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Do Political Books Work?

It is widely accepted amongst the media class that it is fully incumbent upon them to prevent a Trump presidency. One almost gets the sense that up and coming media personalities and emerging public intellectuals are giddy at the opportunity to single-handedly pull the brakes on the American train to tyranny, all by the power of a perfectly crafted soundbite. 

American media, however enlightened it presumes itself to be, follows the same business model of big name corporations that are oh so trendy to hate. The model is that of mass production. Consider that upon walking into your local grocery store, most do not think twice about the fact that there are at least seven brands of bottled water on offer. Same product, different packaging. The same applies to any industry of art and media. Turn on your TV at any given hour, and you can choose from a plethora of ‘irreverent’ voices (of ‘The Daily Show’ variety)’, that get to cynically build a carrer in enterntainment off of our disturbingly sad political paradigm. 

Image courtesy of Comedy Central

What is so insidious about this model, and our clickbait culture in general, is that it makes genuine commentary and concern all the more difficult to voice. Despite the apparent good intentions of public intellectuals decrying the sad state of American politics, they are, in a sense, laughing all the way to the bank. And we are usually laughing with them. It’s a common refrain from the philosophers over at SNL and comedy-news celebs alike: “These politicians just make my job so easy!” or “Geez I wish we had better candidates, but these people are too much fun!.” They’re careers depend on the very corruption they seek to expose. 

Image courtesy of Deadline

I think the comedy-news circuit and clickbait culture has made near pathological cynicism and passivity the new norm. That is why I’m extremely discouraged by the influx of overtly partisan literature that is plaguing our beloved book shelves. The past year has seen the release of a great many anti-Trump and anti-Hillary books, that are reliably sub-par. The trend extends across the pond as well. 

In the midst of the controversial ‘Brexit’, publishers were scrambling to put out related material, like panicked infantrymen rushing to load their fleet’s canons. 

 

Like the late night hosts who think they are one pitch-perfect impression away from sinking the Trump campaign (Fallon), these publishers and authors are cheapening the value of literature for the chance to appear valiant, and some time in the lime-light. 

Now, obviously entertainers and intellectuals are entitled to say whatever they want about a political movement they find disconcerting. That’s free speech, that’s America, and that’s all well and good. But the deluge of commentary has been incessant since the beginning. There’s a chance that Donald Trump is the most consistently derided public figure in the history of Western Media, and he still may very well win. The public’s efforts to derail his campaign have not been lacking in the slightest. So maybe it’s time to rethink our strategy. 

 Featured image courtesy of Ibabuzz