Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Tiny hands in the cookie jar

I don't want to get sucked in to the celebrity president-elect's endless tweet-feuds with his fellow celebs, but the latest one was kind of illuminating. To recap - Meryl Steep mentioned that famous clip we've all seen of the world's number one jackass mocking a disabled reporter.

It's the opening words of the customary retaliatory tweet that are most interesting here:
"For the 100th time, I never "mocked" a disabled reporter..."
It's like a badly-written version of something an exasperated parent might say to a child ("If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times...") ... except that most real parents quickly learn not talk like that, because it's just asking to get diverted into that inevitable, diversionary argument with a literal-minded child about the exact number of times he or she has been told about whatever it was.

And this bad impersonation of what an adult authority figure sounds like comes from somebody who's lying like a five year old with no grasp of plausibility. Because there is no doubt at all that he did what she said he did. The video is out there, and if you want a bit of easy muti-tasking you can just watch him doing it while you read him saying he never did it:

"Donny, nobody else has been in the kitchen and the cookie jar was full when I left. Now the jar is empty and there are crumbs all over the floor."
"But, Mom, I keep telling you, I never did it!
If this was just about Trump being a horrible, immature, dishonest person, this wouldn't be much of a story. What depresses me is the unspoken ideology which has normalised this sort of thing. Specifically, the public relations mindset:
“I’m a brand,” she said, every minute or so. “I’m always thinking of ways to promote my brand.” It was all brand, brand, brand, brand, brand...

...“Get your message and repeat it OVER AND OVER. Just keep saying your message OVER AND OVER in the same way. Just tweet it and put it out on Facebook OVER AND OVER.”
Our modern mantra. It starts with trying to promote your product* by ditching tedious facts and argument in favour of incessant repetition. It ends with a guy who's days away from becoming the most powerful human on the planet behaving like a child who's been caught red-handed stealing from the cookie jar, but who sincerely believes that if he denies it loudly and often enough, he'll get away with it, as if mommy's inconvenient knowledge can simply be wished away.

Shame on liars like Trump for trying it on, but more shame on the alleged adults who keep giving in to the pester power of incessant repetition, even when it obviously contradicts the evidence of their own eyes and ears.

*If you're busy self-branding (heaven help you), then you are the product.