Saturday, February 27, 2016
What is Really Fracturing the GOP?
The old guard (where old in this case is no more than 20 to 30 years ago), of the GOP used to sell themselves on strongly held, hot button cultural issues; most of which were religious in nature, but also included a fanatical obsession with a simplistic view of American power; based almost entirely around the idea that more of everything for the military is a good idea (regardless of what the military leadership itself might think). What you would then get in this framework was rock solid adherence to same sex marriage, anti pro choice, and a general desire for a more Theocratic America, as well as ever increasing arms spending. Everything else after that as far as policy was concerned was extreme Conservatism; less government and less taxes. And for the most part they could sell this to significant parts of the population precisely because they believed in it.
A funny thing happened on the collective way to the video store, however. The DVD player, and the Networked controlled TV was sliced and diced away into the web: that vastly more pervasive infosphere, having everything of and about the world in a pervasive, immerso-matrix brain blender. In that transformation, among a lot of other things, has extremism of any form become unfashionable in so many ways. What is fashionable now, however, is marketing sophistication. More and more now, the sales pitch needs to be seamlessly incorporated into the content, or the content has to be integrated from the ground up as automatically selling as much as is possible.
In this a couple of things are paramount: Misdirection, Distraction, and Brand as identity. The only things left to believe in here are the brands you identity with, and are occupied by, however small the time frame, and how entertaining the distractions of your brands can be. Of how that brand can make you feel good about yourself, wrapped protectively in the comforting fashion of the moment.
Mr. Trump believes only in his brand, and that his brand can sell anything. Even if it's just more of his brand keeping us temporarily entertained, and him in the public eye for more self perpetuating fame. In none of this, however, is there any room for what we need to know, or what we ought to have for meaningful leadership. Marketing, as a whole, runs itself after all, as there is an invisible hand in the minds of all of its beneficiaries; requiring only loosely based, and always shifting, cabals of the major holders of information. Unfettered markets. Increasing net gain. And always increasing efforts to find new brands with which to occupy the masses with.
Our supposed leaders are naked of convictions, or substance, or honor now precisely because branding requires these only as makeup, or props, or interesting sub plots in the narratives of consumptive fiction. It is its own farce, selling us on more farce as a new growth commodity. The bottom line here, however, is that naked really doesn't apply to them anymore as they put us on over and over again; seeing them only with the comforted eyes of the thoroughly identified.