Sunday Pancaking (July 9th, 2017)
It’s the sort of week where the Waffling’s a day late, basically. The extra work of Doctor Who S10 has me typically behind on everything, and I’m scrambling to get back going on things. (I’m working on long-term fixes for my workload, but they’re necessarily long term.) Anyway, in light of the fact that I’m awful and behind on everything I can’t really complain too loudly that we’re $17 a week shy of me doing Game of Thrones reviews, but I figure I should be clear that those look like they’re not happening and like I’ll get to actually watch the show with Jill consistently.
But I did want to mention some other Patreons. For instance, Sam Keeper’s Patreon, from which you can get her fabulous new book on Star Wars. Or Jack Graham’s, which is $14 away from dragging him kicking and screaming back to watching Doctor Who. If you don’t decide to throw money at the likely doomed Game of Thrones goal, well, those are great places to throw it instead. (Of course, you could also just fund all of us. But I know that’s not an option for everyone.)
Back tomorrow with a post I only just got around to sending to my Patrons. Until then, I usually wrap these up with some sort of question for the comments section, so let’s go with this: for you personally, what’s the most awful aspect of the Trump era (whether you’re American or not).
July 9, 2017 @ 9:40 am
As a not-American: that after a several-year and variously expensive process, I got a green card in September 2016.
July 9, 2017 @ 10:11 am
Not American, so I can’t honestly bring up any of the multitude of ways in which people are genuinely being hurt by the Trump administration, but for me, personally:
When so much of online liberal-conservative dialogue is based in the latter half of that equation just wanting to see the former half suffer, it’s become incredibly hard to think of American conservatives as people who I just disagree with politically, and not as “the bad guys.”
I try to talk to them like they’re people, but that’s not at all what THEY’RE doing — I’m not “people” to them, I’m “an SJW” or a “concern troll,” or I shot Steve Scalise or killed Steve Rich, even though I’m Dutch and that has fuck all to do with me.
I want to think, logically, that “people who yell about cuckolding to strangers on the internet” probably aren’t representative of, like, Joe Average from Ohio, that Joe Average from Ohio had what were good reasons in his head to vote for a person like Donald Trump, that Joe Average from Ohio is just a GUY, that he’s… people, like, at all, but when so much of mainstream American GOP politics is about screwing people over for profit, often with a deliberate “to fuck over the Democrats” angle, when you’ve got middle-aged men on TV yelling about snowflakes, etcetera, that entire attitude seems so pervasive in American culture that, well, that’s probably Joe Average from Ohio telling me that wanting to kiss a nice boy my own age sometimes, well, that makes me a pedophile, apparently. That’s probably Joe Average from Ohio calling me a cuck.
I genuinely don’t understand where they’re coming from, so I engage them in conversation, and all I get out of it is confirmation that I am, indeed, a cuck.
July 9, 2017 @ 12:31 pm
Yeah, this is probably the worst. Well, second worst, the worst is that Trump’s election and antics have thrown my mother into a series of borderline suicidal depressions and driven her back to drinking after 17 years sobriety.
Between the caregiver burnout I’ve been coasting through for the past year and a half and the burnout I’m feeling regarding the awfulness of the electorate and the electees, I’m having trouble with feeling much anymore. The only things that really satisfy me right now are direct material pleasures, because no matter how bad the nation gets, at least a hot, salty, buttery pretzel still tastes good, and at least violent video games still have satisfying visuals and gameplay, and at least my action figures still bring me simple tactile joy. They haven’t taken that from me yet.
When I was younger, I thought that compromise was inherently good, that being able to reach across the aisle and make choices together wasn’t just possible but actually the best solution. The way things are now, I don’t know how to do that anymore. I don’t see how compromise can be just or even possible in this world anymore.
July 10, 2017 @ 11:57 am
Andrew Hickey made an excellent summary of the compromise dilemma, and how it traps those of us who are still deluded enough to think that human nature is generally good:
Anti-immigration side: We want to keep 100% of foreigners out.
Moderate: Let’s compromise, and keep 50% of foreigners out
Anti-immigration side: We want to keep 100% of foreigners out
Moderate: Well, the current position is to keep 50% of foreigners out. Let’s compromise and keep 75% of foreigners out.
Anti-immigration side: We want to keep 100% of foreigners out
Moderate: Well, the current position is to keep 75% of foreigners out. Let’s compromise and keep 87.5% of foreigners out.
