Friday, December 09, 2016


Like a lot of conservatives, I am not deeply impressed by Trump's post-election actions, but I am heartened by how absolutely insane and irrational his opponents have gotten. Three people with voices rising and necks tightening today angry at "Trump supporters who couldn't see it coming that Donald was going to appoint people from Goldman Sachs."  All three are Hillary/Obama supporters and it never once occurred to them that they were in far deeper.

We may not get good political changes or financial changes.  But we may get good cultural changes.  Crazy people doubling down is seldom a good cultural dominance strategy. Everyone is laughing at Trump for being so ridiculous as to respond to an SNL parody.  I think they don't get what is happening.  They are right, of course.  A president should not stoop to engage that. (It is somewhat similar but still different when Obama or Hillary engage in SNL humor. Double standard, sure, but still, being humorous, even unfairly, is not the same as complaining about humor). And his complaint that it's just not a good imitation and it's not that funny sound lame and petty.

But that will stick.  Late night TV is losing viewers, and the erosion of even a single narrow demographic that says "screw it" with sink some shows.  SNL will hold out longest, but you watch - 18 months from now their numbers will be down as well.  They think they have entered a target-rich environment with a president easy to make fun of. But it's going to be the same ten* jokes repeated endlessly, and the line "that's not really all that funny" will creep into more and more heads.

It occurred to me while commenting elsewhere that Trump is not going to change even if his base abandons him, as other politicians would. So the counter-Trump Democratic plans that seek to turn voters away from him are going to completely miss the point. The only thing that will happen is that the people opposed to him will become even more opposed, more shrill, more crazy, more angry at all those other stupid people who just don't get it.  

Jon Stewart is saying some interesting things that neither his critics nor his audience expected, and no one is interested in what Stephen Colbert is saying anymore.  Who's next, John Oliver?  Cultural change is coming, but I don't know where it goes.

*Make that five jokes.


jaed said...

A president should not stoop to engage that.

I disagree. SNL is powerful and it can have a profound impact on a President's ability to govern effectively and to get his message out. Perhaps this wasn't always true of comedy shows—and if it weren't, "don't stoop to notice it" would be good advice—but it is now. It would be irresponsible to ignore it or pretend it didn't matter. It matters quite a bit. Bush ignored such attacks with dignity, and while I understand why, I think it was a strategic and perhaps even a moral mistake, because his doing so ultimately harmed the country.

Trump is probably having too much fun trolling the media, but that doesn't mean he should ignore it, any more than a general should refuse to resist an attack because "I won't stoop to engaging that."

Sam L. said...

Besides, he's NOT the President yet. For me, SNL lost the funny 30+ years ago. Dave Letterman wasn't funny. Stewart struck me as a snarky jerk; the others seemed to be in the same vein. Also, I just won't stay up that late.

Earl Wajenberg said...

"Cultural change is coming, but I don't know where it goes."

I will venture what I think a fairly safe prediction: the polarization will get worse.

Trump supporters will get nettled by the likes of SNL and all the other times occasions of making fun of Trump, and will grumble that the damned elitists for mocking their guy.

Trump critics will have every occasion to be outraged as Trump does his level best to bring back the age of robber barons.

These and a lot of similar factors will keep aggravating the division until either one side or the other totally disgraces and discredits itself, or we have Civil War II.

Sam L. said...

EW, I'm fairly sure it will be the left that disgraces itself, and will double down thereafter.