Monday, November 7, 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 disdained by the press and his own party 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 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 @ rangeragainstwar.]


  1. And herein lies the problem. Governing is not entertainment. Trump is not "Trump", star of a TV show. The "hackneyed boilerplate of decades of Democratic platforms" includes things like Social Security that keeps my in-laws out from under bridges, unionization that keeps mill owners and factory bosses from returning us to the Gilded Age, and the civil rights that keeps my daughter from being turned away from stores and buses because she is Chinese and you because you're Jewish.

    If Clinton is a throwback to an era when governing was taken as a serious matter and concern for hard choices on difficult issues was a virtue, good.

    If Trump is some sort of Space-Age notion of government as bread and circuses...well, all the better to be rid of him then.

  2. Chief, I'm curious:

    You do seem to like playing the "Jew" card, so I thot to disabuse you of that notion per me (not that I'm not terribly in awe of the Jewish people's accomplishments -- far out-sized to their numbers, no?)

    However, being a matrilineal religion, and being as my mother is not Jewish, I cannot really claim for it.

    To the matter at hand:

    If Clinton is a throwback, it not to "an era when governing was taken as a serious matter", but rather, when it was led by a Boss Tweed.

    She is Machiavellian. She did not "keep [your] in-laws out from under bridges." It would take a great blindness to confuse her aims with those of FDR.

    I can see we will not discuss the things that I find interesting, like why the bilge secreted by a miscreant like Charles Pierce is appealing, to anyone.

    And anything else I have written.