July 9, 2017 @ 11:08 am
Not American either, but the worst aspect of the Trump administration for me personally is that, combined with Brexit and general bottom-of-the-barrel arguments with various online terrible people, nothing really shocks me anymore. I’ve become totally numb to all the horrendous things that are happening because so many of them keep happening, and it’s hard to feel any kind of anger at it all because after a certain point, I just don’t have energy for it. And I end up feeling totally useless in the face of all the shit because I see people actually getting angry and doing stuff to combat it, and it makes me feel guilty for my total inertia. So I just keep on keeping on, vaguely hope that the people who are actually good at getting productively angry will sort it all out eventually, donate to some cause or other when someone links to it online, and ignore the gnawing feeling that society is falling apart around me.
On the flipside, the one good thing about the Trump administration for me personally is that I now get to brag that I’m blocked on Twitter by the President of the United States.
July 9, 2017 @ 11:16 am
For me (in the UK), the second-worst part of Trump is that the even-more reprehensible wing of the Republican party have a shit-magnet that will allow them to dodge responsibility yet again and continue the slow dismantling of a once great nation. A speech about defending the value of the ‘West’ and a tweet about a journalist’s appearance distracts everyone from defunding housing, education and healthcare.
Over here the same thing is happening with the Tories, who are keeping Theresa May around so that they’ve got a handy scapegoat when things come crashing down. (And, of course, we also have the issue that our moderate centrist alternative is presented as Stalin for suggesting that we should spend a bit more on public services and stop corporates from abusing the system.)
But easily the worst thing is the definitive proof that there are at least 25-30% of the electorate who clearly think life is a zero-sum game: not only must they win, but someone else must be seen to lose. (I can’t decide if it’s funny or tragic that they are also the ones that tend to promote the line “a rising tide lifts all boats.”) And I see no way to reach them.
July 9, 2017 @ 4:29 pm
I mean, the obvious answer to that is the AHCA, which is not only the worst fucking thing ever but also the one with the furthest reaching immediate effects. However, on a more personal level, it makes my blood boil to see how far up their own asses the far right have gotten. The fact that they can, with a straight face, claim that their candidates being heavily criticized is the result of a biased media – as if their actions were well within the range of what is acceptable and as if they weren’t consistently paving new ground for depravity – and have an immense amount of support.
July 9, 2017 @ 5:32 pm
Well, all of it. In particular climate change, I guess (sorry to be boring), because that has a knock-on effect across the world and seeing the most influential man in America legitimise the views of millions of idiots is one of the most genuinely depressing images to come out of these last couple of years.
On the other hand, healthcare is a major one. I think it’s basically disgusting, and from over here it looks like some perverse satire. Do people really have to live through that? Apparently so. Jesus.
Really though, above all, it’s just the sense of powerless. Seeing a crowd of white men discussing the reproductive rights of women in developing countries – that stings. If I lived in America, I wouldn’t feel remotely represented, valued, or safe – and I’d say I’m somewhere on the upper end of privilege, health problems excepted.
July 9, 2017 @ 5:33 pm
July 10, 2017 @ 1:19 am
You hit the nail on the head, though, when you said “powerlessness.” And I’m a straightish-cis white dude, so the things that affect you are never going to hit me in the same way.
To me, it’s just the general sense of “the bullies won.” They hate us because we’re liberal. That’s it. Bullies don’t usually have a good reason to hate you – they just like having power over someone. Add to that their persecution complex, where they genuinely seem to think they’re “fighting back against their oppressors” by pulling the same tricks they’ve played for years, and you get this really noxious situation where they think they’re making a brave stand for freedom by… keeping the same people down that they’ve always kept down. They’re being jerks for the lolz and calling it a revolutionary act, and now they have real institutional power. That’s what depresses me.
That, and the sense that even if someone released a video of Trump giving Putin a footrub while Putin says “Good boy, Donald, now I shall hack the election to help you win, and here is how I will do it…” it still wouldn’t change anything and Orange Mussolini would still get to be President. Because while the world was never fair, and certainly not under capitalism, it’s like we’ve recently gone and specifically written “unfairness for its own sake” into the social contract without saying it out loud. You can bring up capitalism, slavery, racism, and sexism all you want, but at least under all of those things, somebody won. They were awful for everyone else, but someone somewhere materially benefitted from the oppression of others. Nowadays, it’s like “we don’t care if the world burns and everyone dies, so long as we get to laugh at the silly liberals on our way out.” Bullying for its own sake won. That’s why I’m depressed.
July 10, 2017 @ 10:21 am
Absolutely. So much. And it all comes back to what I said about views being legitimised.
I don’t for one moment buy into the “rise of the alt-right” narrative, or at least, the one which suggests that there’s this sudden upsurge in alt-right views and that millions of ordinary people are being drawn towards them. Sure, a lot of white cishet guys (though still hopefully a minority) are feeling “persecuted” and taking that stance, but what’s new? That’s the reaction you’d expect when you rob a few overgrown manchildren of their privileges.
