The Breakfast Club, Porky’s, Pretty in Pink, Grease, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Graduate and many others like them. Most of my American readers, like me, have watched every one of them; maybe even more than once. All of these movies revolved around high school and deal with coming of age. By the time you have concluded reading this you will probably have admitted to one or more other things. Let’s explore.
I have a pet theory, (which is not restricted to politics), that most Americans have never “left” high school. It is a common experience for all Americans the majority of whom actually graduate. Some of us are fortunate enough to go on to college (which is a totally different experience) but for most that is the end of the line for formal education. I’m not making any judgments about that today; I simply want to point out that it is a common bond and reference point. High school is a difficult time for most of us with everything that is happening around and inside of us as we “come of age”. (I hesitate to use the word mature because I fear too many never really do.)
There is a simple entertainment value to those movies. They are often very funny. The gratuitous nudity helped attract more than one young male viewer, (time for another personal admission of guilt.) Yes, there was a time I thought a young Molly Ringwald was pretty hot; perhaps in a Demi Moore (before the boob job) way. They were pretty but still seemed approachable to us ordinary (or less) guys.
What the hell does this all have to do with politics? That’s a legitimate question. I am currently reading Matt Taibbi’s new book Insane Clown President as part of a research project. I’m enjoying the book, it is helping me understand the topic I’m researching but I have no idea if it will be added to the Recommended Reading list yet. I’m like everyone else and love to have my viewpoint reinforced. Taibbi did it with the “throwaway” part of a sentence, “in less than a year Trump had succeeded in turning the USA into a massive high school”, that he used to describe the atmosphere at a typical 2016 Trump rally.
It is important that Democrats understand the attraction of Trump. Strange and perhaps tainted as it might have been, Trump won the election. Somehow he got just enough people in enough of the right places to vote for him. I think part of it was that he appealed to the part (and its bigger in some of us than others) that never left high school.
He was the guy that got the hottest girl. Maybe that Access Hollywood tape actually helped him with some. He mocked those who as kids we might have but never would as a “mature adult”. He used dirty words in public and got away with it even getting the vast majority of the evangelical vote in the process. Think about that for a bit. He lied. When his lies were debunked did he retreat? Hell, no! He doubled down. Like a high school bully he had his hired thugs protecting him before the taxpayers did via the Secret Service. (He still has at least one thug from his personal detail employed at the White House – using the taxpayer’s dime of course.)
It was a perfect storm that allowed Trump to win but we collectively did it to ourselves. There had to be a reason(s). If he went to your high school you would have known who he was, admit it. Now go watch a rerun of American Pie.
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