Late-era McCapitalism on a Silver Platter
By: Payton Williams, Voices Editor
We live in an age that emphasizes spectacle over reason, and truth is only what you can sell.
Content creator Natalie Wynn, I think, expressed it far better than I could on her YouTube channel, “Contra Points.”
“The President of the United States is a reality TV star.” Wynn said. “This is an aesthetic century. In history, there are ages of reason and ages of spectacle, and it’s important to know which you’re in. Our America, our internet, is not ancient Athens—it’s Rome. And your problem is you think you’re in the forum, when you’re really in the circus.”
I didn’t want to write about President Donald Trump anymore, and for more than a year, I haven’t.
I didn’t want to be part of the news media’s obsessive infatuation with our current president.
I wanted to write about issues people didn’t already know about, and Donald Trump can be called many things, but “little known” is decidedly not one of
… which is sort of the point of why I’ve chosen to write about him today.
America is all about brand recognition, and a recognizable brand is king in the marketplace of ideas.
The brand is the truth, the brand is right, the brand is what’s happening.
Donald Trump’s got brand recognition right now, so Donald Trump is what we talk about.
This is all pretty obvious, and for a long time, I’ve managed to pretend it didn’t bother me.
That is, until about a week ago.
On Jan. 14, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Donald Trump served stacks of fast food on silver platters to the Clemson Tigers football team.
Fast food on silver platters.
When I first saw the pictures from the event which, unsurprisingly, the internet went insane over for about a day, I felt different about it than everyone else seemed to. I found it a little funny, sure, but something about the images left me unutterably depressed.
For several days, the image stayed with me, defining my mood. I’m not sure if I realized why when I first saw it. but now, I do understand what is so
depressing about the image.
Fast food on silver platters.
For me, that is the greatest metaphor for modern America I’ve ever seen.
In an opulent room, decorated with luscious gold, a room for hosting state dinners, our president, former reality T.V. star Donald Trump, stands smiling, offering fast food on silver platters.
That image is America, and while everyone else says that in jocular tones, I am not joking.
During the event, Trump even expounded on the meal he was offering.
“It’s all good stuff,” Trump said. “Great American food.”
He’s right. Fast food is American food. It is the absolute epitome of the American diet, and of American culture.
And it is unutterably depressing to realize this.
That’s why everyone’s been making jokes about the images, and no one is really talking about what these images say about American society.
No one is talking about how it reflects American media.
And no one is talking about how dead-on accurate these images are in reflecting what Donald Trump represents about America.
Donald Trump is our fast-food president.
Much like the silver platters the food is being served on in these pictures, Donald Trump presents an air of opulence while in reality, only offering momentary satisfaction without even the semblance of nutrients.
And like fast food, we all say we know it’s bad for us, while we continue to privately eat it up, every day.
Because the truth is we, and the media, more specifically, love Trump.
We know he’s killing us, and we don’t care. We just want the momentary satisfaction.
Truthfully, when I saw those images, and when I heard what people had to say about them, I played with the idea of giving up political writing all together. I realized that I really couldn’t say anything that could make a difference.
And I was reminded of the quote that I opened this story on, about how the problem with political discourse is that we think we’re in the forum when we’re really in the circus.
And when I look at images like the one on this page, I get their message loud and clear.
“Welcome to the circus.”