The Blame Game

An interesting side show in the Trump election carnival is the liberal left’s soul search, or maby its witch hunt, to find out why people don’t like them. Zizek blames people like Jon Steward and John Oliver for their style of mocking. He says it enrages those who subscribe to those beliefs and pushes them further right.  Jon Stewart in turn characterises the Trump voters he knows as misunderstood; ‘they’re not afraid of Mexicans, they’re afraid of their insurance premiums’. In this way he implies that they don’t understand that electing Trump won’t change anything. Michael Moore actually gets down off the liberal podium and into the mud wrestling ring with the ‘ordinary hard working Americans’. He feels their anger in a genuine way, the way somebody who has felt the pain of seeing family members and friends layed off in a heap by big business can.

But beneath the surface of of all these responses we can see the subtle outlines of liberal paternalism. All three look upon the ‘honourable hard working American’ as a subspecies. These people are unable to understand the way that intelligent people see the world. They are easily made to do stupid things, like the man who jumps off a bridge because someone told him he couldn’t do it. Most of all they are all decent people, led astray by the local bully in a time of uncertainty. Never mind the racism, the fear of terrorism and immigration of gays and gun legislation. These exist yes, but they are a consequence of the Trump voters’ inherent stupidity, as if it can’t be helped. In the same way these types go on about the noble native american, less adaptable to our rotten modernity for sure, but better adapted to the serene natural world, more in touch with true human nature. Never mind the human sacrifice, vicious colonialism (native people too built empires!) or the blood games. Look at how well they could predict and eclipse or how they thought the universe was a woman.

In conclusion, I think all these people are looking at a pig. One says ‘it has a round nose!’ another ‘no a pig has a curly tale!’ the third ‘a pig is dirty !’ and a fourth ‘no, a pig is delicious!’. A pig is all of these things and none of the individual parts could come close to giving an accurate picture of what a pig is. Breaking down the Trump voter (pig) into parts and taking an aspect (big nose) to fit a story (a pig is essentially a good smeller!) can get you listeners if you tell it well. It can refresh our minds, give is a different perspective like a new, well pumped up football. What we must be aware of is that kicking a football around a park by ourselves is not like playing in the El Classico. To feel you understand Ronaldo taking the final penalty for the champions league as you imagine yourself doing the same is ridiculous. Enjoy the story and enjoy the fresh ideas. But don’t be so stupid as to think you have the whole thing figured out.

 

 

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