Humor & Trump

As a writer I’ve always heard that much of my writing needs to be more humurous. That I write works that are too dark about things that people would rather forget. Thing is, this comes from my own history of not wanting to deal with the same kind of writing. This may have led to some sort of short term bliss, but not the long term [1]. Because the issues are still there, what are we to do about them? We can only inoculate and bring attention by writing about them. Pretending that the world or history doesn’t exist, seems like the greatest kind of irresponsibility, especially for democratic citizens. That’s why I’ll always write dark stories (and sell fewer than most, unfortunately).

But I’m not here to talk about myself, but the reaction to Trump. I blame much of the media and their ahistorical view of the world, but also those ostensibly on the left. I’m talking about the center-left comedians who thought they could laugh Trump out of contention. Really? When I first saw the John Oliver’s Drumpf’s piece, I felt that all was lost. If this was all the media could throw at him—childish taunts—what were they good for? And indeed, nothing improved, in terms of simple journalistic attempts to bring light to Trump. [2]

Instead, we got more of the same, and I knew it wouldn’t work. I’m not saying it wasn’t funny, it was, but where does that lead to? To pretend that it is or it leads to anything of substance is beyond foolish. I’ve never really cared for John Oliver’s show. His piece about drones was vapid enough to show me that, but I hope that the joke that it means something is finally put to rest so that they can start to create things of lasting import. That’s my rant: that I hope that we can move forward from this to create something worthwhile.

Because, the fact of the matter is, this also speaks to much of the art world. In addition to the TV world, there was the internet-art and streetart world, filled with anti-Trump humor. What good did it do? I’m not sure it did much. As the NYTimes said, this is sarcastic art. And though I may enjoy this and share it, it’s not exactly thought provoking, is it? So where does that leave me and my sad-bastard stories? Have they helped as much?

I personally don’t know exactly how to fix this question of mine (what is art, what is it good for in the face of someone like Trump?). How else do we work to change the narrative? What are yours?

[1] You can read more about me in those terms, as I was once a conservative (of the libertarian ilk) because of this, and war in Iraq turned me hard the other way.

[2] The media in general, a money making enterprise that simply tries to give the affectation of being about news, is something I’ve not trusted for some time. This election only goes to prove it. They care not about journalism, but about money and entertainment. It’s sad that this is now the consequence.