by R.U. Sirius
I would like to — beforehand — renounce these unauthorized thoughts by… wait, who is it? … oh yeah, me. It is unthinkable to think unthinkable things in times such as these.
1: The Chaos Candidate/President
Upset the apple cart and see what rolls out? Jefferson Airplane sang in their 1969 anthemic song “We Should Be Together” “We are forces of chaos and anarchy… and we are very proud of ourselves.” The Sex Pistols offered the slogan “cash for chaos” and Chaos was a signifier on thousands of punkers tees and leather jackets. Well, we may have learned something about the limits of chaos as applied to practical matters such as political policy and many who loved chaos now curse the Chaos Presidency without looking back… but also, seemingly, without self-reflection.
Trump says whatever the fuck he pleases (well, maybe a bit cautious not to upset Vlad) and seems to enjoy performing provocatively. There’s an inkling of the prankster/trickster spirit. (If you’ve explored the legends of the trickster, you know it is not always or ultimately benign). Sure, he is just a dumpy old scammer, but there’s a bit of the mad glint in the eye when he’s gaslighting the entire world.
It’s problematic of course because it’s bullshit pretending to be facts in a situation that’s consequential but 20th Century countercultures embraced spontaneity and play and Trump’s randomness was appealing to a few old freaks. At a time when parents have been arrested for letting their kids walk down the street and in which “free range kids” has to be enunciated; a time of Tiger Moms and 12 rules for living… and in which “you better watch what you say” has gone from something we freaked out about when Ari Fleischer uttered it during the G.W. Bush years to something that is daily and retroactively enforced by public shaming and worse, the performance of spontaneity is a quality that can attract people and give a dopamine hit of pleasure.
Trump was also up against an uncomfortably constrained, poll-tested, cautious candidate. In contrast to Obama, who could be pretty natural and a bit spontaneous because of natural charisma and because moderation-with-some-progressive-ideals is who he actually is, Ms. Clinton was not just an uncomfortable campaigner. As someone with a managerial temperament, she’d learned and seen too much to not have conservative as well as progressive approaches towards various issues which made her feel conflicted in the role of simple advocacy. In other words, as a true believer, broadly, in the system, she had, from experience, evolved into a full-on neoliberal centrist establishment policy wonk. And she was not having much fun.
Democratic presidential candidates will likely have even more difficulty being spontaneous in 2020 as even the slightest verbal misstep may become a massive trigger.
3: Conspiracy Theory
Many counterculture types are deep — too deep — into conspiracy theory. The President is too deep into conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theory is anti-establishment (unless it’s Colin Powell waving a vial of anthrax at the UN to prove something false about Saddam Hussein or … the Russians!). Therefore, such logic dictates, the president is antiestablishment… which he sort of is in a perverse way. He’s against obeying the established norms, but entirely in his own self-interest and in the interest of peculiar notions that 1: aren’t really against the system (well-policed state capitalism) and 2: don’t hold water.
4: Too Many Drugs
Sure, you’re tapped into the pulsating “I” from which infinite multiverses are relentlessly formed, but while so distracted you’re an easy prey to the street corner 3-card monte dealer.
5: Freaks Don’t Like Cool Wealthy Hollywood Types Preaching At Them About What To Think and Feel
You can irritate a contrarian — or a swarm of contrarians — by being too preachy. True freaks … many of them… don’t want to see multimillionaires like Lady Gaga or Madonna or Beyonce and Jay-Z preaching at them about privilege. It makes for a sort of backlash. It just does. They were born that way. Even John Lennon couldn’t tell the freaks what to do. Also, for the most part, 20th century freak culture — for better or worse — didn’t do guilt and often self-identified as mainline society’s deplorable outsiders.
6: Easy Rider Giving The World The Finger
It was always Dennis Hopper with Peter Fonda in Easy Rider giving the world the finger more than Jane Fonda waving the protesting fist. There’s always that “Don’t Tread On Me” aspect that can be pretty reactionary. At the same time, individual autonomy has its charms and we would do well to keep it under consideration. Personally (thanks for asking), I’m for a more socialist economy and a more individualist culture but that’s always been hard to manifest. The urge to make the personal political in an invasive way is always there on the left and invites reaction… even when self-harm is involved
NOTE: The author of this article hates Donald Trump and considers him a preposterously ignorant vulgar corrupt bogus sack of excrement who is enacting hurtful and stupid policies.