Thursday, January 12, 2017

on the other side of the Electoral College decision, remembering Schumer's zinger that didn't come to pass

Not that I'm particularly thrilled with the outcome, but then I regard the empire as doomed either way.  Still ... one of the reasons that some people found the outcome at least partly amusing was because of stuff like this:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/10/19/amy_schumer_reads_a_sarcastic_open_letter_after_trump_jokes_prompt_walkout.html

...

Schumer went on to promise that she would go to “rehab” to better please everyone, “both the rich, entitled, white people who are gonna vote for [Trump] and the very poor people who’ve been tricked into it.” She concluded, “I look forward to putting this all behind us in a couple weeks when Hillary Clinton is our motherf---ing president!”

If it had just been Dewey defeats Truman for one institution of the press that'd have been one thing.  What happened late last year seemed to involve the majority of what passes for the Fourth Estate in the North American continent. 

Depending on what does or doesn't happen we find out how long Trump is president ... but this was not Clinton's moment.

The temptation to retroactively imagine that the last eight years were actually somehow great is going to be too strong for some people.  This may be less a function of a responsible or thorough reading of historical events than a rear-guard nostalgia prompted not so much but a clear-eyed view of the past as a panic-fueled vision of the future.  The paranoid apocalyptic idiom that the red and blue cultivated together during the Cold War may have fractured into unique apocalyptic idioms favored by those red and blue but the paranoia has begun to smel the same.  It's not even that there's nothing to be worried about.  There's always been stuff to be worried about.  Any number of genre/pulp classics are reminders that ever since we humans invented nuclear weapons and used them there's been reasons to worry that we'd incinerate ourselves.  But it would seem the order of the era in the post-Cold War American idiom is to only have melt-downs that betoken the fall of Babylon the Great when your team isn't in power.  It was weird reading David Gushee (was it?) lamenting overweening federal power as if the reach of the federal government was only terrifying because Trump won.  Conversely, a decade ago someone I know was declaring that more or less the problem was the President DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH POWER to implement the War on Terror.   In an age in which the greatest apostasies to advocates red and blue is to not be red or blue it would hardly seem any wonder that genuine threats from overseas would matter less to red and blue partisans than the mere existence of the other color. 

It'd be easier to feel bad for the press if the press itself didn't seem to be one of the inveterate ruling castes these days.  Just because they are so very often not particularly religious doesn't mean that the entertainment castes of the United States haven't embraced what could be described as a form of clericalism, but a clericalism of the artist rather than the formal priest. 

and I guess lately I feel like a slightly anticlerical sort on the subject of the arts and entertainment.  These people don't necessarily have special knowledge that's worth more than what you can have about the arts.  It's not as though the red and blue partisans don't have a history of holding jup entertainers as saviors.  It's not like Reagan always had his career in politics, after all. 

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