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movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson

curated: did a 1950s TV Western predict Donald Trump?

I’d never even heard of the show Trackdown before…


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easter eggs
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  • Bluejay

    Amazing. Let’s hope the way the episode ends predicts how it’ll go down in real life too.

  • RicoSuave

    On a related note it seems like what inspired Trump’s run was actually the mocking he got from tv hosts like Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and that squirrelly looking guy John Oliver, who threw out a challenge to Trump. Though I think it was the very public roasting at the 2011 White House Correspondents dinner where Seth Myers and President Obama chortled over the idea of Trump being President. That I think was the moment that made Trump pick up the gauntlet. Self fulfilling prophecies. Be careful who you challenge.

  • Bluejay

    We can argue over what mistakes Democrats (and Republicans) made that led to Trump’s election. Mocking him for his evidence-free and racist-dog-whistle-blowing “birther” campaign is not one of them. The mockery and criticism were well-deserved, and the right thing to do.

  • LaSargenta

    Back in the late 1980’s he was sometimes saying that he might run for president. It was widely known enough for it to turn up in a Doonesbury strip.

  • RicoSuave

    So his reaction to pick up the gauntlet thrown at him was also something that people should have realized could happen. They thought he was a docile target . Guess he wasn’t. Now the people who goaded him to run, like John Oliver, need to ask themselves.. whether Trump would have run if they had ignored him. They made him run. Yes.. the ugly truth.

  • RicoSuave

    “Might”. Yes, but the flame was lit in my opinion by all those who mocked him publicly and gleefully made him the subject of endless late night skewerings. They wanted him to run, so that he could provide more material for their shows and draw bigger audiences. They just didn’t count on him winning. Sometimes Frankenstein’s Monster wins.

  • Bluejay

    Late-night comedians have skewered many, many, many public figures. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do, which is hold up powerful people who make idiotic claims for criticism and mockery. If Trump ran to spite late-night media instead of out of a genuine love and concern for the country, then that’s just further proof of what a shallow, narcissistic brat he is.

  • RicoSuave

    People run for all sorts of reasons. Do you think the Clintons lived a life of austerity and modesty after leaving the White House ? They profited quite handsomely from their years in politics. Please spare me the “love of country” by politicians. I would only say that Bernie Sanders is somebody in this last election who was a person of modest means. And guess what happened to him …

  • LaSargenta

    I suspect you might not be old enough to remember Spy Magazine? It was pretty much founded just for (by) member of one NY Real Estate empire to make fun of Trayfe. He was mocked widely, not just in NY. This came up again in the late 90’s. He has reared his head about inflammatory issues to attract lots of media attention and I think he predicted that his reality TV schtick would be a springboard for politics through celebrity (after all, it worked for others, like Jesse Venture).

    I think the biggest problem was not the comedians mocking him but the ‘serious’ media giving him free coverage and laughing. He *is* thin skinned, but it just feeds his adrenaline.

  • RicoSuave

    I have read the Spy Magazine article. But the effect of a 30 year old article is mild compared with the relentless mocking on Comedy Central , SNL on NBC and various other 24×7 cable networks. The comedians are the ones crying now when the subject of their mockery left them with the clown pie in the face. As I said, don’t wish for something : they wanted him to run, but now don’t like the result. Perhaps they should have ignored him.

  • Bluejay

    Yes, people run for all sorts of reasons, but “I’m running because Jon Stewart and John Oliver made fun of me” is one of the most pathetic.

    It’s bizarre to see your schadenfreude at comedians’ dismay. Yes, Trump’s campaign gave them lots of material to work with, but they’re just doing their jobs. Clinton voters might have cause to feel schadenfreude soon, when Trump’s policies hurt those who voted for him the most (though really it’s going to hurt everyone).

  • RicoSuave

    I have news for you… in a free country, anyone can run for President. You may disagree. The comedians deserve no sympathy. They abdicated all objectivity in their humor in this past election. And became obsequious sycophants for their favorites . What happened to actual humor ?

  • LaSargenta

    Well, it was more than one article. It was a pretty constant drumbeat of small stuff.

    Anyhow, it certainly seems that you’ve made up your mind about the role of comedians in ‘forcing’ him to run.

    Ciao.

  • RicoSuave

    It isn’t just my opinion that Trump was likely inspired by all those who mocked and said he would be soundly trounced if he tried to run. A simple check on Google shows a slew of articles on that. He decided to take them up on their challenge. Stephen Colbert famously said ““Donald Trump running for president is going to make late night television great again.”. Guess he should be happy now.

    Adios.

  • Bluejay

    in a free country, anyone can run for President. You may disagree.

    And in a free country, anyone can criticize the motives of anyone running for President. You may disagree.

    The comedians deserve no sympathy. They abdicated all objectivity in their humor in this past election.

    LOL! Objectivity is not required in comedy. But if you’re saying they were biased in mocking Trump and no one else, that’s blatantly false. Clinton was plenty mocked too.

    What happened to actual humor?

    I thought the satirists were all pretty funny. You may disagree.

  • Be careful who you challenge.

    Seriously? Because that is an absolutely chilling thing you’ve just said. We should watch out which public figures we make fun of because they might retaliate?

  • They wanted him to run

    Citations needed.

  • Perhaps they should have ignored him.

    That’s not how satire and comedy and cultural commentary work. At all.

