Posts Tagged ‘Trumpian’

A Day In The Life Of Image And Myth

August 22, 2021

            Analysis found that a series of news related articles appearing on the same day, but from completely different sources, seemed to indicate an appearance that none of the articles could produce individually. This synthetic being portends a troubling trajectory. We all interact daily with synthetics of various kinds. Rarely do we bother with the how’s and why’s. Ever mindful of the fact that a mere 8 months ago Donald Trump was the news (in spite of the pandemic, the Jan 6thinsurrection, the recent election, Afghanistan, etc.), it may come as a pleasant (or unpleasant) shock to encounter the headline “Trump booed at Alabama rally after telling supporters to get vaccinated” (Allan Smith  NBC News, 8-22-21). “Cullman, where the rally was hosted [8-21-21], is experiencing a rise in cases that has matched its previous peak from late December. The city declared a Covid state of emergency on Thursday to provide extra emergency support for the rally. Alabama has the lowest vaccinated rate in the U.S., with just more than 36 percent of its population fully inoculated, according to an NBC News tracker.” To which the former President had this to offer: “”And you know what? I believe totally in your freedoms. I do. You’ve got to do what you have to do,” Trump said. “But, I recommend: take the vaccines. I did it. It’s good. Take the vaccines.” Some boos rang out from the rally crowd, who were largely maskless. “No, that’s okay. That’s all right. You got your freedoms,” Trump said, echoing rhetoric from opponents of mask and vaccine mandates. “But I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know. Okay? I’ll call up Alabama, I’ll say, hey, you know what? But [the vaccine] is working. But you do have your freedoms you have to keep. You have to maintain that.”” By itself, Smith’s report simply gives a diminished example of the news environment from 8 months ago. “How the political environment is moving toward the GOP” is a de rigueur analysis by Harry Enten for CNN  (8-22-21). It fills in names, special election dates and outcomes, etc. to the weird American pattern, er, cycle of minority party resurgence after a Presidential election loss. By itself it says nothing but ‘that’s American democracy in action’, the status quo, if at all. Writing for the Cols. Dispatch, USA Today Network Ohio Bureau reporter Haley BeMiller headlines: “GOP Senate candidates take page from Trump playbook as they fight for populist title” (8-22-21). “Moreno and Gibbons are wealthy businessmen who have never held elected office. Timken secured her position as GOP chair with Trump’s support. Vance grew up in Appalachia, his family poor and gripped by addiction, before attending Yale and launching a career as a venture capitalist. Mandel is a veteran whose history in politics runs deeper than that of his opponents.” “”It’s kind of hard to claim that you’re for the people and you’re for the working class when you have seven figures or more in the bank,” said David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron.” BeMiller shows how each of the candidates is trying to ‘out-Trump’ his GOP Party opponent. Analysis can only conclude that ‘populist’ is code for Trump-y. And Ohio certainly is Trump-y. The synthesis of the three articles combined produces an appearance. This is the appearance of Trump, the myth, outstripping Trump, the man (former President). News reporting is still hung up on coverage of the mythical man from 8 months ago not noticing that  the myth has moved on, grown bigger, leaving the man behind. The former President would never have received boos at any of his mass rallies, save in support of some person or policy he was trying to denigrate. That was standard operating procedure. But his unique, sorely needed positive appeal, broadcast live to Alabama on the 21st , shows the growing preference for the myth to the actual man. Indeed, BeMiller concludes with “”I think the Republican Party in Ohio has been transformed and reworked in the image of Donald Trump,” said professor Cohen.” Image (noun): “semblance or likeness”. Myth (noun): “a fictitious or imaginary person or thing”. Analysis can only conclude that the myth, spawned by the propaganda image, has now succeeded in overwhelming the man. That the myth has acquired a life of its own is ominous, to say the least.