stare in the mirror

I read a list for the end of the year of pop culture happenings in 2018… they riff on the big pop cultural happenings as being the blockbuster movies of Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther, and then

Healy I wonder if President Trump and Republican leaders watched “This Is America” or parts of Beyoncé’s Coachella performance, or understood what “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” were saying about America in 2018. These moments were about nonwhite artists, characters and concerns rising as defining moments in the culture at a time when white identity politics is defining the presidency. And here is Trump, congratulating Roseanne Barr for supporting him on “Roseanne.”

Flegenheimer What ever happened to that show?

And Welcome to Hell.  I don’t know. A simple thought experiment: Trump calls up Beyonce and congratulates her for an upstanding performance.  Or the producers of Crazy Rich Asians.  At best they’ll just give them the same performance the producers of Hamilton (the great progressive celebration of a proto-supply sider) gave Vice President — a hectoring lecture.  Nay: he’ll stick to congratulating the celebrities who want him… Roseanne, Kanye West…

Going back a few years, I wonder if the lack of success of the Ghostbusters movie was foretelling the lack of success of Hillary Clinton in 2016.  Or if the wires of the Beyonce Superbowl appearance and its mark on popular culture — as particularly publicized and promoted — were somehow crossed… if when Blink 182 overtook everyone on the charts if that foretold a frat-boy nostalgia aesthetic in our culture as run in to the election or to future Kavanaugh support?  Is this what the reviewers are getting at?

Healy Our colleague John Koblin nailed it. ABC wanted to cater to “white working-class” Trump supporters. I interviewed her in March about the changes in her character to make her a Trump supporter. She erupted at me and the ABC publicist tried to shut me down.

In the interview I heard from her she slashed away at the idea a bit, claiming the big political take-away for the show was that half the country voted for one candidate and the other the other, and that was it.  As it were, the cultural reviews of the show were mind numbing — pointing out the inconsistency of voting for Trump when holding to this or that view, as though support for a politico is ever consistent for lay people.  And I couldn’t tell if the complaint for John Goodman’s character’s attitude toward the “non gender conforming” kid was that they wanted less nuance and a more evil foil or –? …

Rogers Roseanne is performing in my Indiana hometown this spring. Suffice it to say conservative America is ready to forgive her.

Well, it was a good show while it lasted.  I am puzzled by the line of commentary…

Sure.  Are they willing to forgive Louis CK, though?

Flegenheimer It just speaks to Trump’s ability / insistence to nose into any moment. It seems like big cultural happenings are so often processed, in part, through a prism of: How will Trump involve himself — or, possibly, screw things up?

I’m not sure Roseanne Barr didn’t screw it up all by herself, and the reportage doesn’t just get absorbed to “over there”.

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