Saturday, July 23, 2016

two liberal takes on Trump, culture, and everything

Here are two shockingly different takes—both by self-professed liberals—on the right as it's currently incarnated by the likes of Donald Trump and the recently Twitter-banned gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos (banned for supposed racist trolling of African-American actress Leslie Jones, who appears in the new "Ghostbusters").

"I am a Dem and I’m Voting for Trump"

"I’m With The Banned"

I think you can gather which of the two offers a pro-Trump take. As I noted on Twitter, the pro-Trump article doesn't move me to vote for Trump, but I do think it should be required reading (if you can get past all the typos and other gaffes) for liberal Democrats. The other article, "I'm With the Banned," was—like a lot of hipster journalism—an alloy of well-written prose and incoherent postmodernist garbage. Take the final paragraph, for example:

What’s happening to this country has happened before, in other nations, in other anxious, violent times when all the old certainties peeled away and maniacs took the wheel. It’s what happens when weaponised insincerity is applied to structured ignorance. Donald Trump is the Gordon Gekko of the attention economy, but even he is no longer in control. This culture war is being run in bad faith by bad actors who are running way off-script, and it’s barely begun, and there are going to be a lot of refugees.

I can guess at what "weaponized insincerity" means since the author spends a lot of time repeatedly claiming that Yiannopoulos doesn't believe his own rhetoric. But "structured ignorance"? The "attention economy"? These are little more than hipster terms that are meant to sound intellectual without actually signifying anything concrete or coherent. I'm also not sure what sort of apocalyptic vision is on offer in that final sentence: who are the "bad actors running way off script," and what does it even mean to be off-script? What does it mean to say there are going to be "refugees" in the culture war? This entire vomitous blob of pretentious abstractions gets dumped on us with little to no explanation earlier in the article. It's a shame, really, because the author, at other points, is actually quite witty and demonstrates some talent for stringing together evocative sentences.

Perhaps coherence was too much to ask for.

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