According to a Nielsen study, the average American adult consumes 10:39 hours of electronic media per day in 2016, up a full hour from 2015. Each year, it increases. At 13:17 hours, blacks expose themselves to the most, with Asians the least at 5:31 hours.
During many cross-country train trips, I’ve always noticed that the calmest and most content people in the lounge car were the Amish, those with no cravings for electronic media. Their children, in particular, were always impressively serene. Instead of hunching over a private movie, or being plugged to detonating beats that irritated everyone nearby, the Amish enjoyed each other’s company. Not wedded to gadgets, they bantered or sat in silence while contemplating this earth, unfurling outside the window.
Minus sleep and work, you only have about eight hours for all other activities. If someone spends all his available time watching TV, listening to music or staring at his stupid phone, he’ll act and react according to his programming, wouldn’t you think?
After Trump won the presidency, young Americans all over the country hit the streets in protest. High school students walked out of class en masse to march. Colleges organized counseling sessions and even cry-ins. It’s quite telling, this uniform dismay. Schools indoctrinate, and colleges teach you how to self-censor.
The revulsion towards Trump is strongest among those with little to no work or life experience. Just about everything they know about the world has been programmed into them by electronic media. Their entire lives, from how they stand or walk to their barely audible interior monologues, are molded by electronic media. Their skulls are electronic media echo chambers.
If it’s cool, they’re hooked. Who cares about contradictions? In 2012, Lady Gaga visited Julian Assange at his de facto London prison. In 2013, she performed at an inaugural ball for Obama’s campaign staff. Gaga is also a long-time supporter of the Clintons. Gaga’s fans, then, can admire her for siding with both Assange and his vicious persecuters. Hillary on Assange, “Can’t we just drone this guy?”
Doped up with songs and slogans, the media-drugged can’t even register contradictions in real time.
In 2011, the Clintons threw a bash for themselves at the Hollywood Bowl. With an all-star lineup, the Decade of Difference Concert celebrated their tremendous role in improving the world. No doubt thinking of NAFTA, Kenny Chesney sang “Beer in Mexico.”
Starin’ out into the wild blue yonder
So many thoughts to sit and ponder
‘Bout life and love and lack of
And this emptiness in my heart
Dude should have changed “heart” to “pocket,” and his song’s title to “Job to Mexico.”
Lady Gaga had no problems tailoring her lyrics. Thus, her “Bad Romance” became “Bill Romance”:
Caught in a Bill romance
Caught in a Bill romance
Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
I want your ugly
I want your disease
I want your everything
As long as it’s free
I want your love
I want your love
In the audience, Bill, Hillary and Chelsea beamed.
Gaga’s “You and I” included this bit:
There’s something about this place
Something about America
When a Clinton makes us all feel safe
Something about a cool Arkansas guy
Hillary’s 2008 run for the White House was lauded:
Hillary, sit back down where you belong
In the office, with those high heels on.
Sit back down where we watched you charm
The whole world and the country.
Similarly, Bono and the Edge dedicated their “Sunday Bloody Sunday” to Hillary:
I can’t believe the news today
I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.
How long, how long must we sing this song?
Broken bottles under children’s feet
Bodies strewn across the dead-end street.
But I won’t heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall.
And it’s true we are immune
When fact is fiction and TV reality.
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die.
Though the song is about British troops slaughtering Irish civilians, it was not meant as an ironic jab at our secretary of state but a tribute to Hillary as, somehow, a peacemaker.
Just five days after the concert, Hillary would giddily cackle these words about Gaddafi, “We came, we saw, he died!” To her, it’s downright hilarious to see a foreign leader sodomized with a knife, and the pulverization of Libya was a riot, too. We eat and drink while they die.
After Bill appeared on stage with the aging U-2 rockers, they crooned “Miss Sarajevo” as the final song of the night. It’s certain that few in attendance remembered or cared that their hero presided over the systematic destruction of Yugoslavia, with its 72-day bombing campaign that slaughtered thousands of civilians. Hey, it’s a cool tune!
If you can’t see irony in Lady Gaga serenading a serial sexual predator with “I want your ugly / I want your disease,” you ain’t gonna to see ish. The audience swooned and cheered. Ditto, the next-day commentators. “I wish you were playing sax with me tonight, baby,” Gaga flirted with the murderous creep.
In this culture of endless come-ons, a cool, sexy surface is all that matters, especially to the young, and that’s why pop icons are deployed to shape public opinions. During her second siege of Washington, Hillary enlisted Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, etc. On the YouTube front, she used lesser names like GloZell Green and Sam Tsui.
Often wearing green lipstick, comic GloZell begins each homemade video with, “Hello, this is GloZell! Is you okay? Is you good? ‘Cause I want to know!” She has an autobiography, Is You Okay? In 2015, GloZell was actually invited to interview Obama at the White House.
One of GloZell’s most popular videos shows her sitting in a bathtub. Sloshing in milk while stuffing her face with Froot Loops, GloZell blathers, “I’m going to bring home the gold!”
For a Hillary campaign video, this low-budget buffonery is slicked up considerably. First, we see GloZell in front of a White House replica, then she jumps into a backyard pool. Bust-deep in milk and cereal, six other women perform with red, white and blue beach balls and inflatable batons.
GloZell’s pitch is predictably vapid, “I’ve met Hillary Clinton and I know for sure that she’s for civil rights, she’s for families, she’s for moms, she’s for all peoples. Here’s the way to go, hashtag, I’m with her!”
The last scene is of GloZell bottle-feeding her baby. Though she’s married and lives in an average home, this video depicts GloZell as some ghetto baby mama whooping it up at a White House.
Sam Tsui is a half-Asian Donny Osmond. Though a married gay man, his admirers are mostly teenage girls. In his Hillary video, Tsui is singing in a hipster café and persuading a young woman to vote. Like Tsui, she’s also half white, half Asian. Targeted marketing doesn’t get any more specific. Similarly, GloZell’s mark is another black woman.
If Lady Gaga, Sam Tsui or GloZell Green can influence your politics, then you’re insane, obviously, but that’s where we are as a nation. It’s all going according to plan, including the fragmentation. When these rioting youths face a backlash from middle America, our masters will have the pretext to squash us all.
Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.