Look no further than the halftime commercials and performance. Corporations selling you patriotism and partisan ideology. Do I really need to see an immigrant Adolphus Busch on a canoe with what… a free slave? Lady Gaga selling me Woody Guthrie then… dropping the mic before catching a football and disappearing under the stage before a bevy of billion dollar advertisements explode on my screen. The shameless irony is appalling.
I remember hearing someone say when George W. Bush became president… well, at least punk music won’t suck anymore. And I’m all for the lathering of satire on a society. But it’s more than just the resurgence of Saturday Night Live’s importance with Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy, isn’t it? Are people actually thinking…. or is it merely a controlled response of laughter?
The year’s biggest movie and musical also could not escape politicalization. Could you watch Rogue One without comparing it to a possible evil Trump Empire? Could the cast of Hamilton resist shaming a high-profile audience member for just buying a ticket? Even the viewing of upcoming artistic achievements such as a new album from A Tribe Called Quest or the HBO series Westworld and The Young Pope couldn’t just be enjoyed on their own merit or humor or aesthetic, but must be discussed through the lens or our current political climate. Is this wrong? Is this even real? Will we look back years from now and say this was the beginning of a new understanding of our world? Will the fact that copies of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Orwell’s 1984 are flying off the shelves mean anything? To what new level of political consciousness will this lead?
I find myself wondering: Will my church paster bring up politics this week? Should I cringe at Sean Spicer to a coworker or keep it simply about the weather? Should I joke about Kellyanne Conway to a fellow school parent or nod and agree about bargain snacks at Costco? What do any of my neighbors from India, Pakistan, China, Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and Sudan think of these events on the news? Should I bring it up casually while we're talking on the sidewalk about lawn care secrets and soccer car pools and garbage pick up schedules? Is that even appropriate?