Showing posts with label Democracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Democracy. Show all posts

September 29, 2023

Milley, Miley, and Taylor too: Where pop culture and politics intersect: - Convincing people that MAGA is deadly for democracy


By Hal Brown

Update: I wrote this before this was posted as the lead story on Salon:

Click to read

The article concludes:

I get that Swift is the center of the news cycle and Republicans hate when women have autonomy, but she is one person who is untouchable. As long as she can register thousands of voters by sharing a simple link to social media, she's also a threat. In this moment, Swift has amassed enough cultural power that angry men's opinions about her just don't matter, which just so happens to be something that she has worked toward her entire career. Between her frenzied fans, billion dollars and perfectly calculated every move, the right doesn't stand a chance and is backing themselves into an unpopular corner. Just ask Scooter Braun and Kanye West if they'd recommend going up against her. 

The idea that high profile people from two very different worlds are publically very much equating Donald Trump with dictatorship and anti-democracy may be what ultimately saves the country.

While Taylor has bumped Miley out of the media spotlight with her political activty and her dating Travis Kelce, it is worthwhile to recall how Miley made the news a few years ago with her 2019 comments about Trump:

Click to read

Now that Taylor Swift has gone into poltics, albeit in a more restrained way than her fellow chart-busting artist and close friend Miley Cyrus the two can be said to be political allies in the war against Trump and MAGA.

Click to read

I doubt my 10 year old unofficial granddaughter who knows the lyrics to many Taylor Swift songs and knows very well who Miley Cyrus is ever heard of Gen. Milley. That isn't the point. The point is that Trump is up against the predominate military culture which is removed from politics, and pop culture where with the exception of parts of country music stars are usually liberal.

While DeSantis invented the war against woke Trump has glommed onto it and neither of them understand that pop culture is decidely woke and it is incredibly powerful.

The realm of politics and pop culture can't be separated. Consider the fact that Rolling Stone which has always covered some politics from a very liberal position is now often breaking or writing about poltical news.

When Taylor Swift asked her fans to register to vote something like 35,000 did so within an hour. 

Whether or not the typical Trump cultist knows much about Gen. Milley they know what he looks like even though they don't read Politico or Military Times.

Read article

Read another article which used a photo from the same meeting

This is how Fox News covered the story online today with the photo from the article.

By now anyone in the cult camp who follows the news knows what Gen. Milley looks like. Appearance make a difference in how people are able to influence people.

The general may not be able to carry a tune (who knows?) but you can just look at him to take what he says seriously.

He doesn't scream like Trump does, but when he's deadly serious you can see it in his face.

Trump rules over a cult of personality who find him charismatic. The last American president to have anything one could call charisma is Barack Obama and you have to go back to JFK to find another president who could be described this way.

Alas, it's an oxymoron to juxtapose Joe Biden and charisma in the same sentence. Biden has only recent shown that he has the ability to express outrage:

When it comes to generals supporting him, this is the best Trump can do:

Michael Flynn

As for musicians supporting Trump, you can't call Ted Nugent and Kid Rock pop stars.

People respond to messaging images whether they are used in advertising or politics. Without recognizing it their opinions and behaviors are shaped by images. Ads and commercials for Marlboro or Virgina Slims show how advertising gurus used this to sell the same deadly products to different groups.

Trump and the MAGA GOP  is no less deadly for democracy than cigarettes are for health. Hopefully people like General Milley, Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Swift can help break the hold Trump and other autocratic GOP candidates have on people who are unable to see this threat.


Unfortunately those watching Fox News this morning won't see President Biden paying trubute to Gen. Milley on his retirement. Instead they will see a replay about the debate.

They won't see Biden expressing outrage with unusual vigor about how Tommy Tuberville (without calling him out by name) is holding up other military promotions and how the House is about shut down the government and how this will impact the military.

July 24, 2023

Does the Barbenheimer weekend tell us anything about our country?"

By Hal Brown

Please bear with me as I explain why watching the wonderful Danish TV series "Seaside Hotel" relates to this topic. The series starts in the early 1930's and follows the characters of guests and staff and their intertwined soap-opera lives. Now we're watching season six and it's 1939 and Hitler has already been elected PM of Germany and anti-Semitic violence has erupted across Germany. Only one character has been following the news from Germany since the series began and is sounding the alarm about the growing threat to German democracy and the danger to Denmark. 

Sometmes mocked by other guests for listening to the radio to keep up with the news Hjalmar Aurland (left) followed events in German since the beginning of the series. He has the newspapers delvered secretly to him by the staff because he knows that his wife gets upset when he reads them.

He tries to explain this to other guests but they don't take it seriously. One is even trying to invest in German industry. Another is a young German woman who worships Hitler.

There is a chilling parallel here. The light themes of the early seasons are getting darker and darker. We know that what is going to happen not only in Denmark, but in the world. Without giving too much away, there are two gay characters, one in the closet and one out, and both have already suffered because of not just prejudice but actual visiting teenaged NAZI youth.

Now we get to what I make of the Barbenheimer weekend. My sense is that there are two kinds of people who decided to venture into the theaters despite some of them having friends or acquaintances who recently came down with Covid. Those who went to see Barbie I would hazard a guess mostly wanted to either escape from worrying about the threat to democracy posed by Trump or someone like DeSantis becoming president or actually want to see us become a fascist state ruled by a racist dictator. Both want to see the fluff of an escapist movie like the hyped up Barbie film which has reviews called it WITTY, IMPECCABLY DESIGNED, OVERBLOWN FUN.

Then there are those who opted to see the can't get much more serious movie Openheimer. I'd bet my pile of chips that the majority of these viewers are those who are very concerned about what having a far-right president would do to democracy in America.

They are like the Hjalmar Aurland character in Seaside Hotel. They are like Thom Hartmann who just published "How Democracy Dies the First Month of the Next Trump or GOP Presidency."

Hartmann concludes his essay as follows:

As Trump told a group of young people last week of his plan to destroy the American government: 

“This will be the most important election with your country, your freedom, and your future on the line. We are in trouble. This country is in trouble. The election will decide if your generation inherits a fascist country or a free country, if you will have the rule of tyrants or the rule of law, if Marxist radicals burn our civilization to the ground, which they are looking to do, or young patriots like you propel America to glorious heights greater than ever before. … When I get back into the oval office, I will obliterate the deep state.”

Gradually, then suddenly.

People like Thom Hartmann and I, and probably almost everyone reading my blog including the 2,280 weekly readers in Germany and 468 in Russia (see below) have been following the news and are anxious over the prospect that what happened in Germany in the 1930's could happen here.



Milley, Miley, and Taylor too: Where pop culture and politics intersect: - Convincing people that MAGA is deadly for democracy

  By Hal Brown Update: I wrote this before this was posted as the lead story on Salon: Click to read The article concludes: I get that Swift...