Sunday, August 6, 2017

Trump Obsession

About 10 days ago, the leftish New Republic magazine published an article entitled,  "Is Trump Ruining Book Sales?"  The subhead:  "Authors and publishers alike are finding that it's hard to sell books in a political climate where truth is stranger than fiction."

I would posit an alternate thesis that does not involve the president:  It's hard to sell mediocre books, and most books these days are not particularly distinguished.  Plus, more authors are releasing their books online. 

I don't spend much time reading about politics, but I have been surprised this year at how absorbed the press is with the "Trump is ruining everything" theme.   Articles about seemingly unrelated topics -- book sales, history, sports, arts, fashion, whatever -- include everything from slipped-in slurs to wholesale detours to explain why Donald Trump is terrible in every possible way.  

Here are examples from just two days.    


There’s a Monty Python sketch in which a man in a restaurant is frustrated because everything on the menu seems to have some rat in it. That’s how things are in the age of comrade Trump. It would be great if he would tweet, “I’m the reason you can’t have nice things. SAD! #inwayovermyhead.” No matter what good things happen, there’s probably a bit of Trump in it.

(The above is the first paragraph in what purports to be a review of the Fuck Yeah Fest!, a classy-sounding music event.  The article proceeds through seven more paragraphs about Donald Trump, four paragraphs about two bands, one paragraph about Iggy Pop and a concluding paragraph.)

Henry Rollins
"Enough Trump -- Let's Talk about How Great Iggy Pop Was at FYF"
August 3, 2017


"Old Walt is tasked with destroying the dark tower, which is the only thing stopping monsters from taking over the planet. Is this a metaphor for the Trump administration? Don't get your hopes up."

Peter Travers
"The Dark Tower' Review"
Rolling Stone

August 3, 2017


Of course, the song’s success doesn’t mean that President Trump’s project will fail, or that cranky nativism will give way to happy multiculturalism. Plenty of people might be willing to watch a video by Puerto Rican artists and still not want a Spanish-speaking neighbor next door. (Although Puerto Rico is a United States territory, so if you’re American, get over it.)

Moises Velasquez-Manoff
"The Meaning of ‘Despacito’ in the Age of Trump"
New York Times
August 4, 2017


Six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, Shkreli captured the zeitgeist of America. Like a millennial version of Trump, he was bombastic, defiant, politically incorrect, indifferent to social norms -- and, according to prosecutors, the truth -- while his expert use of social media attracted a legion of followers. Unlike Trump, he was banned from Twitter after harassing a female journalist.

Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Patricia Hurtado and Chris Dolmetsch
"Why ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli Is Swaggering Into Jail"
August 4, 2017


The obsession with hating Donald Trump -- and it is an obsession -- is out of hand.  

If you really, really can't stand the guy, there are practical reasons to think twice before disparaging him every chance you get.

1) Assigning Donald Trump responsibility for everything that you don't like has the perverse effect of making him seem more important and powerful than he actually is.

2) Being unable to view general topics without applying a "Trump-bad/me-good" template limits your capacity for critical thought.

Not everything in this world is about Donald Trump.

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