Monday, August 24, 2015

Response to Political Socialization

(See: Just Above Sunset: Political Socialization)

Back in the 1980s, when I was publishing a national newsletter for the TV news industry, there was a stretch of time when station general managers across the country actually debated replacing news programming with "reality TV". And yes, the irony of swapping out actual reality with "reality", in quotes, seemed lost on most of them.

So now, according to the "libidinous" Maureen Dowd, we have this:
It is a fable conjured up in several classic movies: A magnetic, libidinous visitor shows up and insinuates himself into the lives of a bourgeois family. The free spirit leaves, but only after transforming the hidebound family, so that none of them can see themselves the same way again. 
That is the profound metamorphosis Trump has wrought on the race. The Don Rickles of reality shows is weirdly bringing some reality to the presidential patty-cake.
Nothing like a boring old bourgeois presidential race being insinuated into by a "reality" TV star candidate, and one who, like Ronald Reagan, comes with enough pre-installed media experience to allow him to fool people into thinking he knows what he's doing. Someone here needs to be reminded that Don Rickles' outrageous act wasn't really real, either -- although in Rickles' case, unlike Trump's, the schtick only worked for people who understood he was putting everyone on.

In fact, one could almost guess that Donald Trump is popular with people who's favorite professional sport is one of the let's-pretend competitions -- like professional wrestling, or maybe even "The Bachelorette".

But speaking of reality, the one without the quotes, we also need to remind ourselves of the true depth of Trump's popularity. To illustrate that, you can try this trick in the privacy of your own home:

Hold up both hands in front of you, with your thumbs folded into your palms, leaving eight fingers showing. Let's call your left hand "Democrats" and your right hand "Republicans". For argument sake, and to be generous, we'll say that Trump is popular with 25% of the Republicans -- which is one finger out of the eight. Fold that one finger down, and you see that seven-eighths of us do not like Trump.

In other words, despite all the hoopla, it's worth remembering that there's more of us than there is of them.

And yes, I realize there's a joke hidden in there somewhere concerning that one finger that represents Trump supporters, but I gave up looking for it.

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