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Chapo Trap House mourns the death of the King of Twitter

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

This episode is ostensibly about what social media is like in the yawning absence of Donald Trump on Twitter. It’s not just that, but those parts are pretty funny. I include a partial transcript after the video—mostly of Matt Christman (whose voice I recognize and whose comments are the pithiest). He has an excellent and moving rant at just over 45 minutes in that is amazingly eloquent considering he did it extemporaneously.

PermabannedPresident45 | Episode 488 FULL by Chapo Trap House (YouTube)

The episode’s cold open has them rewriting the famous Tears in rain monologue from Blade Runner (Wikipedia) to instead of mourning the memory of “C-beams glitter[ing] in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate”, they mourn the loss of the trove of knowledge that was Donald Trump’s Twitter account. “End of an era … one of the all-time greats.”

At about 21:00, They move on to discuss the punishment-happy attitude of many liberals to anyone even remotely involved with the storming of the Capitol. Supposed progressives are wholeheartedly supporting the no-fly list.

Matt: The problem with the no-fly list wasn’t that it was disproportionately Muslim. That wasn’t the problem. Adding white people to balance it will not make it better.

“[…] People need to ask themselves: what do you really believe? Do you believe that government is just the gloved fist of capital? Or not?”

At 44:45, Felix points out that idiocy is independent of education.

Felix?: Money and education in America today is no inoculation whatsoever against being an absolute rube, a slack-jawed rube. Like, mouth agape, flies-buzzing-around-you rube.”

I consider this description appropriate to anyone espousing an argument without consideration, without logic, with giant holes. The most glaring examples are, of course, Q-Anon, Stop-the-Steal, and Russiagate and WMDs and Iran’s nukes and China’s genocide.

At 47:20, Matt asks how people can support Trump so religiously. It’s not just that they’ve chosen him as a lesser evil, but they really seem to look up to him as intelligent and proficient and competent and righteous.

Matt: All of these people decided they were going to go to Washington and try to overthrow the government for … Donald Trump. I cannot respect that. You know the man, right? You’ve seen him on television? If you’ve seen him, and you think that there’s anything positive, that there’s anything worth suffering for, then you have put a knitting needle up your nose and scooped out your frontal lobe.

“[…] The guy sold out everyone he’s ever dealt with. He was never faithful to a wife, was never faithful to a business partner, he’s never succeeded in anything other than scamming people. The fact that he’s on TV and he looked like he knew what he was doing when he was firing Meatloaf […] you have to put more thought into it than that.

At 54:00, as is typical for Matt, he backs off a bit and gets more reflective, making an eloquent argument for the sad fact that drastically under-equipped people are wading into an ideological battle and just trying to figure out what’s going on, to make sense of the world, when literally everything is stacked against them. They’re poor, they’re misinformed, they’re overworked, they’re stressed, they’re in debt up to their eyeballs, and they can’t remember the last time they really enjoyed something that wasn’t shoved down their throats in a flood of propaganda. Much of their lives are spent moving through a miasma of misery—even when it’s not insistent in the foreground, the background buzz of it is there, diluting every experience. They wonder where their so-called American Dream went—why did it suddenly disappear in their lifetimes? Why now? Why them?

Matt: Why am I standing when the music stops? This is bullshit. We were promised it wouldn’t be us. What the fuck, we thought until very recently that it wouldn’t be us.

“And, I have to say, although I made fun of them and I said don’t respect any of them because they were conned by Donald Trump, […] if we’re all being buffeted by the horrible precarity of incipient globalized commodification of everything while all the material basis for an ongoing economy collapses, we’re all trying to figure out what’s going on.

“All of us on the left can pat ourselves on the back that we’ve solved it, we know the right answer. We’re not idiots like these guys, with their stupid prescriptions and their dumb hoodoo. We have a material understanding. That’s luck, man. Because where we end up, with our cultural understanding, our heuristic for evaluating the world and making sense of it? It’s determined demographically. It’s not determined by your decisions and your virtue as a person.[1]

“[…] It boils down to where you grew up, who you grew up around, and what you grew up watching. And, that, when you find yourself in distress and you wanting to understand why the world is the way it is, you seek the cultural explanation of the people around you what they’re all putting out into the ether and then sucking back in.

“Cause we’re all in these segmented cultural ghettos and it’s only going to create idiocy. It can only create incoherent idiocy. Because it’s not grounded in anything. It doesn’t come from class experience. It comes from experience as media consumers.

At 56:00, they return to the topic at hand, goofing on what a legend Trump was as a Twitter user.

Felix?: I would like to take the phrase “Bad food restaurant”, embroider it on a banner, and raise it to the rafters.[2] Trump’s style of tweeting, his way of talking, his Twitter account in particular, I truly believe, is the Pontypool mind-virus that will spread to all of us. It has changed the structure of my brain. I think and talk like Trump now because … it’s fun.”

Matt points out that Donald Trump had a much closer relationship with the people of America than Obama did.

Matt: Donald Trump, I think it’s safe to say, has a greater cultural legacy than Barack Obama. […] Barack Obama only set the stage for Donald Trump to enter. He was a void on purpose. That was what he was getting off on, the little sicko, was being not there.

“[…] [Trump] is the greatest poster of all time and it is not even close. No-one has done more with the medium of Twitter than he will, and we will never see his likes again.

“[…] The King. The King.”

At 1:04:50:

Someone: Somebody has to step up and be the next Trump and emulate the same kind of derangement and total narcissism and just dickishness.

Matt: It can’t be copied. He sui generis[3].”

At 1:06:30, they lament the coming loss of connection with the insane clown posse of the presidential mind.

“Joe Biden will never post for himself.”

Then they riff at 1:24:00 about Trump’s National Garden of American Heroes
(Wikipedia) and places in New Jersey that are slobbering about the contract to provide bronze for it. Or that Christopher Columbus is on the list because “all Trump projects are done by the Mafia”. The list of 244 people is pretty hilarious, containing almost exclusively completely uncontroversial people. Sure, Whitney Houston, Steve Jobs, and Alex Trebek are on there—but those are honestly arguable and would be supported as American heroes by a large part of the public.

[1] Here, Matt is echoing Robert Sapolsky, whose book Behave provides a scientific underpinning for a larger restriction of what we consider to be free will. I partially transcribed an interview with Sean Carroll where he goes into much more detail.
[2] This is a sports metaphor. When a great player retires, his or her number is embroidered on a banner that is lifted to the rafters of their home stadium.
[3] I just love the irony of using the latin phrase to describe DJT.