I think what we’re seeing is the views of the pre-existing alt-right being legitimised. The country elects a bully who’s allowed to be a bully on live TV, on Twitter, who, heck, is allowed to threaten the opposition with imprisonment? No wonder the alt-right is growing. The bullies know they’re safe and don’t have to hide behind reddit, 4chan and YouTube accounts anymore.
As you say, bullying for its own sake. We’re seeing the nastiest, bitterest corner of civilisation realise that they can say and do whatever the hell they like and no one will stop them.
July 9, 2017 @ 6:54 pm
American, believe it or not.
The worst part of the Trump era? That he won.
Honestly, I can’t pretend I’ll be personally affected by most of the policies he puts forth. I’m fairly privileged, my family’s solidly middle-class, etc.
The worst part is the triumph of this absolute shitlord – the shambling corpse of fucking people over, the collection of every wrongheaded impulse that violent children have, the emobidiment of a way of living that should have died out long ago. He’s made his entire life using his name to exploit people, and he got (what most consider) the ultimate prize for it.
There’s not a good bone in his body. And now he’s going to have toll roads and libraries named after him.
July 9, 2017 @ 7:15 pm
Non-American, and for me it’s the implications for global warming. Domestically, I’m sure various things will be bad, but it will hardly be as bad as, say, the Syrian civil war for someone who tries to think of people the same regardless of what country they live in, America isn’t going to enter any list of the ten worst countries in the world to live in. And his general foreign policy is hard to predict the consequences of. But his attitude towards global warming could conceivably make the difference between the survival and the destruction of human civilization. And I kind of like human civilization.
July 9, 2017 @ 8:26 pm
Evil rewarded is hell on any theodicy. Failing theodicies make good people sick. Cycle day after day.
July 10, 2017 @ 1:51 am
As a non-US citizen, the worst impact I’ve seen is the rise of the ideologues on both extremes of the political spectrum, throughout the world.
And, unwillingly, within myself.
In Australia (home for me) we have the rise of Pauline Hanson and the One Nation Party, partly as a result of Trump’s ascendency. I don’t know if it would be fair to the ‘Right’ to categorise this disorganised rabble of misfits and nutcases as belonging to any identifiable ideology. More a bunch of grievances collected under one loose banner. I don’t mind extreme dissenting views being aired in parliament; debate is healthy. Even nutcase debate. But under the Australian system, this party could conceivably end up with the balance of power in Parliament or the Senate. That is a bit scary.
Across Europe there are parties rising in popularity on the extremes of politics. Take France for example, where everyone cheered the great victory of Macron, but conveniently forgot that around 35%, more than one in three, voted for Marine La Pen. Let that sink in properly. Fully one third of French voters preferred an extreme Right president!
In the UK, Corbyn rises in popularity. He’s as close to communist as you can get without having a little red book in your pocket. And May is the polar opposite.
Watching the US election from outside, I couldn’t have voted for either presidential candidate. Hillary and Trump both disgust my deeply. And the blind zealot like followers of both are reminiscent of the followers of a Lenin, a Hitler or a Mao. Ignore the bad, only trumpet the good. And anyone who disagrees, even slightly, is a Nazi/Commie/Anarchist/Cuck/Mysoganist/Feminazi/Shitlord/Etc.
Society has been polarised since the rise of Trump, and that is a bad thing. Anyone who wants negotiation and compromise with the other side is vilified (just look at the reaction to Lacy Green for daring to even talk to those who take the opposing view).
I have friends and family who won’t speak to me anymore because I don’t support their Marxist view of the world, and still many others who shun me because I won’t go completely to the Right. In the past we could discuss ideas over dinner and a drink, now every conversation is a war of ideologies.
That, for me, is the worst of the rise of Trump; a lightning rod for every ideologue to come out of the closet.
July 10, 2017 @ 10:33 am
If you think Corbyn is anywhere near communist, you have no idea what you’re talking about. He’s a social democrat, plain and simple. Yes, he’s on the left, but barely past the centre left.
Laci Green was hated on for soliciting the views of the right and ignoring or blocking leftists and young trans people. It’s not because she dared to talk to the other side, it’s because she’s pandering to the right.
Furthermore, there’s a reason the left don’t compromise with the far right. Their views are incompatible, compromises won’t work when two sides are fundamentally opposed. When a car crashes into a wall, you don’t say the car and the wall should’ve compromised, you recognise that maybe cars shouldn’t drive into walls.
July 10, 2017 @ 9:06 am
Non American here. The most awful aspect of the Trump era (apart from everyting he does in the US itself) is the fact that he gave our own right-wing politicians and nationalists yet another reason to be loud and proud. As if they needed one.