The rise of wilful buffoonery and the allure of people like that Trump bloke.

I don’t usually do politics. The kind of spoken word that I do is an escape from the real world, though I do poetry about themes and society, such as LGBT issues, representation and inequality. I don’t usually do pieces about real people either, unless you count Jeremy Clarkson and Katie Hopkins, both of whom I’ve performed humorous poems about. I always see such poems as having a relatively short shelf life. I haven’t performed the Clarkson poem much since the muppet was fired from Top Gear. It was a sad day.
However this year has truly been a bummer, politically speaking, not only with that whole Brexit thing, (what the hell was all that shout?), and the populism of that Farage bloke, the rise of the rather spooky Teresa May, (again obliterating one of my poems, in which I mention ‘Home Secretary Teresa May. Short shelf life, you see), but rather more scarily, the ominous buffoonery of Donald Trump.
I’ve tried to make sense of all this as the ultimate expression of celebrity culture, the rise of anti-intellectualism, image over content, bluster as a signifier of the supposedly downtrodden. The result of the Europe referendum demonstrated, to my way of thinking, the wilful protest of the supposedly under-represented. Both Farage and Trump have grasped the idea that it doesn’t matter what lies you tell, as long as you sound angry. They have created situations in which there is a supposed opposition to everything which their supporters only just now realise that they cherish. Abstract concepts such as freedom, identity of the dominant culture, fear of change, the foreign Other. The more they shout and lie, the more popular they get, because the lies are so obvious that they’ve become conceptual anti-political protests.
I’d like to write poetry about this. But none of it is very poetic. The best way to fight bluster and bullying is often with humour, and that’s happening a lot in the US but not so much over here. I can’t remember who said that you can’t win an argument against stupidity. But when the stupidity is a purposeful tactic to win arguments, that’s when we should be worried.
The Pet Shop Boys did a song called I’m With Stupid, which had the line, ‘Is stupid really stupid, or a different kind of smart?’
Will all of this blow over? Probably not. Mr Trump hopefully won’t win the election, but you can never be too sure. People are being put off politics, including the politicians, and this will lead to a whole generation of media-managed calculated blundering, office as character, celebrity warmongering.

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