by Shelton Bumgarner
It goes without saying that we live in unprecedented, extraordinary times. It seems as though not a day goes by when a celebrity’s reputation and career doesn’t implode in an inexplicable fashion because of this new age of Trumplandia we live in.
The latest person to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune is Bill Maher. As you may know, Maher — who most notably lost his job soon after the 9/11 attacks for calling the terrorists “brave,” recently during a conversation with Sen. Ben Sasse very casually dropped the “N-word.” This is not acceptable for a white person to do, regardless of context and I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot — a lot — about this in the next few days.
I expect that Sen. Sasse is gong to promptly distance himself from what Maher did and we’re all going to have to go through the long, drawn out process of either getting Maher to apologize in some way or drumming him out of showbiz for good. That’s just how things work in this modern era. I mean, I feel like clutching my “safe space” and asking for a trigger warning over Maher’s remark, and I don’t even believe in such things. It just wasn’t cool.
Speaking of not cool things, Kathy Griffin’s photo shoot where she held a Squatty Potty made out to be the decapitated head of the president continues to reap nefarious rewards. Now she, apparently, is on the attack against the Trumps, saying they have “bullied” her. This is bizarre and outrageous. She should just shut up and lay low for a while.
But the issue, of course, is it s difficult not to lay all of this at the feet of Donald Trump. The president sets the tone of the era that he leads and Trump and by extension Trumplandia is now a major source of cultural influence throughout the nation and beyond. The damage is done on a cultural level, if nothing else and the how we will fix this damage in the long term is something we are going to have to grapple with for decades to come.
And it’s only going to get worse. Each day that this tyrannical madman holds sway at the center of our culture, the more corrosive our culture will become. The big question, of course, is what happens next. Will our civil society snap back or are we all doomed.
I am a strong believer that the civil society of the United States, the strongest in the world, will ultimately save the day. Things will snap back into place and this era of Trumplandia will be a horrible nightmare that we just don’t talk about.
Though, as an aside, I continue to find it odd that Hollywood hasn’t done something about the fears generated by Trump. I know it takes time to develop original scripted content, but I haven’t heard of anything in development. It’s really weird. I don’t know if it’s being done in private so it can pop out in 18 months or not, but I try to keep tabs on such things just casually, and I haven’t heard of anything.
But only time will tell, I guess. We live in fucked times and it could be that this is the beginning of the end. We could be about to enter a real life version of Idiotocracy. Or not. I just can’t seem to figure this all out. It’s too profound to understand while it’s happening to get a handle on it.
Yet I have hope. I think things will sort themselves out for the best. I have to believe that. I have to have hope.