Monday, November 07, 2016

The Gig's Up

 --hookah-smoking caterpillar advises Alice

Half a pound of tuppenny rice
Half a pound of treacle
That's the way the money goes
--Pop Goes the Weasel

When making a business decision,
the only color that matters is green
--He Got Game (1998)

Fair is foul, foul is fair

In the year 3535
Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies.
Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today 
--In the Year 2525,
Zagar and Evans

How could the Democrats have missed this? 

From a pop cultural perspective (and despite the press’s narrative), Hillary Clinton is the throwback, and Donald Trump, the contemporary.

As early Baby Boomers, the candidates are chronological contemporaries. But only one has evolved to fit the Millennial milieu.

Trump is the reality show Boss who tells you “You’re fired!” playing the role with all the faux-gravitas required to please the gaming generations. He's got the girl. He does not “talk down”. He is excoriated by the press for his lack of polish. 

Clinton’s tightrope walk is to maintain a disdainful posture towards that guy, while taking photo ops at gritty diners where that kind of guy (minus the bucks) eats. Her position is irreconcilable.

Hillary Clinton is a relic, an artifact of another time. As a feminist, she symbolizes a cohort that will not be progressing much beyond the mandated gains made during the Civil Rights era, not anytime soon. And that was 40+ years ago -- eons by today's measure.

Today’s issues have devolved to hardcore survival ones. The quaint ideology of Clinton’s feministas is demode in our gig economy. Women are not fighting the man, for he is scrabbling, too.

For all the 1960’s Civil Rights legislation, this is precisely where we are: women are still objectified, and the races have not achieved a détente. Further, the middle class which propped it all up is disappearing.

Perhaps this is why the press disdains Mr. Trump. He is a handy repository for our collective angst, a living embodiment of the DWM who is the liberal's scapegoat for every intractable social ill.

My Cleveland friend Chris just sent me the apex of the pity: Hillary must stoop to conquer by praising the vulgar and misogynistic Jay-Z at a Democratic rally there. After attacking Mr. Trump for his views on women, surely this must bite if Mrs. Clinton retains a shred of dignity. 

Ironically, it was Mrs. Clinton’s husband Bill who transformed the media relationship between a presidential candidate and the public.

When candidate Clinton blew his sax on Arsenio Hall’s show, he removed the invisible wall between the political caste and the folk. Mrs. Clinton has drawn the curtain down again, and appears dowdy for it, at best.

Clinton’s predecessor, George H.W. Bush, said he would not pander to the press: "I don't feel the compulsion to be the glamour, one shot, smart comment kind of guy." He was a one-term leader.

Hillary lacks Bill's accessibility, therefore, she is pre-1992. She is in the mold of G.H.W.B., an outre stance in 2016 (if an understandable one for a former spook director.)

In contrast, President Bush fils tried his hand at a glamor shot with his comico-magnificent landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln, flying through the air on guy wires a la Mary Martin in “Peter Pan”.

Backed by hand-painted banners proclaiming “Mission accomplished!”, the landing had that Hollywood “boy-makes-good” grittiness to it. But it wasn’t true, a fact which tarnished the spectacle.

President Obama isn't exactly a Shake-and-Bake kinda guy, but he has continued to approximate that "Everyman" protocol set by Clinton, appearing on various programs and going out of his way to tell us that he has both Old School and New music on his iPod. He was seen not only playing golf, but shooting hoops, too. Everyone's happy.

While Mr. Obama lacked Clinton's charisma, he played the public game with apparent bonhomie. Neither black nor white, he was to be the harbinger of “Hope” and “Change”.

Unfortunately, he did not deliver much of either.

With race relations at a nadir and much of the nation unmoored from their traditional belief systems, The People realize that images do not account for much. Because they participate daily in the charade of creating an identity and a meaning from the bits and pieces they upload to their social networking platforms, they know there is not much solidity behind the appearance.

Mrs. Clinton has eschewed the good-natured play of her predecessors. She is a Serious Woman, and she is an abject failure on the media performance platform. 

Her demeanor is not appealing, and we are all too savvy to believe that there is anything behind the curtain. So what is left?

She offers nothing beyond the hackneyed boilerplate of decades of Democratic platforms. She has neither the fun nor the promise of a new tomorrow (as did Presidents Clinton and Obama). Her gravitas hides a multitude of questionable behaviors.

This does not make me happy. I would like to vote for a good Democratic candidate, but Hillary Clinton is not that.

Mrs. Clinton is a pop culture "fail". In the age of the spectacle, that is unforgivable.

