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Friday, August 19, 2016

Body Shaming Trump Is Trumpian Not Anti-Trumpian Politics

I admit with some shame that yesterday I had an initial guffaw at the naked Trump statues... but it didn't take long for me to feel uneasy and then gross and then frankly enraged about them. "Humiliating" Trump because he has an aging flabby body is hardly a relevant critique of him and policing unrealistic bodily norms through proliferating "unflattering" public Trump monuments seems obviously more damaging and constraining than liberating. I am disgusted by Trump's body shaming of other people, and I am disgusted by sexist attacks on HRC's appearance in particular... I don't think this is a matter of turnabout is fair play, I think it is about exacerbating an American disgust with the aging vulnerable "imperfect" body. This disgust is about self-hate and denial, and it is compensated by cruelty, conspicuous consumption, and acquiescence, all of which enable Trumpian politics. Leave it to self-described anarchists to imagine it is some radical intervention to notice that boastfulness is an expression of insecurity rather than confidence and then use that commonplace to police body norms in ways that fuel fascism.


jimf said...

Ehh. . . I didn't get that much of a yuk out of it;
but neither can I work up any outrage. He's a 70-year-old
overweight man. But he's lucky -- he's a **heterosexual**
70-year-old overweight man. With his money and social
status, he can ditch this:
and buy this:
(Yes, I know there was one in between.)

Don't cry for him, Argentina!

Now if he were a **homosexual** 70-year-old overweight man,
he'd most likely be shit out of luck. Or he'd be killing himself
at the gym. Though the 20-something gym bunnies
have a mean word for guys that age (and younger!) who hang around
and ogle them (**not** me, **not** me, you evil-minded. . . ;-> ).

The Donald was, however, already looking a bit puffy in 1988
when he responded to Spy magazine's calling him "a short-fingered
vulgarian" by claiming "My fingers are long and beautiful, as,
it has been well-documented, are various other parts of my body."
(via )

("Well documented"? What **have** I been missing?!)

As far as the politics go -- consider this provocation a useful
bit of needling. It might just cause him to kick over the teleprompter
and go back to ad libbing his next speech. Which, as we know, is
usually a good thing. ;->

Dale Carrico said...

**homosexual** 70-year-old overweight man

Life goals.

jimf said...

> Life goals.

We're all headed in the same direction, Methuselah Mouse.


Josephine Michelle Draus said...

Ridicule is not in my playbook. Ever. No end justifies that means. For something as inherently vicious and hurtful as ridicule there are no legitimate targets. Not even Donald Trump. Not even Ann Coulter.

Dale Carrico said...

But how can you banish a Boggart without a Riddikulus spell? Seriously, though, of course I understand and have some sympathy for the spirit of what you say... but I am not sure the loss of the field of satire and harangue would not be a great loss for culture when it comes to it. I do think there is something to be said for satire and ridicule that is a matter of "punching up" rather than "punching down." And the thing about body-shaming Trump to me is not that it might hurt his feelings but that normalizes body-shaming in ways that harm people much more vulnerable than Trump, that it distracts our attention from criticisms of Trump's conduct and declared policies (such as they are), and it seems to endorse an unprincipled hypocrisy in champions of Hillary Clinton who would surely be outraged by ridicule of her physical appearance, age, voice, hair, and so on.

jimf said...

> Ridicule is not in my playbook. Ever. No end justifies
> that means. For something as inherently vicious and
> hurtful as ridicule there are no legitimate targets.

Wow, that's a grey, straitjacketed world you're proposing.

Say goodbye to big chunks of Voltaire, Jonathan Swift,
Bertrand Russell, H. L. Mencken, even C. S. Lewis.
No more Monty Python, Saunders & French (Saunders & Lumley).
No more George Carlin (not to mention Louis C. K. or
Kathy Griffin). No more John Stewart, Stephen Colbert,
John Oliver.

Nothing but pabulum strained to nauseating blandness by the Ministry of
Hurt Feelings.

Count me out.

Dale Carrico said...

"No more Monty Python..." stares saucer eyed into the void like that poor fellow in Michelangelo's Last Judgment coiled in a fat serpent being dragged achingly weightlessly slowly down into hell...

jimf said...

The good old days of "Mean, but true." (-- Annalee Newitz). ;->
Dumb Dvorsky Implies Alien Invasion A Greater Threat Than
Climate Change Or Resource Descent
Dumb Dvorsky Faces Reality, Throws Tantrum

Dale Carrico said...

I will, fear not, remain mean and true.

Bizarro Freedom said...

I think this showcases how little you will ever like anything "anarchists" do simply because your own preconcieved notions about their practices or people who are not anarchist (like libertarians). I mean couldn't this protest be just as much pointing out the ridiculousness and sexism of how Hillary is as a candidate judged by her appearance and not Trump. By stripping him they made it clear how if we judge the clothes, appearance and sex life of a female candidate shouldn't we either do the same to the male one or at least abandon the practice altogether. There are many interpretations of this. I am not saying we should body shame simply that the opinion expressed here are narrow. After all haven't satirists for a long time used physical short hand as a way to make fun of or satirise a persons position. I mean were you against the drawings of George W Bush as an Ape? or what about any politician whose physical appearance have been mocked?

Dale Carrico said...

Why are you scare quoting "anarchists" here? That the artists involved are anarchists appears in many reports about their intervention and would appear to be something the artists themselves draw our attention to.

Given all the satire and harangue I celebrate and indulge here on this blog I hope it is obvious I agree with you that these are often valid and valuable rhetorical strategies whatever the interpretative quandaries freighting the form.

