How dare he terrorize the Terror Channel, whose patriotic neoliberal purpose is to sell endless bloody war and domestic paranoia on behalf of the Military-Industrial Complex? And only two days before the birthday of Our Great Nation!
Trump's CNN spoof is all the proof you apparently need that our president is inciting violence against all actual human journalists. It's the umpteenth coup de grace for this misbegotten presidency.
Like Pavlovian dogs, Big Media stars are falling all over themselves to win the prize for outstanding performance by an actor or actress in a supporting role in the Trump broadcast franchise. Ingenue Mika appeared to be a shoo-in only yesterday. But by Sunday, it was CNN's Jim Acosta, who obligingly played straight man to Trump's comic evil genius by pointing out that the professional wrestling video is a refaked fake. He eagerly left himself wide open to Trump's riposte that CNN is fake news. It was as tightly scripted as anything ever read from a TelePrompTer.
And round and round they go, to the cheers and jeers and yawns and snickers and gasps of a TV-addicted America.
Trump, far from attempting to repress free speech and civil dissent, relies on it and thrives upon it. The more he can control the news cycle with his outlandish performances, the more that he can render coverage on issues relevant to the public both meaningless and boring. He makes the pundits targeted by his insults look ridiculous and powerless. Just witness Mika's response to Trump's face-lift insult. To avoid the stress of coming up with an original statement, she simply appended the corporate "little hands" Cheerios cereal advertisement to her counter-Tweet. That taught him, all right.
The "discourse" has devolved into a Battle of the Brands. Celebrities are lining up, jostling to get maximum saturation news coverage of their regular microbursts of anti-Trump outrage. Maybe one of their Tweets will get a personal insult from the Big Guy himself and their online profile will be boosted to Number One on the Yahoo trending list. One can only hope.
Every time Donald Trump violates taboos and political norms, eliciting knee-jerk responses on demand, the more powerful he becomes. And while he so effortlessly riles up what political theorist Bifo Berardi calls "the custodians of severity" with his systematic repertoire of antics, he is also entertaining and gratifying his base of fans. Who knew that a president of the United States could be such a zany stand-up comic who exposes establishment hypocrisy at every turn!
Trump had apparently lifted the doctored wrestling video from a fan site, making said fans duly ecstatic that their idol is also a fan of theirs. From the New York Times:
Trump absolutely requires what Berardi calls "the proliferation of chatter, the irrelevance of opinion and discourse, and making thought, dissent and critique banal and ridiculous."Mr. Trump’s fans on Reddit were exuberant about what they viewed as validation from the country’s most powerful man. “I love this,” wrote a user identified as American_Crusader. “You know he saw it, chuckled, and knew he could control the media narrative for days by hitting the ‘post’ button. So he did.”The president’s allies say that his attacks on the news media are justified, arguing that the president is merely defending himself from coverage that his supporters view as biased. Mr. Trump’s war of words with CNN is especially popular with his voter base.
What's really scary is the way Trump's cruel theater of the absurd - a literal information-overloaded "siege of our attention" - enables his fellow oligarchs to conduct the real work behind the curtains. How do they blow up the planet and all the living things on it in the name of profits for the very few? Let us count the ways. Or not, because Trump just Tweeted out another insult to another very important serious person or organization.
He has the media stars who pose as journalists way too busy defending their personal brands, pleasing their corporate paymasters, taking personal umbrage, and collating daily lists of Trump's lies and spelling mistakes to pay sufficient attention to the real oligarchic agenda. Not that they ever paid much attention to the agenda before, seeing as how the oligarchic agenda-setters are the sponsors who pay them their salaries.
With the TV and Internet-addicted public so distracted by all this carefully scripted Trumpian dramedy, it's much easier for "politically correct" villains to meet behind closed doors to destroy health coverage for millions of people. It's so much easier for Congress to pass xenophobic anti-immigrant laws just slightly less inhumane that Trump's. It's so much easier for the Supreme Court to give at least a preliminary carte blanche to Trump's Muslim travel ban. It's so much easier for Democrats to priggishly protest Trump's boorishness and to fund-raise off fear and loathing than it is to introduce any progressive legislation as a counterweight.
If we find it hard to forget the carefully manufactured images of a woman's bleeding face - and a corporate media logo getting punched in the face by the president of the United States - that leaves us with an even more severely reduced mental capacity to visualize the actual bleeding bodies of the thousands of people getting bombed and droned to death in out-of-sight, out-of-mind Yemen and Syria and Iraq.
In end-stage capitalism, nothing succeeds like excess, whether it be the Mother of All Bombs, draconian social welfare cuts, or Trump himself. Made-for-TV catalyst for mass indignation and outrage that he is, he knows full well that his words need contain neither meaning, nor truth, nor consistency in order to be effective. He owns his words and he controls his message. As he brayed in yet another speech castigating the media on Saturday night, "I'm president, and they're not."
And so far, they haven't shamed him, let alone stopped him. Not that they really want to. He is very good for business. His brand elevates their brands, and vice versa. They're mutual parasites who nibble off one other like expensive hors d'oeuvre before really gorging themselves on the main course: you, and me, and the wealth of our entire endangered planet. Capitalism can never be sated in a system where ruthless competition takes precedence over decency and competence.
So God bless Donald Trump as well as damn him. For all his alleged ignorance, he is a master at revealing the hypocrisy of political language every single time he opens his mouth. To paraphrase Berardi, Trump has shown the whole world that the emperor has no clothes - while paradoxically wearing the emperor's clothes himself.