Conceding even the tiniest thing to a hateful and violent twerp like our president feels like a total defeat. Unfortunately, I must admit that there are (at least) three zeitgeist-related places that he has “won”—where his influence has been total and, possibly, irreversible.
I’ve never been a kumbaya-ass nigga who gave any proper shits about “discourse” and “decorum” when the status quo requires disruption. Basically, I’ve never been a white male columnist at a legacy publication. But Trump’s relentless smallness has been a mass pollinator, and I think we’ve collectively become more like him here, instead of less. Of course, he ain’t invent petty, but he did help shift it from being considered a negative personal attribute to a badge. A business card. An emblem. Say it loud. We’re pettier and proud.
I know this is an aggressively nebulous assertion with no way to prove, but I feel like being led by a white man who’s never apologized for shit—and who’s appointed white men and women who’ve also never apologized for shit—has made us apologize to each other less. Again though, I have no proof of this, and I will not apologize for that. (Shit! It got me too!)
The compulsion to rebrand something as malevolent and antagonistic as the MAGA ball cap makes sense! The execution, however, never does. Never did. Never will. What actually happens, when “Make America Great Again” is replaced with a cheeky or progressive slogan while keeping the same font and color scheme, is the exact same thing that happens when it’s the original. If I’m 50 feet from you, I see the color and the font and assume it’s a MAGA hat, and my fight-or-flight immediately engages. By the time I’m close enough to see it’s a parody hat, I’m already deep in “Fuck this dude” mode. And then, instead of feeling relief that it’s a clever slogan instead of Make America Great Again, I’m just annoyed as fuck.
Also, parody hats just make Trump’s MAGA branding even more ubiquitous. It literally (and effectively) does the thing it was created to combat. It’s not subverting. It’s assisting. (And, if you squint, it’s plagiarizing too.)
Anyway, I’m sorry if this compels you to throw your MAGA parody hats and shirts in the trash. Actually, no I’m not. Nevermind.
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