[cross-posted @ milpub.]

Labels: ,


Anonymous David said...

I agree with this assessment. Notwithstanding the rhetoric about which party is the party of the future, Trump came to this with a piece of experience that Clinton didn't: years dealing with the entertainment press. This skill on his part is why, despite them being openly hostile to his campaign, the mainstream media has lavished unprecedented attention on him: because he is good at being the kind of news that they have to cover.

Notably, despite the general press theory that Clinton's campaign was the well-organized one, and maybe it was in a traditional sense, I read in several places that the Trump campaign actually spent more on digital marketing and ads than Clinton did.

At least on these scores, Trump has consistently shown himself rather more competent at playing the political game than the press makes him out to be. In the future, I expect we will see more candidates aiming to mimic Trump's style than Clinton's.

Of course none of this has anything to do with "serious" subjects like policy, but Trump didn't start that fire.

Monday, November 7, 2016 at 11:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

That's correct, David: Trump didn't start that fire.

And just to be clear, per your, "Notwithstanding the rhetoric about which party is the party of the future", I don't believe I have said anything about that issue.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 1:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

That was a poorly worded attempt to build off of what you wrote, sorry. As you mention in your piece, despite an overwhelming media "narrative" that Clinton's way is the progressive future and Trump is simply appealing to the past, in fact it has been Clinton's campaign that called for the status quo and Trump that called for disruption.

One can question both the sincerity of his campaign and the substance of it -- I do both -- but there can be no argument, I think, about which campaign was more innovative or dynamic. Within at least the institutional left, "hope and change" seems to have been replaced by "I hope nothing changes."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 2:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

I think Trump's campaign was bush league, in many ways. Certainly he lacked the polish and power that a Party's backing can provide a candidate. Yet I do not doubt his sincerity.

A liberal friend sent me this video compilation of Trump from 1980 - 2015, and the candidate seems reasoned and well-spoken to me. He has been calling for disruption, it seems, for 35 years:


Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 2:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Bush league? By traditional measures, yes. He gleefully dispensed with most of the things that traditional candidates do. Had he been more disciplined, he would be winning this in a landslide.

However, he also demonstrated that you can keep the media captivated even if they despise you, that you can build a powerful voting bloc based on nationalism and righting economic and cultural disparity in a way that both parties dismissed for many years.

He also focused on digital over traditional outreach, which didn't get a lot of press. Possibly this was a few years ahead of his time, but this election heralds the merging of reality entertainment and politics, and Trump is the vanguard of that.

In the event that Clinton wins today, which I still think is unlikely, I do not think the nation will simply move on and forget Trump in the way that, say, Romney or Kerry or Gore, etc., etc., have become peripheral figures. Whether any of these things amount to substance rather than window dressing I suppose is an open question, but because of Trump, future elections will be very different affairs, even if he loses.

The progressive establishment senses this. I noticed this morning on the pages of papers like the Washington Post that they are already celebrating Trump's defeat as though the nation was just going to wake up from a nightmare and move on. Not so easy, I think.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 3:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I don't know that Trump "gleefully dispensed with most of the things that traditional candidates do". The GOP just didn't have his back.

You're correct that he focused on "righting economic and cultural disparity", things upon which the Democrats SHOULD focus, but which are really only stock-in-trade window dressing for them. Trump revealed the emperor's nakedness (though the press decided they would use that trope against Trump.)

Amazing that the press continues in its boorish presumption of Hillary's ascendancy.
Has no one told them that spiking the ball is poor form -- not to mention, foolish?

Have they forgotten, "Dewey Defeats Truman"?!?

By their cognitive dissonance they continue to deliver a black eye to half of the nation. I guess those people don't matter; I'm guessing, too, that they know that is how they are seen.

ISTM the bilious press has shot itself in the foot with its year of grotesque and infantile bias (which, of course, the liberals refuse to acknowledge.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 4:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Nikolay Levin said...

... Admittedly, that was unexpected.

I'll have to see when I return to the threads both the one with the insanely high comments and here. Now I need some sleep.

Some links for thought.



And of course the unrest on the West Coast already reported by the British Guardian.


This was sooner than I expected. I hope more conceited petty-bourgeois valley girls know better than to limit their conception of democracy (anti-politcs really) to identity politics and decide to eat, drink and sleep real politics and the consistent activism that should be its habit.

Tying into a little to what I was ruminating on earlier, I'd be interested if a certain 2020 California proposition just had a propaganda coup.


Its only opening night.

We shall see.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 7:11:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home