I know, I know—you don’t want to hear one more word about Donald Trump. But this post is only tangentially about him. It’s more about the angle of this recent piece by one of my favorite political reporters, Matt Taibbi, who believes Trump’s no-holds-barred rhetoric has morphed from an amusing sideshow into a dangerous trend that’s unlocking America’s stupidity. (Further unlocking, I should probably say.)
“Trump’s political style encourages people to do more to express their anger than just vote. The key to his success is a titillating message that those musty old rules about being polite and ‘saying the right thing’ are for losers who lack the heart, courage and Trumpitude to just be who they are.”
It’s a great article and Taibbi makes some important points about just how insane the rhetoric has become. (My favorite part is when the radio host asks, “What’s wrong with slavery?”) But there’s a key piece of the puzzle I think he missed. Trump is King Idiot in many ways to be sure, but he’s also tapping into an ethos that is growing in society—one that the site you’re reading right now has built its mission around. It is the ethos of No Fucks.
If you spend any part of your day on the Interwebs, you’ve likely encountered the trend. There are t-shirts and memes galore, inspired by a vague vibe that people are caring less and less about what’s appropriate, what’s mannerly, what’s Supposed To be happening. I personally started feeling it late last year, when I quit a job that was eating my soul and jumped into an unknown pool of consulting work and no guaranteed income. I’m sure it was a decision some in my life viewed as foolhardy; I’m a single mom with kids to feed after all. But the breaking point I had reached created a complete apathy to other’s opinions. I didn’t give a fuck. I had to make changes or be miserable, simple as that.
Once you stop caring about the judgement of others, it permeates every aspect of your life. Making a major life decision based entirely on my gut and heart was freeing in a way I can’t describe—so freeing that other parts of my brain started churning. What if I did this all the time? Once I started talking to my girlfriends and discovered it wasn’t just me in this mindset, well the result is the website you’re on.
Donald Trump is flipping this switch in people’s brains. Unfortunately, his message is misogynist (not just sexist) and racist, so the people hearing it aren’t looking to empower. They’re looking to destroy. And if Trump had even a modicum of sense in his horridly haired head, he’d realize that. He’d realize that even the freedom of giving No Fucks comes with a smidge of responsibility, especially when you command the national stage.
It bothers me to no end that Graceless has any sort of resemblance to the Church of Trump but here we are. I think – I hope – we can be more artful about it. You’ll have to keep us honest.
Photo via Flickr/gageskidmore