As for why I think it would be better to attack Trump's horrific bigotry and dangerous proposals rather than fat-shaming him in a needlessly harmfully ageist fat-phobic culture, I refer readers to the post itself. No need to repeat my argument, no doubt others think differently.

Bizarro Freedom said...

The scare quotes were a mistake i did not notice until you told me because right before bed I decided to check what you been up to the last week and decided to comment so sleep and dread before work is not the best writing combo. So yeah I done fucked up, Sorry. It most likely comes from a reflex debating angry manbabies about how "free" they should be to harass women and how "rebellious" it is to vote for a right wing fascist party (the Sverigedemokraterna).

It is obvious that you believe that about satire and that is also my point. You seem not to do any other argument about the variety of ways to interpret it but instead you jump immediately to claiming how they are like Trump (Which seems disingenuous since one is an authoritarian politician, corporate manager and allround asshole who multiple times claimed that Women only matter if they have hot bodies and the other is a group of anarchists who wants to satirise him) and how "Leave it to self-described anarchists to imagine it is some radical intervention to notice that boastfulness is an expression of insecurity rather than confidence and then use that commonplace to police body norms in ways that fuel fascism" (scare quotes are there to emphasise how I quoted you, because english is my second language and I still suck at writing it) does not seem like a fellow socialist pointing out how they made mistakes and how this satire (sadly) might reinforce body policing rather than challenging it and that is why you are against this satire and it seems more just how much you seem to jump on any way to bash anarachists for little reasons rather than constructive criticism. What i am saying is this post for me seems instead of being a contructive criticism from a fellow socialist and revolutionary, this post can easily be a reactionary neoliberal attack on the satire of a politician because you disagree with their politics. I am not saying you are like this because obviously you are not just that this post seems to focus more on bashing them and comparing them to Trump than an actual constructive criticism of their (poor) attempt at satire so it can be improved after all we all want better satire than just all the Trump as Hitler memes flying around and perhaps less bashing each other and more focusing on constructive criticism.

Dale Carrico said...

I was just curious about the scare quotes, not incensed or anything. I wondered if you knew something about the artists' reported anarchism that I did not. That's all. Nothing to worry about.

My focus in the post was on the fat-shaming not the anarchism and it still is.

This business about my post being a reactionary neoliberal attack on radicals because I disapprove of their politics is... uh, something.

Now, about the anarchism -- which is what we always spar about after all. I have not changed my mind since our last exchanges on the topic. I do indeed regard anarchists as unreliable allies for progress all too often, even if plenty of them have their hearts in the right places, because I think they don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Progress toward sustainable equity-in-diversity and resistance against exploitation, abuse, and unaccountability (the vision at the heart of my own politics) are not and will never be spontaneous orders, and the real-time shared problem solving and compromised reform in the service of a diversity of such visions that is the substance of politics is neither an ethical universalism or aesthetic self-perfectionism.

As you know, I think most anarchists and anarchisms are bedeviled by confusions on these points and squander energy and undermine effort as a result. I know you disagree, and that is fine. We've gone around that merry-go-round countless times already.

But I think I am right for good reasons, I have repeatedly stated those reasons, I am not "bashing" allies but disagreeing with those who might be allies if they got their acts together, and my politics are not reactionary on any sensible construal.

I say all this just to be clear and concise, I'm not irritated and I don't think less of you and I'm not yelling at you, or whatever, just quickly recapitulating the substance of points we've made over and over already that still define the lay of the land. That is all. Hope all is well in your world.

Bizarro Freedom said...

I know you were mad at the scare quotes just wanted to explain my mistakes.

And yes we do tend to disagree about Anarchism and we do not need to go it all over again. Though still find it funny how you will always revert to "spontanous order" which I really haven't found any old or current anarchist vocabulary or ideas, it seems more a Von Hayek capitalist thing than an actual anarchist one. Nor immediatism (aesthetic self-perfectionism9 which again all of these things are criticised by a majority of anarchist and organization so it seems for me to either be a purely american phenomena or a small group all focused on rather than actually critise real opinion rather than a few idiot. It would be like just because you call yourself a democratic socialist I would compare you to Tony Blair because he also called himself one. But Like you said this dance have happened many times before and it was not my point to bring it up again. I merely felt your critique was undermined by a tone and certain phrases in your post.

I said that you were not a reactionary if you read my comment again you will find me merely claiming that the post can be interpreted in that way. I have read many articles and posts by neoliberals that again capsulate similar themes such as satire being body shaming or "sexist" (merely for critiueing a female politician even though she is leader of a religious far right party), (hell I have been called sexist and racists for critiqueing Fascist and other right wing parties here in Sweden) and therefore their criticism of society is worthless or reactionary despite what the actual content is. MY cricism is not that you are wrong merely that the tone of superiority, condecension and dubious comparisons are not useful to critique their satire. In fact I have said but can say it again. i agree with you about their misfortunet satire and how it fails critiqueing or satirises him because it body shames him. My objection has always been that it seems more like a bashing of them rather than a critique. That is why I quoted a phrase from you to emphasise how that phrase seems to rap up the whole critisism to of course they would do this mistake they are anarchists despite that I know anarchist who have had a similar attitude to you to the statue when reading the article or statue. So rather than critiqueing the satire you drag in what their politics is for no other reason than seemingly bash them.

I hope you are not irritated as neither am I about you. We are simply two fellow socialists having an argument about satire and critique. It would have been no different if we had a debate about the merits of Boondocks or Futurama or our critiques of them. Anger is not there (unless you claim to not like Futurama then we are mortal enemies). i hope I am still "friend2 of the blog so to speak despite my quirks and eccentricities. I hope all is well in your world as well.

Dale Carrico said...

I blow you a kiss. (And, yes, of course I like Futurama.)