Some weeks back, statues of a naked Donald Trump appeared without warning in several major cities across America. Created by a social art collective which calls itself INDECLINE, these statues purported to reveal that “The Emperor Has No Balls,” but they instead exposed a far uglier willingness by Democrats and the (Faux)gressive elite to celebrate the same kind of base, dimwitted jeering they’d characterize as offensive hate speech, were it coming from their political opponents, even – and especially – Donald Trump himself.
When Conservative Trump supporters cried foul, they were joined by some on the Left, including critics of Trump, who argued the statues constituted body-shaming. Defenders of the statues countered by calling them “satire,” comparing them to political cartoons, similar to Rush Limbaugh likening himself to Jon Stewart anytime he’s under fire for saying something even more despicable than usual.
The comparison to political cartoons only holds if you’re thinking of lousy cartoonists. Speaking of which, calling the statues “satire” only serves to devalue the term, in much the same way as every Pulitzer Prize won by Michael Ramirez does less to prove the strength of his work than it does to weaken the award’s stature as a measure of quality.
They might technically be satire, but that doesn’t mean they’re good satire.
I’m neither saying I disagreed with the statues’ message; nor did I find a great deal of merit in the body-shaming criticism, given the circumstances; nor am I commenting on their craftsmanship, which I never had the chance to see in person, but seems good enough.
The problem with the statues’ message of “Trump, he ugly” isn’t that it’s incorrect or uncalled for, either as a comment about his bizarre physical attributes, or about every single thing he’s ever said, done, stands for, and represents… it’s that it’s POINTLESS AND DUMB. It’s a message that’s already widely known, and frequently, loudly (though perhaps not eloquently) recognized, and the work not only fails to express it in terms that could conceivably convince anyone who disagrees, it does so in an obnoxious manner that probably shoves such people even further out of reach.
It adds nothing of consequence to the debate. It has no more wit, cultural value, or intellectual depth than a window decal of Calvin urinating on Trump’s campaign logo.
Even the “naked Trump with Hitler-like micropenis” concept was already done famously (and better, in my opinion) by a different artist, months earlier, so in addition to being vacuous, the statues were unoriginal.
Perhaps none of these issues, individually, would have been enough to earn the condemnation of an artist or critic concerned with such things. But put them all together, and anyone should be able to see that the work misses the point of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” so completely, that it makes itself an example of the same brazen, petty, bourgeois narcissism, and empty-headed, pompous delusion Hans Christian Andersen sought to criticize when he first wrote the tale.
The statues’ creators are likely so proud of how much attention the work got, they think that proves their genius, regardless of what the work DID with that attention. I wonder if Andersen would have been more amused by, or disappointed in the obvious hypocrisy?
Hypocrisy is, of course, the main theme of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s odious campaigns for President. Both are probably the most detestable individuals to run for the office under either of the two major parties’ banners in the General Election since at least 1984, a year whose literary symbolism is highly appropriate for many things each candidate either promises to do, or has already done.
At best, these two are like if one major party decided to nominate a reanimated Richard Nixon, while the other were to do the same with Ronald Reagan, and then they put each behind a red door and a blue door, respectively, without even letting voters see which door concealed which horrible zombie nightmare.
At worst, each major party is offering voters its own branded Hitler clone. A VOTE AGAINST THE LYING, RACIST FASCIST IS A VOTE FOR THE FASCIST, RACIST LIAR! What do you mean they’re basically the same, look at the arrangement of the words! They’re TOTAL OPPOSITES!
The notion of either being the “lesser evil” is a myth. They’re both the greater evil, each somehow simultaneously worse than the other; figures in a paradoxical political cartoon by M.C. Escher, chucking rocks at one another from within their own glass houses.
And their supporters aren’t much better. Many Democrats seem to think the best way to distinguish themselves from Republican voters’ frenzied sprint towards unrestrained, xenophobic, white-power nationalism is to confidently swagger into the dishonest, irresponsible, warmongering, environment-destroying, graft–trading, wealth-idolizing, corporate bank-cuddling, voter-disenfranchising, Red-baiting, conspiracy theory-indulging, classist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic, racist, overall contemptuous realm which the Republicans have made their domain for decades.
It’s like watching a football game in which one team rushes into the stands to beat up the other team’s fans, and instead of taking the opportunity to run a few touchdowns, or I don’t know, DO ANYTHING TO HELP THEIR FANS, the other team starts gradually fumbling the ball towards their opponent’s goal, because they think that’s more “pragmatic.” “Yeah, the Hydrophobic Psychos (Go Foamin’ Old Yellers!) still won, but we didn’t have to deal with getting tackled by them in the process, and we guaranteed we could at least feel proud of ourselves for contributing to the winning team’s victory!”
It’s like in the Lord of the Rings, when Saruman says “we must join Sauron” to Gandalf, if Gandalf’s response was “ok, but you have to put me in charge of raping the Shire, so I can make sure at least Bag End remains unraped. Now, gimme some more goddamn pipe-weed!!”
Prominent Republicans endorsing Clinton is NOT GOOD NEWS, you dolts! It’s actually VERY, VERY BAD! You should welcome their embrace like a sentient balloon animal wants a hug from Master Shredder.
Remember back when Hillary supporters (rightly) chortled at Donald Trump’s Brent-Spiner-from-Independence-Day-looking personal doctor, after he declared Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected [President]?” Remember how they were (again, rightly) demanding Trump release his medical records in response, as recently as
last week two days ago? THEY sure must not, otherwise it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for them to now just as earnestly believe bullshit claims by one of Clinton’s personal doctors that she’s doing fine: it was just a silly, little touch of allergies overheating dehydration non–contagious pneumonia when Mum lost consciousness the other day, and had to be unceremoniously tossed into a van by her handlers like a murder victim rolled up in a soiled rug.
And they definitely wouldn’t cite those claims to argue her Weakness Is Strong, or call anyone sexists for daring to question her health, or wanting to know just what the hell is wrong with her. “Why is she being held to a different standard? By the way SHOW US YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS, DONALD!”
It’s Republicans who are the real hypocrites, after all, only Republicans! Quit name-calling, you asshole!