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Old Things that Are Tough To Explain: Donald Trump Was a Pop Culture Icon

March 27, 2018

(image via wikimedia)

As far as “old things” go, this one is fairly recent.  Usually the old things that are tough to explain (like researching without the internet) can go back a couple decades.  Sometimes stuff (like smoking cigarettes in restaurants and movie theaters) goes back a couple generations.  But kids today don’t realize that just a few years ago, maybe as recently as 2011, Donald Trump was considered a pop culture icon.  Maybe people are trying to forget, but I think it’s important to remember the past, no matter how weird it might seem.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m no Donald Trump fan.  I disliked Donald Trump before everybody else did, and it’s not even political.  The simple version is that I’m a polite person, and Donald Trump has always come across as kind of rude.

For example, I always thought Trump was rude in his Larry King interviews on CNN.  Once he even complained about Larry King’s bad breath.    I laughed when it happened, but I still thought Trump was a dick .  To be fair,  Trump was just demonstrating how he would get an edge in negotiations, but still.  I don’t want to negotiate with somebody who tells me I have bad breath.  I’ve been offended by a lot of bad breath in my life, but I’ve never publicly shamed a person for it.    I know Donald Trump respected Larry King.  At the time Larry King had already had more wives than Trump could even dream about.

Complaining about bad breath in a negotiation is bad behavior, and Larry King rewarded Trump’s bad behavior with a bunch more interviews.  That’s what media institutions did for over 20 years, rewarded Trump’s bad behavior.

Trump made a cameo appearance in the movie Home Alone 2, but that appearance didn’t really add anything to the movie.  If anything, it kept an actual actor from having a job.  Some struggling actor could have played a mogul hotel owner and never got his opportunity.  I don’t blame Donald Trump.  What is he supposed to do?  When you get offered a cameo appearance in a Home Alone movie, you take it.  I blame Hollywood.  I blame Hollywood for a lot of things, especially for making a lot of crappy movies.

When Trump made a cameo appearance on the soap opera Days of Our Lives in 2005, everybody made a big deal about it and claimed that Trump was great.  He was great at being Trump, I guess, which is all the soap opera people wanted.  I have to give Trump credit.  He’s better at being Donald Trump than any of his impersonators.  Most of his impersonators suck.  And why do we even need a Trump impersonator?  We can watch Donald Trump whenever we want!  I can understand Elvis impersonators because he’s not around anymore.  But there’s a lot of Donald Trump.

Being on Days of our Lives wasn’t enough for the fawning public. An actress from Days of Our Lives even bragged about how she flirted with Donald Trump .  And the audience cheered.  And the hosts encouraged this flirting, even saying that Trump was “cute.”  To me, a “cute” Donald Trump has always been tough to explain.  It actually kind of turns my stomach a little bit.  But as a man, I’m not attracted to the same things that a lot of women are attracted to.

Today, no woman will admit she flirted with Donald Trump, at least not with pride.  Women will always deny that they were attracted to Donald Trump, but the evidence is right there.  Who am I supposed to believe, women who deny ever being attracted to Donald Trump, or the grainy video evidence?

Everybody could tell what kind of president Donald Trump would be by watching his television show The Apprentice.  The highlight of every episode was watching Donald Trump fire some obnoxious go-getter.  “You’re fired!” was even a popular catch phrase for a while.  Now the same people who loved “You’re fired!” are freaking out when Trump fires somebody in the government.

When I tell my daughters that Donald Trump was once beloved by the public, they don’t believe me.  They think that everybody has always hated Trump.  I know, I know, not everybody hates Donald Trump; he did get 47% of the vote, but you know what I mean.  You don’t need to fact check me.  “Everybody hates Trump” is hyperbole, and you shouldn’t fact check hyperbole.  Donald Trump speaks hyperbole (when precise language might be a little helpful), and then journalists fact check him, which is funny because journalists went to college and should understand what hyperbole is (maybe colleges don’t teach hyperbole anymore).  I don’t know what’s worse, speaking hyperbole too often or fact-checking hyperbole.

The people who protest Donald Trump are some of the same people who told us how wonderful he was during the 1990s and 2000s.  I don’t mean they are the EXACT same people, but they are the same institutions.  The Apprentice was on NBC, and NBC hates him now.  Larry King was on CNN, and CNN hates him now.  Donald Trump made a bunch of cameo appearances in Hollywood movies and television shows, and Hollywood hates him now.

This makes me wonder, who is right?  Was the media from 1990-2011 right?  Was the media from 2011-now right?  Were they both right?  Were they both wrong?  I don’t know if I’ll ever figure that out.  But I know that a short time ago Donald Trump was a pop culture icon, and that is a very tough thing to explain.

From → Pop culture

4 Comments
  1. a mystery indeed –

  2. Trump was in a sex and city episode once too. It’s like you said he was a pop icon. I never thought he would run for president because he was seen as a Hollywood celebrity.

  3. I like that you shared some interesting facts without getting political. Strange how the tides turn!

  4. What made him a pop icon? Three TV show appearances? He’s been very rude his entire life.

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