When I pitched this piece, we hadn’t yet endured the supremely terrifying stupidity of the gentleman who brought a gun to a D.C. area pizza shop thanks to a baseless conspiracy surrounding John Podesta, other Clinton staffers, and a D.C. eatery. But, even in the face of near tragedy, it is worth looking at the various outbursts from Trump supporters, ranging from the scary to the hilarious. The combination of fake news—which you need to know how to spot—and amoral conservative click-machines have brought both dangerous and absurd stories to life in ways that are so surreal they wouldn’t even make it into the final draft of a Kurt Vonnegut or Don DeLillo novel.
We now live in a post-truth world, sure. But, we also live in a post-satire, post-irony world, where self-styled patriots can be coerced into doing things that are incredibly, pointlessly stupid due to the media blinders they’ve carefully built for themselves. This warped worldview is all fun and games until someone gets hurt while they wait for their medium supreme pizza and breadsticks.
The Pizzagate Gunman
Thanks to a fake news story that was spread both by people connected to Trump’s transition team and a number of conservative media outlets, a North Carolina man brought a semi-automatic weapon to a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor two on Dec. 4. He aimed to free any child sex slaves who were being held there at the behest of Hillary campaign chief John Podesta and others connected to the Clinton campaign. While the conspiracy theory had no basis in fact, the gun, and gunman Edgar Welch, are very real.
As the conservative wack job rumor mill must always go on, the very people who egged this man on and helped land him in prison are now claiming he is a crisis actor, as you can see in the video above, which has accrued tens of thousands of views.
Disruptive Delta Passenger
Some outbursts have been far less organized, but no less stupid. A man on a Delta airlines flight before Thanksgiving decided to make holiday travel even worse by standing up and (drunkenly?) celebrating Trump’s victory by referring to his fellow passengers as “Hillary bitches.” As is always the case these days, the outburst was caught on video, and the gentleman is now banned for life from flying with Delta.
Before the Thanksgiving holiday, the New York cast of Hamilton made a point to address Vice-President-elect Mike Pence directly after they discovered he was in the audience for their show thanks to a chorus of boos that went up in the theater upon his arrival. They delivered a thoughtful plea to Pence to be a VP for all people despite his anti-LGBTQ past. This led to yet another boycott that absolutely will not work. Hamilton will be sold out until they decide to close in 20 years, even if some guy in Chicago stood up and yelled at the Windy City cast, which doesn’t overlap with the Broadway team whatsoever. The protester was removed before the cast could even miss a beat.
#DumpKelloggs: Breakfast Brand Blacklists Breitbart, Declares Hate for 45,000,000 Readers - Breitbart https://t.co/idqNFqCpCM pic.twitter.com/jAzODHXBas— Ted-IAmBreitbart (@4everAPatriot) November 30, 2016
Another day, another boycott in Trump’s America. Very rarely do you see winners launching protests, but here we are. Kellogg’s announced that it would stop advertising with Breitbart because, you know, Breitbart is racist and now runs the country. Breitbart fired back with its #DumpKellogs campaign.
As with most of these poorly planned boycotts of multinational conglomerates, this campaign is sure to fail. As is the case with most grocery store aisles, what we have is the illusion of choice. Despite the dozens of boxes in the cereal aisle, almost all of them are made by Kellogg’s or General Mills, as you can see by a quick look at Kellogg’s brand portfolio. Of course, this hasn’t stopped Trump supporters from claiming success on Twitter, even if the only thing the boycott has actually achieved is needlessly increasing plumbing bills for people who just voted their healthcare away.
This boycott, which Jezebel pointed out is actually the opposite of a boycott, involves Trump supporters buying Starbucks and telling the barista their name is “Trump.” The idea is that college students are knocked down a peg when they not only have to sling macchiatos for $12 an hour, but they also have to write the name of the person who is going to ruin the economy just in time for them to graduate.
Breaking down the sheer stupidity of this boycott is difficult in the same way that understanding Westworld is difficult. THERE IS JUST SO MUCH THERE! 1. This in no way impacts Starbucks’ bottom line; it gives them more money. 2. What did these poor baristas ever do to you? 3. Most of the time this protest won’t even be noticed by anyone besides the customer. 4. Despite the fact that Starbucks sells those damn lattes that coffee-drinking conservatives claim to despise, Starbucks is actually a conservative dream. It replaces small businesses with an imperfect bottom line and community investment with cold, efficient, mediocre stores that are infinitely scalable and remain profitable even if their only innovation in recent years has been cake pops.
But, alas, the conservative need to inflict unnecessary cruelty on the young and poor once again “Trumps” all logic.