On Facebook, George Smith posted a link to an article I found super interesting (see here for the original post).
George made the following comment to the link:
And I thought, "There it is. The Overton Window is moving in a pro-Trump direction among the ideological."
I'm not going to accuse George of suddenly becoming a Trump supporter , but now that he has read the article, there is no way he can "not see" what normal Trump supporters have seen all along. And I see the signal in his mention of "good points."
I don't want to channel George and make personal presuppositions, so let me talk in general terms. Many people who are anti-Trump--and have been anti-Trump as a result of cultural story wars--are going to see what he just saw when they read this article (or other commentary like it, which will now start). I believe their reaction will be similar to George's. Essentially, "Hmmm... I never thought of that. But I still can't stand Trump." What they never thought of is exactly what Trump stands for: the producer against the parasites. That is only a crack, but that inconsistency crack (what they believe versus what they see) will ultimately split the dam open and the water of awareness will come gushing through.
Just because a producer may be vulgar and a parasite may be sophisticated, that doesn't make the person any less a producer or parasite. (I use vulgarity here in the normal sense, but also to include inconsistency in how one uses words when throwing them around. The "do" versus "say" thing.)
Vulgarity is merely a lens, an external form, not an essence. Since vulgarity is baked into the producer side of American culture (after all, America is where common people in general got their shot to become rich and/or achieve great things), the archetype of the vulgar but good-hearted producer is a staple in the psyches of vast quantities of the American population. I know it's in mine. That's why I resonated so strongly with Trump the moment I thought he had a chance at becoming President.
I don't blame people for not seeing this, though. Remember the psychological experiment where a gorilla passes through the middle of basketball players, waves at the camera and walks off? Most subjects who were counting the number of basketball passes among the players didn't see the gorilla. This experiment has been repeated many times. How does that happen? Well, it turns out that such "blocking out" is a characteristic of human perception, not a moral failing. I believe it comes from our brains having evolved in a modular manner, but regardless, this perception versus focus glitch, this framing that blinds, is how the brain is wired, how the brain works. And, on a higher level, this is exactly how ideologies and religions work. People who carry deep convictions on how life should be don't see a lot of things re how life is. Wisdom comes in trying to see what one has missed on a perception level. (This cuts to my "cognitive before normative" process I go on about at times.)
And how do ideologies--whether good, bad, benign or dangerous--propagate in a society? You guessed it. Story wars. Cultural story wars. That's what this whole thread is about.
Now on to the article by Titus Techera:
Harold Ramis, Unlikely Prophet of Trump
One beef about the headline. Harold Ramis was not predicting Trump. He was reflecting where Trump came from. If he wasn't, his films would not have been so popular. But headlines are the marketing part of an article. Fundamentally, they exist not to inform, but to get you to read the first paragraph. So I forgive Techera.
Back to point, here's a quote from the article about Ramis's film, Back To School.
If that isn't the Trump I saw in the beginning, I don't know what is.
So here's the sad news for anti-Trumpers: He is not a brand new phenomenon, a plague on them who just now emerged out of nowhere. He has been here all along.
When I kept telling anti-Trumpers they didn't see people like me and other Trump supporters, this is exactly what I was talking about. Except now, I understand this is due--at least in the beginning--to the way the brain works. The moral ickiness of vanity, snobbery, etc. (when they are present), gets piled on top of that. Ditto for these folks excusing the parasitical nature and incompetence of the ruling class snoots. It's not that they like parasites and incompetents. It's that their story war focus on vulgarity, on counting the basketballs being passed back and forth so to speak, don't allow them to see the big ugly-ass gorilla right in the middle of what they are looking at. Even when it waves at them.
For those who want more, here is the podcast from which the article emerged.
The podcast is a bit irritating because Pete Spiliakos, the one being interviewed, is obviously a ruling class snoot. Except he's seeing it, so he has his insights. He can't fully accept what he's seeing, but he sees it and, at least, is honest enough to admit it. But his snide comments like only conmen come from the Trump side, the way he dismisses Trump's real-world achievements (albeit he recognizes there are lots of real-world indications of something Trump all over the place), etc., shows he hasn't seen it all. Like I said, it's a crack in the dam, not a rupture.
As a bow-tie to the story wars theme, a story war is fought for persuasion. I think ruling class elitists can't stand it when the people they look down on and consider their intellectual inferiors, common people who are trying to work their way up, become competent at marketing, advertising and persuasion. I often get the impression that ruling class elitists think they have a corner on that skill and don't want it sullied by their inferiors.
Which goes to show that they are losing the story wars big time. One becomes better by being better, not by shutting down others. One does not--and cannot--own a story for persuading. One wields it effectively or not. I hate to say it to the snoots, but all people are created equal in having the possibility to pick up a story and tell it. Skills may vary, but this opportunity is open to all people everywhere. This is a skill where they are losing their edge while those they look down on are becoming experts.
(Actually, I don't hate to say it. I like it. )