Thursday, December 8, 2016

"Trump as Lady Gaga - Trump is a political performance artist, challenging what we think is normal. "

The above is the title of one of the most interesting, surprising and maybe insightful analysis of President-elect Trump that was passed on to me.

It offers a useful practice reminder regarding our judgements and reactions.

Can we hold judgements lightly and temporarily withhold reactions?  What are the options in how we respond?

Below are some excerpts and the link.

"Lady Gaga once talked about the doubters in an interview: “They would say, ‘This is too racy, too dance-oriented, too underground. It’s not marketable.’ And I would say, ‘My name is Lady Gaga, I’ve been on the music scene for years, and I’m telling you, this is what’s next.’ And look . . . I was right.”

Who does that sound like?

In “The Art of the Deal,” Donald Trump described what he was up to: “I play to people’s fantasies.”

Anti-Trumpers will say: Precisely. We can’t have a performance artist as president of the United States.

That’s irrelevant now.

In four years it may be possible to say that making a performance artist president was a mistake. But that will only be true if he fails. If the Trump method succeeds, even reasonably so, it will be important to understand his art from the start.

So far, the media and the comedians are stuck in pre-Trump consciousness. You’d think the comedians would get it, but getting laughs from left-wing audiences has taken a toll.

Consider two Trump tweet performances:

Jill Stein commences her preposterous recounts and the press analyzes the threat to the Trump electoral-college victory.

Suddenly, the president-elect tweets that “millions” voted illegally for Hillary. The press pivots from Jill Stein to prove, across several days, that the Trump claim is “bogus.”

Like any smart performance artist, he’s made the strait-laced audience part of his act.

One day later, @realDonald Trump tweets: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

Now he’s the Queen of Hearts. Off with their heads! And like terriers chasing another tossed ball, the media ran down every case on the subject to prove, “court rulings forbid it.”

That is true. The courts forbid it. But if it is important to comprehend a president’s mind and intentions, it will be pointless if the media does nothing more the next four years than consider its job done if it microscopically fact-checks and flyspecks everything Donald Trump tweets.

Donald Trump treats the truth as only one of several props he’s willing to use to achieve an effect. Truth sits on his workbench alongside hyperbole, sentimentality, bluster and just kidding. Use as needed.

Another important distinction: Performers merely entertain. Performance artists challenge, subvert and alter. They may be slightly crazy, but they’re crazy serious, though usually a little unclear about where they’re going... (my emphasis)

(as the closing surprising paragraph states)

...Some of America’s most charismatic presidents were also public performance artists who challenged and overturned status quos: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan. All of them knew that a successful American presidency would be measured by a totality greater than their public performances. "

The full article by Daniel Henninger is here:

If you can access the link, some of the comments by readers offer further insight and examples.