Trumpnado and the Trough

In this vast buffet of life, our appetites often hunger for the trough of deep-fried instant gratification. We forego the steamed vegetables of prudent thought to gorge on our basest carnal desires for fatty, sugar-coated vacuousness.

We crave empty calories and consume empty rhetoric. Greasy fast food joints sit on every corner. Our daily serving of fruit is consumed mostly as Skittles flavors. Talentless celebrities dominate headlines, yet almost nobody knows the latest scientific breakthroughs. Shallow slogans and meaningless promises formed a hollow campaign that was enough to satisfy millions of minds hungry for easy answers and cheap satisfaction and took a former reality TV star all the way to the White House.

In a world full of bland political broccoli, Trump laid out a plate of fat-soaked chicken wings. He belittled and made fun of his rivals. He invoked fear and nationalism. He tribalized his followers with constant “us versus them” rhetoric, in turn creating a groupthink mentality that’s still captivating his supporters today.

The Trump candidacy was a sideshow that took center stage because we all bought into it; hook, line and sinker. The media simply fed us what we wanted. Ratings for Sunday morning news shows climbed as we tuned in to gawk at this unfiltered loudmouth. Trump’s unprecedented free airtime cast a fateful shadow over his withering opponents.

The debates didn’t set ratings records because we wanted to hear thoughtful remarks on world affairs. We wanted to hear what Trump would say next. We were waiting for him to lose it. It was the political equivalent of an episode of Maury and we couldn’t get enough of it.

What does all this have to do with Sharknado 5? It’s our insatiable appetite for mindless entertainment and the ease with which we cast aside substance in favor of a morbid curiosity to see how bad it can actually get. The steamed vegetables are getting cold while the fried chicken is being devoured by the bucket load. Load up the slop, ring the dinner bell, and watch us waddle to the trough. We’ll eat it up.

We did this to ourselves. We deserve Sharknado 5. We deserve Donald Trump. We allow outlandish absurdity, cheesy one-liners, ridiculous antics, and slow train wrecks to be a formula for success — whether it’s a dumb made-for-TV movie or becoming President of the United States.

(Note: Nobody deserves to have their identity trampled and health threatened. Nobody deserves to have their heritage insulted or disability mocked. This is talking about Trump as a symbol rather than a comment on individual acts or policies.)