When I was writing my new glam rock history Shock and Awe, I kept running into things that seemed like premonitions – previews of the scary and dangerous man running for the American presidency right now.
"The Majesty of Trump" by Will Wilkinson at The New York Times
Forward's Jake Romm with a convincing reading of Time's Person of the Year cover, analysing the staging of the Trump photograph (by Nadav Kander) as a slyly subversive deconstruction of his regal pretensions:
Trump as reality TV star turned Narcissist-in-Chief (Guardian) :
"'We found that reality TV stars were the most narcissistic of any group of celebrities including actors, musicians and comedians,' says Mark Young, who studies the entertainment industry at the University of Southern California and co-authored The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America. Young says a talent vacuum in most reality TV stars means they have to “act out” to stay in the public eye, while typically also losing self-awareness to paranoia and insecurity. “Reality TV has normalised outrageous and inappropriate behaviour,” he says. Viewers demand it, meanwhile, “since they are primed for this type of entertainment and stimulation”. Young identifies a comparable feedback loop of outrage in Trump’s presidential campaign. “He didn’t have skills in the political arena so … he was able to keep himself ‘fresh’ by being outrageous,” he says. He calls Trump’s victory “the greatest ending to any reality TV show in history”.
Trump's unprincipled flip-flopping and opportunistic beliefs as revealed in this 2000 interview when he tried to run as Presidential Candidate with pro-immigration, pro-health-care, pro-LGBT etc positions: "Last fall Donald Trump shook up the political world by announcing he was joining the Reform Party, a major step in exploring a run for president. The pundits laughed, claiming that the real estate mogul knew more about glamour than politics..."
Laurie Penny on the "performative bigotry", hate-speech cabaret and "pageant of insincerity" of alt-right trolls - "the insider traders of the attention economy," with Trump as their Gordon Gekko (Medium)
Donald Trump as actor playing the part of "Donald Trump" in a Goffman-esque, "presentation of self in everyday life" (psycho-)analysis by Daniel P. Adams (The Atlantic):
Greil Marcus on Trump as Ubu Roi and Beyonce as Trump (in Tages Anzeiger)
"Her fans, her followers, the people who think she understands them.... : They are in love with her apparent power. She seems to own the stage she walks on, she seems to own the air she breathes. And we breathe that same air at her dispensation. The aura that surrounds here and that she’s created around herself and other people have created around her is very similar to the aura that has been created around Donald Trump. This sense of authority, of absolute power, a sense that one has reached a point where he or she can do absolutely anything and be beyond criticism, alone face any consequences. I don’t want this to be misconstrued. Donald Trump is a racist, Beyoncé is not. Donald Trump wants to destroy people, and I don’t think Beyoncé does. They’re entirely different, but the linkage between the two is that they worship power and the appearance of power....
"[That SNL sketch about how] anybody who doesn’t like Beyoncé is hunted down and thrown into prison. Anybody who likes her new album but not the seventh track loses his job and is attacked by the FBI... the Beygency hunting anyone that doesn’t bow to her - this sketch actually gets to the question: What if Beyoncé was Donald Trump? And Donald Trump was a dictator? And to criticize him became a crime?"
Trump as King - blogpost at Followers of the Apocalypse on the royalist and restorationist currents of "neo-reactionism":
Trumpism and the Weimar analogy / decadence>authoritarianism syndrome (Chris Hedges's "It's Worse Than You Think" at Truthdig):
"We have replaced political discourse, news, culture and intellectual inquiry with celebrity worship and spectacle... '“It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Noam Chomsky told me with uncanny insight when I spoke with him six years ago.... 'The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen....'.... The rot of our failed democracy vomited up a con artist who was a creation of the mass media—first playing a fictional master of the universe on a reality television show and later a politician as vaudevillian. Trump pulled in advertising dollars and ratings. Truth and reality were irrelevant.... Trump is emblematic of what anthropologists call “crisis cults.” A society in terminal decline often retreats into magical thinking. Reality is too much to bear. It places its faith in the fantastic and impossible promises of a demagogue or charlatan who promises the return of a lost golden age."
From Barrett's book's Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: "“His fatalism allowed him hold himself blameless; his determinism convinced him he’d be a winner again. On the public stage where he’d played out every act of his life he was too much of a showman to be embarrassed by a single disastrous performance. The cumulative effect of this life view—so deep seated it appeared to be instinctual—was the confidence that all of this would come and go.”
from the interview:
on Trump as gambler / speculator / fabulator:
"Donald in ‘88 and ‘89 was doing incomprehensible deals that were unsustainable on their face, thinking he could not lose. Almost every one of those deals blew up in his face. It was like one lemon after another in a manic, manic state. I thought he was on the same kind of manic run the last two years. I thought he had damaged his brand and that it was all going to explode. I thought he was like on a 1988-89 re-run. And then it turns out that he wins. In the 1990s, he was anything but manic. He was extremely subdued.... he was hiding in the ‘90s. He was just glad to be alive. And biding his time."
on his success as a triumph of optics belying the reality of failure:
"The glamor is intoxicating. He understood that carrying this big dick, having a blonde on his arm, getting into the casino businesses where everything seemed to convey a fast life, when it’s really a dead end for so many people ... Trump Tower is really the only great project that he actually built.... It’s a triumph of a project. That can make your name. The triumphs are what last in this culture. He seemed to have it all, and that stays in the mindset. So he has a track record of bankruptcy and failure, but there’s also this narrative that he’s the embodiment of brashness, boldness, decisiveness, and that’s what people choose to see.
"When Alice Cooper Predicted Donald Trump" by me at MTV News
Chris Ott aka Shallow Rewards on Trump as "The Contestant" (subscribe here)
"His only interest was in the contest itself, because he is a gambler. He did not get into the casino business randomly: his dream of owning a casino was an augmented reflection of his innate obsession with outcomes.... Trump likes to watch the wheel spin. He likes to blow on dice.... It has become clear Trump was only interested in winning. This has been suggested from the beginning: my point is that it is now incontestably clear, clear enough that he must answer for it. He has spilled his drink on the roulette table to ensure nobody wins, but more importantly, he doesn't lose.... Trump's flailing transition trainwreck is evidence of his disregard for the prize he has won. The presidency is merely a trophy to him, a ratings victory following another reality show."
Me on the Weeknd as the king of WeimaR&B - decadent dirges that glamorize giving in and giving up - the sonic prequel to the Trump Takeover (the Guardian)