Get Ready for Celebrities to Start Making Fun of POTUS Again

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Daily Show host Trevor Noah interviewed President Obama on Monday night’s episode. The ratings-challenged show promoted the president’s appearance on social media, for obvious reasons.

 

You can kind of get a sense for how the interview is going to go.


Granted it’s just a tweet, and practically every tweet ever tweeted is dumb nonsense, but I think this giddy Trevor Noah dancing GIF captures a lot of what is so problematic (cough) about our media and pop cultural establishment.

Let’s start with President Obama. After nominating two of the most charmless individuals in America in 2000 and 2004, the Democratic Party decided not to continue that trend with Hillary Clinton, and instead opted for a “rock star” candidate who watched ESPN and transformed college students into sobbing maniacs at political rallies.

Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize less than a year after being sworn in as president is one of the most memorable examples of how out of control his celebrity cult had become. A bunch of allegedly serious people were making absurd claims about how Obama might be able to eradicate terrorism with strategic speechwriting. Actual celebrities welcomed him as one of their own. Obama’s still got it. At least, he seems to think so. “I’m like Mick Jagger,” he recently told the New Yorker. “I’m old, I’m gray, but people still turn out.”

Comedians, journalists, and other left-leaning groups nominally devoted to “punching up” and “speaking truth to power” didn’t know what to do with themselves under an Obama presidency, and still don’t. Noah’s renowned Daily Show predecessor, Jon Stewart, who made a name for himself by playing video clips of George W. Bush and then making a funny face, often resorted to ruthless mockery of bewildered Republican county officials who opposed gay marriage.

Not much has changed. The Daily Show’s most recent tweet as of this writing was a childish joke about a Trump voter who dared to attend a political rally.

Our media and popular culture spent the last eight years lionizing the most powerful man in the world, while repeatedly “punching down” at working class voters who couldn’t care less if Obama could reference lyrics from Hamilton, a Broadway musical beloved by millionaires concerned about income inequality.

Days after Donald Trump won the election, Saturday Night Live, traditionally a “comedy” show, opened with a eulogy for Hillary Clinton, the rich and powerful politician who lost. People on the internet lauded it as “epic” and “heart-breaking” and “perfect.”

It’s strange for anyone to become so emotionally invested in politicians, but it’s even more jarring coming from a pop culture establishment constantly touting the need to “punch up” and challenge the powerful. Politics is killing comedy, as our comedy clubs and improv theaters are turned into “safe spaces.”

Many of the same people who applauded Obama as a “celebrity president” are in utter shock now that American voters have decided to elect a celebrity reality show host with no political experience and an active Twitter account. Now that Trump is going be president for at least four years, criticizing the commander in chief will once again be praised as the highest form of patriotism, as opposed to being denounced as “obstruction” or “racism.”

Jon Stewart may have to be wheeled out of retirement to console all the anguished liberals who turned to him during the Bush years—not for laughs, but rather for a reason to applaud. Not for “comedy” per se, but for the goofy faces that reassured them their opinions are correct, and conservative opinions are wrong, if not evil.

Of the great things about the Obama era was that fewer celebrities, comedians, and musicians were compelled to have an opinion about politics and make a statement by criticizing the president with words and “protest songs” and other pointless gestures. That’s about to change.

As soon as Trump is sworn in, not having an opinion—specifically, the opinion of thinking Trump is bad—will be socially unacceptable among cultural elites. If you thought the artistic political grandstanding during the Bush years was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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  • FZ

  • InklingBooks

    More and more, I’m becoming convenienced there’s a close link between incompetence and fame as celebrity. People I wouldn’t trust to carry out the garbage seem to have millions of followers.

  • Illicit Gaines

    Looks like your site will soon join most of “The Donald’s” businesses in bankruptcy court.