Friday, December 27, 2019

It Doesn't Matter If It's Ridiculous.

Neither the truth nor wisdom matters. A fact-checker, one of the true heroes of journalism and of modern civilization (but I repeat myself):

President Trump regularly caters to the GOP's donor class and industry heavyweights. The New York Times has reported

"Dishwashers used to clean a full load of filthy dishes in under an hour. But now they take an average of two and a half hours and STILL leave dishes dirty!” reads one online petition promoted by FreedomWorks, a libertarian offshoot of a group co-founded by the late David H. Koch and his brother Charles Koch, who made their fortune in fossil fuels. The decline of American dishwashers, the site says, is “all thanks to crazy environmentalist rules.”

The petition, titled “Make Dishwashers Great Again,” is just one part of a broad campaign coordinated by conservative organizations with ties to fossil-fuel companies. Trump administration emails made public as part of a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club shed new light on the effort, designed to persuade the Trump administration to weaken standards on a long list of home appliances.

Electricity takes many uses and Trump evidently has another annoyance covered because

Trump told supporters in Battle Creek, MI that if their fluorescent bulbs break, they have to go to a dump "a couple of hundred miles away" to dispose them.

The city tells me they actually have two annual collection events in Battle Creek, two in the county seat 11 miles away.

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 27, 2019

But the President's complaints serve another strategic purpose, as observed by a Twitterer from the Netherlands who observes  
Trump says those dumb things for a reason; it apparently appeals to people who think they want "less government regulation and thus more freedom in their personal lives." We mock him & those remarks at our peril.

It's not necessary that the remarks are dumb or inaccurate, but they can be either.  James Poniewozik, author of the new "Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America," explained last month to Vox's Sean Illing that Trump's "stock-in-trade is the non-sequitur argument and the provocation." It's "the lashing out,the careening from one subject to another, the seemingly random fights on social media. Trump's act is

not so much about being taken in or thinking he’s totally honest, it’s about this guy who’s fighting for your side. And even if there’s this level of bullshit and artifice, it’s only because he’s a clever trickster. And besides, what’s most important is how he makes his voters feel.

It's about the deterioration of modern life, focused on the politics of resentment, against whatever seems to be making modern life irritating and ultimately exasperating. It's about making voters feel- not even think, but feel- that he's on their side against forces they can't fight against on their own.  Among them are the dishwashers which don't work like they previously did or are expected to, the light bulbs that cost more and aren't supposed to be thrown out but must be taken to a special site. And even eleven miles is a long way to get rid of a simple light bulb. Or a not so simple light bulb.

And of course, the people who Trump supporters believe make them say "Happy Holidays" when in the old days you were comfortable saying "Merry Christmas."  That's probably a minor one- but this is Christmas week, after all.

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