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Monday, December 26, 2016


American Pie in the face

by Tom Sullivan

Image by @Carl_Price Chris Barker #sgtpepper2016 .

British graphic artist Chris Barker's montage began on election night in the U.S. Pondering the losses this year of David Bowie and so many other celebrities, Barker eventually created an homage to the cover of the Beatles’ 1967 “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band." The image posted on November 9 went viral:

“Then Leonard Cohen died and he was so almost Beatles-y that adding him was a no-brainer and it went even more viral,” Barker noted in his blog. “Then Robert Vaughan, another great sixties icon also passed away and it went viral again. Then suddenly I was that dead celebrity photoshopper guy.”
Last night George Michael appeared in the image. Barker swears he's not causing it.

The image may mimic "Sgt. Pepper's" but the feeling this morning is more the melancholy "American Pie." A bit of irony about what else died in 2016 appears in the center foreground:

Barker’s image includes Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder and more. Also represented is “America” via a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” hat.
Amanda Marcotte writes that the phrase “preparing for Trump” began trending on Twitter Friday morning. What began as a response to a Peter Dreier article about fighting for working people under a Trump administration morphed into a bitch session by conservatives excited by the coming of Trump:
But what’s fascinating is how few of them, had anything positive to say about Trump and his coming presidency, despite their apparent love of the Great Orange Grimace. On the contrary, the contributions of Trump supporters on the thread were almost exclusively negative: They are gleefully certain that he will rain destruction on the heads of the hated liberals.

Trump’s fans on Twitter don’t seem to think that he’ll improve the economy or foreign relations or anything at all, really. In fact, they seem wholly opposed to the concept of improvement. Their worship of the man lies with their belief that he’s an agent of destruction, who will hurt people they have been trained by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to believe are evil.
David Bell extends that thought in a piece at The Nation. A large proportion of Trump voters live inside "the party’s steel-walled ideological bubble" now, and are impervious to information coming from sources outside a Republican messaging apparatus that includes the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity (emphasis mine):
The machine has been operating in this way for many years, as Alterman and others have detailed. But since the election, the delegitimization of real news has taken a new, dangerous twist. It has now become clear that faithful followers of Limbaugh, or Fox News, will not only immediately discount any mainstream-media story that reflects badly on politicians or policies they like, no matter how well sourced and substantiate; they will consider the story itself yet another reason to support those politicians and policies, and will quite possibly believe the opposite, simply as a matter of principle. Polling data suggests that even during the election, the revelations about Trump’s failure to pay federal income taxes, and then the Access Hollywood tape, failed to significantly affect his support within the Republican base. The stories were unquestionably true, but that was less important than the fact that they were reported in the mainstream media (broken, in fact, by The New York Times and The Washington Post, respectively). By definition the stories demonstrated the power and extent of the dark liberal conspiracy against America, making Trump’s victory even more important for the Republican base.
In that sense, Barker might well have included a copy of one of those newspapers beside Trump's MAGA hat to symbolize the death in 2016 of real news. Except real news is taking its time about it, really. Like the father in The Last Remake of Beau Geste, real news is perpetually "still alive and dying."

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