Tue, Oct 11, 2016 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Reality and disillusionment

When Michael Jackson died, writer Chris Hedges said that celebrity culture involves a lot of self-loathing.

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hates himself so much that he paints his skin and rakes his hair into a wild, styleless frenzy.

He wears a crown like a clown warrior-king of some mythical insane kingdom.

At Jackson’s funeral there was a photomontage showing him with former South African president Nelson Mandela, immediately followed by a photograph of him with Kermit the Frog.

Hedges said that celebrity culture equalizes everyone who is famous.

US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, a lawyer, former senator and former US secretary of state, competes with Trump, a failed businessman, failed realtor, twice-failed husband.

He hides his multiple documented business failures and bankruptcies with blatant dishonest claims of wealth.

His private life is public. We were first entertained by fiction, then the non-fiction of the real actors who play in the fiction and now we are entertained by the genre called reality.

The surreal and the absurd are the here and now.

Perhaps it only makes sense that Trump is a reality TV star and could be the leader of the US. He is the star and villain of the show that is both his and ours.

Ours because we consume the tweets that consume him. We are the stars of our own shows that play out on our social media posts that loudly demand and cry out: “Look at me.”

However, it is not enough for Trump to tweet. He must be the biggest star, the president of the US, in real life.

He wants us to say: “George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump.”

This is our unreal reality. This is part of what Hedges calls the Empire of Illusion.

Andres Chang

Taipei

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