Thursday, August 06, 2015

Hell Toupee: Tonight's Reality Show, aka the GOP Debates

Tonight is supposed to be the first episode of the reality comedy show called the GOP debates.

I will probably forget to watch the damned thing.

Donald Trump will probably fuck things up for the rest of them because he can't help himself. He has a looser mouth than Howard Dean ever had.

Yet in a perverse sort of way, Donald Trump is representative of the totally dismal state of American politics. If billionaires aren't buying off politicians like the Koch brothers own Scott Walker, they are running for public office like Trump is doing.

Trump, in many ways, is a “sideshow,” as Huffington Post said in justifying its decision to place him next to “True Detective” recaps. At the same time, however, he is the current front-runner in the GOP primary. Can we really discount the man as a joke if he is more than 10 points ahead of his next competitor, Jeb Bush?

While Trump is a great embarrassment to America, and is about as presidential as Archie Bunker, he is also a reflection of the current state of our culture — a culture that embraces mindless materialism and entertainment, while shunning deep thought and intellectualism. It is a culture that has been ransacked by consumerism and corporatization, where our universities have been transformed into careerist trade schools rather than places where young people go to broaden their horizons and learn how to question things, including authority.

Today, the most popular major in college is business, a field that not too long ago required little to no education, and where the wealthiest individuals were successful because of their amoral and cutthroat tendencies, not because of what they learned at the university. The mind-set that the majority of young people are sent off to college equipped with is “How much money will this education allow me to make,” and “Will this major get me a job right out of college.” At the same time, colleges have become completely corporatized. Tuitions have skyrocketed over the past decade (enslaving low-income students with debt), and at the “elite” schools, this is reflected by the proportion of rich to poor students: 74 percent come from the top quarter of the socioeconomic scale, while only 3 percent come from the bottom quarter. Meanwhile, “administrators” have become as well paid as corporate executives, while tenure for professors is in decline.

It's a fucked-up mess to be sure.

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