  • RicoSuave

    Let me clarify what I mean… if you are writing a criticism of are mocking someone, one should be prepared that they could have a retort of some nature. This has been true through history, let me quote this :

    “Pay no attention to what the critics say,” the composer Jean Sibelius remarked. ”No statue has ever been put up to a critic.” The irascible Max Reger expressed himself in more earthy terms. ”I am sitting in the smallest room in my house,” he wrote to a critic. ”I have your review in front of me. Soon it will be behind me.”

    So critics receiving a dose of criticism is nothing new. It isn”t chilling.

  • RicoSuave

    I would say that depends on the motives of the critic.

  • RicoSuave

    From Time Magazine

    “On Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight, (John) Oliver finally came clean and admitted his role in Trump’s current run for the U.S. presidency. Turns out that back in 2013, Oliver filled in as a guest host on The Daily Show and rather explicitly called on Trump to run for president. “Do it,” Oliver told Trump back in 2013, adding: “I will personally write you a campaign check now.”

    http://time.com/4560586/john-oliver-donald-trump-2013/

    “In the spring of 2011, Trump showed up to the famed dinner as a potential Republican presidential candidate furiously pushing the conspiracy that Obama was born outside the United States. Trump reportedly left humiliated after a string of stinging jokes mocking his hair, his taste, his reality television show, and his fixation on the “birther” movement.

    Less than a month later, Trump announced he would not run in 2012. But that night may have more strongly ignited his desire to be taken seriously as a politician — and hatched his 2016 run.”

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/white-house-correspondents-dinner/time-when-barack-obama-seth-meyers-roasted-donald-trump-n565081

    If you were to challenge someone that they will not succeed at something, many a time they decide to take up the challenge… take a look at the various athletes, actors, business entrepreneurs, all of whom have taken up a challenge in their various fields when told they would fail.

    There was a perfect storm in the 2016 election with weak candidates on both sides and a highly polarized environment. Both sides had better candidates who couldn’t or were thwarted from making the final line up.

  • Bluejay

    “No statue has ever been put up to a critic.”

    And what was Socrates if not a critic?

    http://www.aviewoncities.com/img/athens/kvegr0873s.jpg

  • RicoSuave

    Socrates place in history is not due he being remembered solely as a critic. I doubt Colbert, Stewart, Myers, Maher etc are actually philosophers in their day jobs, though they might think of themselves as such. I believe Jon Stewart was a bartender once. So perhaps he has some experience there.

  • Statue of Roger Ebert:

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/apr/25/roger-ebert-film-critic-statue-ebertfest

    Not that that matters in the least.

    Who said anything about not expecting the objects of criticism to have a retort? What’s chilling is your suggestion that we should not criticism *because* there might be a retort.

  • RicoSuave

    To clarify.. in no way did I mean to imply that people should not criticize. I apologize if that is how it sounded. What I am saying is that when people criticize or mock, the subject of the criticism or mocking may take it as a challenge and it may give fuel to them and their supporters to show that they can prove (in their opinion) their critics wrong . After all critics do want their words to be taken seriously. So they should also expect the subjects of their barbs to throw a few back. That’s all.

  • Bluejay

    Socrates’ criticism WAS his philosophy. The entire reason he’s remembered is because he constantly questioned everyone’s assumptions.

  • Bluejay

    So they should also expect the subjects of their barbs to throw a few back. That’s all.

    Except that, in all your other comments, you’re BLAMING critics for the rise of Trump. It’s not just that you’re saying that critics should expect “barbs” in return (which is fine in a free society), but that it’s critics’ fault that Trump ran and won, and so it serves the critics right. Or else, as in Meryl Streep’s case, it doesn’t matter that what she’s saying is urgent and important — all that matters is that she was hypocritical in the past and so she deserves to be discredited and torn down. You keep deflecting attention from the biggest problem in the room (Trump), and arguing that, actually, those who are pointing out the problem ARE the problem. THAT’S why you’re getting pushback from me and others in this forum.

  • RicoSuave

    I am not deflecting from the problem. I just do not need Streep and her fellow hypocrites selective outrage when for decades they enable, support and applaud known criminals in their midst. The analogy would be the tobacco industry lecturing the country on lung disease. Yes, there is a problem, but I don’t need this hypocritical messenger .

  • Bluejay

    “I am not deflecting from the problem”

    * immediately deflects from the problem with the next sentence

  • RicoSuave

    There was nothing new or remarkable with what Streep said on stage. That message has been said several times by several people before she rehashed it on stage. But what was remarkable is that people seem to think she said something that has not been said. But what was remarkable is that she spoke in front of a crowd of people who have enabled, protected and even awarded people who have done heinous crimes, and this doesn’t seem to bother anyone. If the World Wildlife Fund and the Japan Whaling Association both read out the exact same statement about concern for species going extinct, whose words would seem hypocritical ? That’s how it comes across. The messenger matters. The message is already well known.

  • Bluejay

    You’re still deflecting. No one thought what she said was brand new — but she said it eloquently and she said it for an audience of millions. And it’s important for different people to keep saying it because it’s so easy for people to forget and to normalize Trump’s intimidation tactics.

    I’ve said what I have to say about Streep’s failings on the thread that is actually about her, and I don’t want it to take over this thread as well. Goodbye.

  • RicoSuave

    She repeated what has been said almost everyday. All she did was highlight what Hollywood is best known … hypocrisy. Yes, I believe this subject is done.

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