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Posts Tagged ‘president’

My friend: I’m lonely.

Me: I hear you, man.

My friend: So I’m giving $500 a month to a stripper. She says she loves me.

Me: Aw, man! That’s horrible. She’s taking advantage of you, using the oldest trick in the book.

My friend: You look down at me!

The End

This, in its entirety, is my short play, “Listening to a Trump Supporter.”

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It should be illuminating that we fulminate about Hillary Clinton, “She’s imperfect!” and ask meekly about Donald Trump “How bad could he really be?” The answer for this hypocrisy is so obvious you might not see it for a piece of napkin lodged on your nose. It’s because he’s a man. He’s a tough dad saying the harsh truths, while she’s a disloyal ice queen who, were she to fire somebody or cross them, would be treated like Madame Defarge. We distrust ambition and political skill in a female because we don’t understand the motives, while we don’t think twice about these qualities in a male, don’t think twice about empowering a guy whose signature is regular abuse of people on a TV show (who has extended that abuse to people in real life). An obnoxious and pervasive literary trope of America–that distant, mean and pugnacious dads are that way only for our own good–is so ingrained in the crap we read and watch that we decline to ask whether dad is acting in his own self-interest. We give the female no such courtesy. It comes to the point of satirically perverse abnegation when we ignore the CV of a man who has worked only for his own self-interest, has never shed an ounce of sweat in his life until now fighting for any conservative principle other than his own right to succeed. A man with nothing but conviction of self and belief in his right to wield authority without specific ideas is now parroted by hapless conservatives who insisted for eight years that his type of personality cult is exactly what they were fighting against. Thus you are witnessing a whole party being taken hostage. Meanwhile, lefties, whose distrust of ambitious females is similarly ingrained, though they would dare not admit it, pretend they are better by turning to people who are unvetted and therefore idealized. If you make cartoon saints out of Jill Stein or Elizabeth Warren by not realizing that they would also have become dirty and have had to make compromises if they had actually been playing the game this whole time, you are quietly telling Hillary Clinton (and all girls): “You have no right to play the game.”

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This guy quoted in the Atlantic supports Bernie Sanders but says he will consider voting for Donald Trump if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination for president.

Let me condense his long, rambling speech for you: “If I do not get my way, I will burn everything down.” Why? Because his career in the arts didn’t take off. This is not the first time I have heard this argument: “Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders is going to make my creative career manifest.”

I myself am an artist, too, dear readers, but I also know one or two things about the economics of art, and the idea of a middle-class or even rich artist is a byproduct of mid-20th century capital formation, not socialism. It was enabled by excess industrial capacity created by a large military industrial complex and cheap gas following WW II and the extra leisure time and spending money enjoyed by a rising bourgeois class. Let’s not forget advances in technology such as recording and film that displaced music publishing houses and theaters that had come before (and do we cry for them?) In much of human history, artists were funded by wealthy patrons or by the church or by selling their art as cheap catch-penny entertainment. Unfortunately, our recent experience has made for a greedy demand among artists that they have a God-given right to money and fans that will validate their choices and identity, even though that whole idea is staked on something the market demand won’t bear.

Sorry it didn’t work out, but it’s your own fault for not having curiosity about a few issues.

I say this as an artist and not a terrible one in my own estimation: If your art doesn’t pay for itself, get a real fucking job until it does. It will enhance your esteem and give you some perspective. When you lack that perspective, the rest of America bears the burden, crossing our fingers that you won’t elect a psychopath out of spite.

Can good countries fund the arts? Of course they can. Up to a certain point. Can they make anybody who wants to be an artist a wealthy artist? No. There is a supply and demand problem. Everybody wants to make art but there are not enough consumers to match all that supply. They only have time for so much entertainment and only so many artists can reasonably make it (for whatever value they bring whether it’s artistic genius or cultural resonance). After the revolution in Nicaragua, everybody wanted to be a poet. You know what the socialist Sandinista government told them? “Pick cotton, please.” Socialism injects a much needed safety net into a mean capitalist system (and the United States is already socialist and has been for a good long time). But the entire idea of our system of capital is that it allocates resources better than centralized planning. Capital gave us freedom to do things that collectivism did not. Like make music in our spare time or even professionally. That’s because we pay people to do things for us that it would be too crushing to have to do ourselves, things that would put us back on farms, selling stuff by a river. You have to be able to eat and wear clothes and find shelter (paid for with capital) before concerning yourself with your Stravinsky-inspired piano piece. Other people need food and clothes before they can hear it.

Bernie Sanders supporters say they have been mocked and scorned. When, exactly, did this mockery and scorn take place? Was Hillary constantly calling Bernie Sanders a “commie” this year? No, she was talking with him substantively up until a few months ago. When it looked like he wouldn’t pull ahead it votes or delegates, the conversation got increasingly stupid. The meaningless phrase “establishment” was used against Clinton next to the other meaningless phrase “corporatist.” Calls went out that the election was rigged. It wasn’t. Bernie Sanders has never had a lead in votes or pledged delegates. Never. To call Hillary Clinton’s election a coronation is to suppress an expression of democracy. It is to be on the fascist side. Geddit?

“Hillary hatred” has been a thing much longer than “Bernie hatred” which means that mockery Sanders supporters feel is largely a product of their imaginations and out-of-control persecution complexes.

LBJ, FDR, JFK, John Maynard Keynes … these were all establishment figures. They all did things that helped our economy and society and they did it in a liberal style and mode. Nobody cares if they were “establishment.” When you call Hillary Clinton the “e” word, you are not impressing anybody that you are engaged in issues as much as that you have low self-esteem and that it’s likely richly deserved. Fact is, Hillary Clinton has done a lot of questionable things (like voting for the Iraq War) but she also has a tremendous amount of accomplishments and a fairly liberal voting record (if you look). If you say she is the same as a Republican–not because you did the due diligence and looked up her record but because you have staked your identity on repeating things you hear from other liberals at picnics and rallies–then unfortunately you are no better than Republicans at barbecues, nodding at their dads as they drunkenly yell “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” You have, in fact, revoked your right to call yourself smarter than rednecks or think of your choices as more reasonable and thought out. You might be just another joiner.

So let me tell you what’s really going on with the kid in the Atlantic piece (and he is a child):

When you are totally impotent; when a changing world baffles you and leaves you feeling helpless; when you haven’t the imagination to think your way out of the mess that false assumptions have led you into, sometimes the only way you can feel a sense of power and facility is by your power to negate and destroy. This is something people on the left and the right can now shake hands on. That and the following idea: “I will not let reason violate my identity.” Kumbaya.

 

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What factors led to the end of our marriage and/or the end of health care reform legislation in Congress?

–*We failed to articulate our goals to each other.

–*We kept fighting over money.

–*There was a lot of mutual suspicion about what the other side wanted.

–*We turned to outsiders for help and they turned out to have their own selfish interests.

–*One side didn’t know how to think for him or herself unless Glenn Beck told him or her first.

–*…or Oprah.

–*We weren’t sure how to handle the necessary abortion issue.

–*Every time we tried to talk about things reasonably it deteriorated into shouting matches.

–*Each of us accused the other of patronizing and sabotaging the other in public.

–*There was a lot of increasingly nonsensical, paranoid and loony right-wing talk coming from one side.

–*”I don’t need another mother.”

–*”I don’t need another father.”

–*Turns out one of us was a racist.

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