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WhaTHellsgoingonhere

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Member since: Thu Dec 22, 2005, 10:00 AM
Number of posts: 5,252

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A French philosopher might explain it thusly (and it's awesome)

(Roland) Barthes is a French philosopher who died in 1980. But his work may hold the key to understanding Trump’s popularity and his staying power.

Barthes is best known for his work in semiotics, the study of signs and symbols. But he wasn’t limited to lengthy, esoteric treatises. Rather, Barthes published much of his work in short, accessible pieces breaking down elements of popular culture. The New York Times described Barthes as the godfather of the TV recap.

His most famous essay, published in his 1957 book Mythologies, focuses on professional wrestling. Could an essay about professional wrestling hold the key to understanding Trump’s appeal? It’s worth noting that, before he was a presidential candidate, Trump was an active participant in the WWE. In 2013, Trump was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

In his essay, Barthes contrasts pro wrestling to boxing.

This public knows very well the distinction between wrestling and boxing; it knows that boxing is a Jansenist sport, based on a demonstration of excellence. One can bet on the outcome of a boxing-match: with wrestling, it would make no sense. A boxing- match is a story which is constructed before the eyes of the spectator; in wrestling, on the contrary, it is each moment which is intelligible, not the passage of time… The logical conclusion of the contest does not interest the wrestling-fan, while on the contrary a boxing-match always implies a science of the future. In other words, wrestling is a sum of spectacles, of which no single one is a function: each moment imposes the total knowledge of a passion which rises erect and alone, without ever extending to the crowning moment of a result.

In the current campaign, Trump is behaving like a professional wrestler while Trump’s opponents are conducting the race like a boxing match. As the rest of the field measures up their next jab, Trump decks them over the head with a metal chair.

Others in the Republican field are concerned with the rules and constructing a strategy that, under those rules, will lead to the nomination. But Trump isn’t concerned with those things. Instead, Trump is focused on each moment and eliciting the maximum amount of passion in that moment. His supporters love it.

The key to generating passion, Barthes notes, is to position yourself to deliver justice against evil forces by whatever means necessary. “Wrestlers know very well how to play up to the capacity for indignation of the public by presenting the very limit of the concept of Justice,” Barthes writes.

Trump knows how to define his opponent — China, “illegals,” hedge fund managers — and pledges to go after them with unbridled aggression. If, in making his case, he crosses over a line or two, all the better.

For a pro wrestler, energy is everything. A wrestling fan is less interested in what is happening — or the coherence of how one event leads to the next — than the fact that something is happening. On that score, Trump delivers. He is omnipresent on TV. When he can’t make it in front of the camera, he’ll simply call in. When he’s not on TV, he’s tweeting boasts, insults, and non-sequiturs. When he runs out of things to tweet, he retweets random comments from his supporters.

Along those lines, Trump’s favorite insult — which he has employed repeatedly against Jeb Bush and, more recently, Ben Carson — is that his opponents are “low energy.”


Frenetic action is suicidal for a boxer, or a traditional politician. But Trump is not bound by those limitations. The crazier things get — Trump suggesting a popular Fox News host asked him a tough question because she was menstruating, for example — the more Trump’s supporters love it.

It is obvious that at such a pitch, it no longer matters whether the passion is genuine or not. What the public wants is the image of passion, not passion itself. There is no more a problem of truth in wrestling than in the theater.

This analogy reveals why the attacks on Trump are so ineffective. Recently, Rand Paul and others have taken to calling out Trump as an “entertainer,” rather than a legitimate candidate. This is as effective to running into the middle of the ring during Wrestlemania and yelling: “This is all fake!” You are correct, but you will not be received well.


http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/09/14/3701084/donald-trump/



Posted by WhaTHellsgoingonhere | Sat Jan 2, 2016, 12:25 AM (1 replies)

He wanted ACA to be his legacy, so he...

gave up WS, TPP, and BushCo.

He was playing 3-D chess the whole time, but with liberals, not Republican pols.
Posted by WhaTHellsgoingonhere | Fri Jan 1, 2016, 07:28 PM (1 replies)

Could Bernie be benefiting from the media blackout?

People are turning away from the M$M and to alternate sources for information. Follow your favorite sources on twitter and Facebook, and one has no need or time to turn on the tele except for entertainment. Political satire is both powerfully influential and ubiquitous; the Daily Show and The Colbert Report have managed to do what M$M can't: grow a trans-generational following. Since M$M's credibility has been plunging for years, and Bernie continues to surge, is he benefiting from the blackout?

Poll: News Media's Credibility Plunges (2009)
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-news-medias-credibility-plunges/


Thoughts?


Posted by WhaTHellsgoingonhere | Fri Jan 1, 2016, 03:12 PM (20 replies)
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