In case you missed it recently rapper Snoop Dogg dropped a music video featuring a caricature of President Trump depicted as a clown, being belittled and having a gun pointed at his head. All amidst a fog of weed smoke billowing from Snoop Dogg’s foul mouth.
We all laughed ‘cos Mr Trump’s antics are rather fitting for comedic purposes, and after all, he’s compromising the well-being of lots of humans – so the bastard deserves to be the butt of many jokes!
But there is a strange irony here: one has to wonder if the joke’s really on us?
Because it seems the very culture that popular people like Snoop Dogg have promoted over the years, is the same culture that shares an affinity with Trump?
As you know, among the hallmarks of Trump’s style is his cavalier misogyny and martial tough talk. For many, it’s unthinkable that such a human can enter the arena, shoot off his mouf, undermine decades of diplomacy and gender and race relations, yet still get votes and endorsements.
“How has this happened?” we collectively gasped.
Why do such attitudes appeal to the collective political psychology of many Americans (obviously there’s policy, but there’s also persona)?
Well, it’s culturally explicable – the glorification of the violent and womanising tough guy has been embedded in America’s popular, and therefore, political culture.
Culturally, many Americans have been primed for over a century by the romanticisation of the frontier gun-toting outlaw, urban gangster rapper and heroic depictions of military manhood.
Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that in times of crisis, many Americans expect the only kind of individual to get the job done is one who meets similar profiles.
I know, it’s a seemingly tenuous connection, could Jesse James, Snoop Dogg and Rambo actually influence political outcomes in America?
We all like to think that individually and collectively we’re too smart to be compelled in our decision-making by written and visual media.
But the reality is our sensibilities, economic decisions and political preferences are shaped by media and entertainment.
Combative coolness has been sewn into the psyche of many Americans for over a century now.
From 1886, white boy Jesse James was depicted as a champion of “economic justice”, “stealing from the rich (elites) to give to the poor” — which makes murdering and plundering OK, apparently, even though there is no real record of him and his crew sharing their booty with anyone in need.
But at the end of the day, it made for romantic fireside folk stories.
Today, gangster rappers rap about shooting people and refer to women as “hoes”. This behaviour is glamorised and repackaged to make it exciting and entertaining while we sit safely in our plush lounges. Never mind the economic and historical contexts, which often drive desperate individuals to make impulsive lawless decisions.
But in any case, such “lifestyles” are glossed up to make urban violence and toughness seem rewarding and uncostly.
So after a long day of gun violence and exploiting “hoes”, you can put your feet up and sip your hard earned Hennessey.
These historical and contemporary examples reveal key elements of America’s entertainment heritage.
And, naturally, after a steady diet of this stuff, the voting hordes are well primed to select a Trump to lead the Free World and resolve economic fallout, foreign policy issues and looming lawlessness (especially from some foreign out-group).
Strangely, many don’t want to make these connections, including the “progressive Democrats”, who used Snoop Dogg’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention to promote party unity and rally for that feminist champion Hillary Clinton.
It’s remarkable, isn’t it? Here we have a popular gangster rapper, whose career has involved referring to women as “bitches and hoes”, making political statements about Trump (whose attitudes are arguably not too dissimilar). Yet even the Democrats overlook this.
With over 100 years of combative coolness being cultivated within Western culture, is it really that hard to believe that an individual like Trump is palatable to the voting public?
Isn’t he simply an extension of this culture? A byproduct of it?
Even the Democrats are bewitched by this cultural legacy.
Ultimately, Western societies (which includes “progressive left”) need to face a searching question: why do we embrace those with pernicious attitudes from within the entertainment industry (with our collective choice making to consume their product), yet have radically different expectations of our politicians, both of who influence public sentiments?
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