pigs

Turning the National Prayer Breakfast into a pig trough for attention, our celebrity-in-chief used the platform to instigate a fake ratings-driven feud between himself and the celebrity-turned-politician-turned-celebrity who replaced him. According to a story from the Atlantic,

In a speech emphasizing the importance of religious liberty, Trump also took time to discuss a personal favorite topic: The Apprentice. As he has noted before, the reality TV show, for which he still serves as an executive producer, has seen its ratings decline under its current host (and the former governor of California), Arnold Schwarzenegger, and new name, The New Celebrity Apprentice…

Amid speculation that the whole thing may have been a ratings stunt, Schwarzenegger quickly fired back via Twitter, blasting Trump for making the comment at the National Prayer Breakfast and offering to switch jobs with the president.

 

While many on social media were quick to jump in the Terminator’s lap – the enemy of my enemy is my friend – both players, both pigs for attention, were in on the joke, which is on anyone paying attention to an absurdity like The Apprentice.

Love me do
Who doesn’t want to be loved? For some, however, their unchecked self-loathing can only be remedied with unending adoration and approval, from as many as possible. For these types, any, even the slightest of slight is regarded as warfare. Sound like someone you know? According to Trump’s long-time friend, and early media mentor, Howard Stern,

“I personally wish that he had never run. I told him that,” Stern, 63, said Wednesday. “Because I actually think this is something that is going to be very detrimental to his mental health, too. Because he wants to be liked, he wants to be loved, he wants people to cheer for him. I don’t think this is going to be a healthy experience for him.”

“He just wants a couple more bucks out of NBC, and that is why Donald is calling for voter fraud investigations. He’s pissed he won. He still wants Hillary Clinton to win. He’s so f–king pissed, he’s hoping that he can find some voter fraud and hand it over to Hillary.”

Talk about a mouthful.

Pigs
While it’s easy to point out aforementioned celebrity pigs at the attention trough, in order to transcend the societal crisis that transcends Trump and his henchmen, we need to look at ourselves, and the trough we collectively feed at, and what that distorts and enables. Case in point, the weekly skewering of Trump on Saturday Night Live. Not that I’m averse or prudish to satire; I view it as essential as a means of breaking through establishment-driven, cultural norms. I use satire in a new weekly column I’m penning designed to point out the absurdity of celebrity culture and worship: #TermLimits4Celebs. But when the satire eclipses actual news and information, you can rest assured you’re being spun. That’s because, as rightly pointed out by Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, the problem at hand is bigger than Trump, and to focus on him is loosing site of the change that needs to occur. They write,

Trump is a symptom of a long-term trend of a failing democracy that is too closely tied to Wall Street and the war machine. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are part of this failed system that does not represent the people of the United States.

Beyond our award-winning consumption of entertainment culture, Americans are pigs in our overall consumerist consumption habits. This is not a new or original idea, and I trust I don’t need any supporting links or quotes to back it up. Yet, while people tend to know this, the train of more and more just keeps on rolling.

I’m hearing some call for a general work strike as a means of resistance. Maybe that’s a strategy that can work. But that’s a temporary action, much like a street protest. In my view, what’s required is something more sustaining for sustained impact: we need to stop behaving as hapless consumers. In my view that begins with an end to television consumption, and followed by a determined and relentless questioning of what we buy, and why. This, sadly, is as easy as giving up drugs for an addict. Perhaps consumerist recovery groups can be useful here to create a dynamic of accountability. Whatever it takes, as the adage goes.

The first step to any solution is identification and ownership of the problem. As consumers, we Americans are pigs. It’s time we take our collective heads out of the trough, stand up, and say we’ve finally had enough. That, I’m certain, will get their attention.

Hey you, White House
Ha, ha, charade you are
–Roger Waters