Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

The politics of punk in the era of Trump

Philosophy News image
Trump is Punk! It’s a hashtag. It’s a slogan on t-shirts and trucker hats. It’s a click-bait headline.Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor, may have started this buzz with his speech (delivered in drag) at Louisiana State University on 22 September 2016, in which he claimed that “being a Donald Trump supporter is the new punk” because it would “piss off your teachers, piss off your parents, piss off your friends.” Then in October, The Atlantic published “Donald Trump, Sex Pistol: The Punk Rock Appeal of the GOP Nominee,” and after the election, the New York Post ran an opinion piece with the headline “Trump is the Punk-Rock President America Deserves” (9 November 2016). Despite social media protestations, “punk” became shorthand for Trump’s rule-breaking, anti-establishment campaign filled with unapologetic vulgarity and appeals to white male grievance.Recently, a month before the 2020 election, photos of Johnny Rotten in a MAGA t-shirt set off a Twitter storm that revived the “Trump is punk” debate. Has Trumpism hijacked the meaning of punk like it has the Republican party?The internet is warehousing a digital media archive that reduces punk to pissing people off—a caricature that belies the complexity and longevity of the political discourse embedded in punk’s confrontational style. Punk has been around for over forty years, and its material and musical archives offer ways to push back on the digital one.Establishing the anti-establishmentPunk rock emerged in the mid-1970s as a rejection of bloated corporate rock stars who were out of touch with the lives of the late baby-boomers then coming of age. Its energetic back-to-basics music lowered the technical skills and financial requirements for kids to form a band. That’s one reason punk is described as “democratic.” Insofar as Trump represents a deskilling of the presidency—well ok, I’ll give that point to the “Trump is punk” folks.However, Trump does not qualify as anti-establishment. He is a white man. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

blog comments powered by Disqus