Cards on the table: I’m not overly thrilled by the notion of a Trump presidency. That’s not to say I don’t think it might be hilarious — at least initially — but I’ve a feeling that the novelty would wear off fairly quickly when people realise that what is effectively a protest vote with no governing experience is now the most powerful man in the world.
Like a lot of people, I quite enjoy the way Trump has sort of fucked up the whole system for everyone, and I’m more than fine with him continuing to do so — I’d just be happier if after giving everything a much-needed shake-up he stopped short of actually moving into the White House.
Which isn’t to say I’m jazzed by what’s on offer from the other side — far from it. As far as I’m concerned, this is an election of only bad options, and I’m glad not being American means I get to just sit back and watch the whole shitshow without needing to actively engage with that particular series of impossible choices.
Something that’s come to bother me though, regardless of my feelings about the man himself, is the constant disdain I see directed at Trump fans, as if the simple phrase ‘Trump supporter’ were a direct synonym for any kind of awful you like — misogynist, racist, etc.
There may well be people who favour Trump who fit such descriptions, I won’t pretend otherwise. I’m not here to defend every single person who’s ever declared that Trump’s their man. But there are a lot of people who lean towards Trump — by some metrics enough to beat Hillary. Are we to write every single one of these people off as some kind of irredeemable -ist and declare any opinions they may have entirely invalid, just because they finally found a candidate who speaks plainly in a way they’ve always wanted their politicians to, and they happen to relate to better than anyone they’ve been offered before?
There’s an incredible snobbishness in the way people showing support for this man are looked down upon by the literati. At best it can be patronisingly dismissive, but at its worst it comes over as an ugly kind of class snobbery — despite ‘class’ supposedly being an alien concept to the collective American psyche.
The most baffling form of this though, is when it comes from people who rely on the general public for their livelihood. When film director Judd Apatow says that detractors of the upcoming Ghostbusters remake are ‘probably Trump supporters’, effectively calling them ‘idiots who don’t like change’, it makes one wonder who exactly he’s looking at to support his own work, as in one fell swoop he’s alienated both the many critics of the film who aren’t Trump fans, and Trump supporters themselves whose opinions on things (and presumably their spending power) apparently aren’t worth shit to Mr. Apatow.
It’s arguable that attitudes such as that are why Trump has become such a force in the first place — a figurehead for a group of people tired of being dismissed and used as a cheap punchline— so it’s hard to imagine the continued use of rhetoric like that having anything other than the effect of driving more voters his way, an outcome presumably entirely counter to the preferred wishes of people making such statements.
If Apatow and others like him who make similar pronouncements are good with a sizeable chunk of the population deciding to spurn their creative output as a result, that’s fine I guess. If people want to put principles before profit — if that’s even actually what we’re describing here — I don’t have any problem with that.
Just don’t complain when your next project has the box office takings of a small art house film, as the only people left you consider ‘worthy’ of your work would literally struggle to fill a cinema.