=.9280df07ab70

I feel like this may be one of those stories that is quietly walked back in a week or so. Government bureaucracies are nothing if not committed to absolutely staying the same, and they can get around a word ban with little change in intent. Trump is hilariously committed to breaking brains of the liberal pundit class and his half-wit base loves it. It’s really all he has, as he hasn’t been able to get much else done. (Please don’t remind me of the tax bill that is all but certain to become law.)