At long last someone who connected the dots for me. It’s a simple cultural formula that adds up to him.
I have pondered where Trump’s appeal originates from, and finally John Podhoretz answers it for me.
Donald Trump is the apotheosis of a tendency that began to manifest itself in American culture in the 1980s, most notably in the persons of the comic Andrew Dice Clay and the shock jock Howard Stern: the American id. Guys like the Dice Man and Stern had been told and taught and trained by respectable middlebrow culture to believe that their tastes and desires were piggish and thuggish and gross, and they said: So be it!
Clay had nowhere to go with his shtick after a few years and faded away. Stern adapted to changing circumstances. But the American id remained, as ids do. You want to call me a goon? Fine, so I’ll act like a goon, see how you like it. The cultural signposts Trump brandished in the years preceding his presidential bid are all manifestations of the American id—his steak business, his casino business, his green-marble-and-chrome architecture, his love life minutely detailed in the columns of Cindy Adams, his involvement with Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire, and his reality-TV persona as the immensely rich guy who treats people like garbage but has no fancy airs. This id found its truest voice in his repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was actually an American.
I wish I had connected those dots, as Mr. Podhoretz did.
I remember the rise of these outlandish characters, and clearly Trump is part of that cultural “flow” or phenomenon. He’s a “professional wrestler.”
Doesn’t he sound like one? Imagine the lights. The center stage.
“I am great! Look at these hot chicks on my arms! Everyone likes me! I’m smarter than everyone else, even my invisible advisers! Nobody manages and negotiates better than I do! Believe me! My opponent is ugly! Have you seen her face? They’re losers!”
The simple cultural formula works out like this:
Degraded American culture + sexually promiscuous culture + crude TV talk shows + reality TV “stars” + radio shock jocks + roller derby + professional wrestling + anger = Trump.
It’s now so clear (to me at least).
Thus, I believe that Trump and his “professional wrestling campaign” will be discovered, and he will fade, while Rubio will rise and defeat Hillary. I’m very confident of that. But we will have to go through election confusion and chaos either at the GOP convention in June or in the generals in November.
I believe that it is Trump’s destiny not to occupy the historic and sacred White House, but to sow dissension throughout America. Sorry, but that is as clear to me as the noon sun. However, maybe that’s what America sadly needs – a good old-fashioned shaking to wake her out of her lethargy and complacency and arrogance, as the markets also roil around, creating confusion and concern, as the America economy still remains slow, and as the Chinese economy looks weak. It’s all of a piece.
Connect those dots and pray.
Trump among the Quakers (satire);
Trump bullies Francis Scott Key (satire).