06:36:32 am on
Tuesday 28 May 2024

The Trumpan Show
Bob Stark

"I am the creator of a television show that gives hope and joy and inspiration to millions. We accept the reality of the world, as it presented. It’s as simple as that," says Christof about The Truman Show, 1998

The Truman Show is a movie about an insurance salesperson or adjuster who slowly discovers that his entire life has been a 24-hour television show, broadcast to the masses across the globe.

Truman Burbank lived in as dome.

The satirically named, Truman Burbank, lives under and within a stage-constructed dome, a safe and predictable 'gated-community.' The ultimate reality television show, directed by creator and producer Christof; who may or may not be a combo reference to Jesus and Christo, the renowned environmental sculpture.

All the people in Truman's fabricated life are actors, including his parents, as well as his wife; her every speech laced with 'product placement as endorsements.’

At the end of the movie, Truman attempts an escape. Christof, speaking directly to Truman through a speaker system, tries to convince him to stay by stating that there is "no more truth," out in the real world and that by staying in his artificial world, he would have nothing to fear.

As one Occupy Wall Street protester, once suggested concerning what is the ultimate goal of the powers-that-bean, "Shut-up, stay at home, enjoy your freedom.”

Digressing for a moment, a couple of modern day psychologists, brothers in fact, have written a book about mental illness; how it imitates, in its expression by the sufferer, the culture and politics of the day. Since the movie released in 1998, the brothers noticed a few interesting patterns. One is an increase in the number of paranoid schizophrenics that morphed, over the years, from believing someone is following them to those poor tortured souls that claim to be receiving messages through their invisible tin-foil heads or via metallic dental work. Still others are convinced someone films their lives for showing on television or over the internet.

This latter display of mental confusion is, officially, 'The Truman Syndrome,' for mental health practitioners. Ironically and comically to some extent, when Edward Snowden released his data showing the NSA was indeed collecting meta data on every American citizen, some patients banged on their psychiatric doctors tables yelling "See I told ya so!"

In a way, we are all Truman Burbank.

Do we really know what's going on out there in the 'real world'? Are hidden cameras watching us? Are we subject to surveillance by the police? Is Big Brother about to be residing in the White House?

Instead of Christof, we have Donald Trump, the modern day Wizard of Oz, behind every curtain, pulling the levers of power, directing and producing, as well as starring in the television show, Make America Great Again. This is a combination American Idol and The Voice, where there is only one contestant, one winner, every year; that is the Donald, former producer of The Apprentice, the making or breaking of people's careers. He’s the Dark Knight living in the Tower of Babble. The author and master of The Art of the Deal, wherein the sole strategy is to do anything, say anything, even lie, with the endgame being he and sometimes she that wins all the toys.

Woes are we that live in Strawberry Fields, where nothing is real and where "living is easy with eyes close, misunderstanding all you see.”

Trust no one over 30! Trust no one under 30! Trust no one, not even the person sitting across the table from you. The man or woman in the gabardine suit could be a spy.

Mother told me there wuold be days like this.

Enter the Trojan Horses called 'False News' to further confuse and alienate us even further.

We've gone from the television world of Father Knows Best and Walter Cronkite, once the most trusted man in America, to utter media 'corruption' across the board. Alt-Right site like Breitbart have gained equal footing with Rolling Stone and the New York Times.

'Be Prepared' has become more than a motto for Boy Scouts, but, prepare for what, from whom? Who's your Daddy? Where's Waldo? Where's Walter Cronkite? Who's zooming, the media, Trump or each of us? We once cheered for Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks. Now, well things are getting a little hazy.

Don't believe everything you hear or read!

A Wikipedia editor told author Phillip Roth he was unqualified to correct the page about him.

Phillip Roth tried to edit and correct a piece on Wikipedia about the source material for one of his books. The 'editors' kept re-editing the note back to their original. Roth kept trying until Wikipedia told him he wasn't a credible enough source, on his own material.

Many of the 'stories' posted on all media outlets or sites are paid-for-ads disguised as journalism.

In today's post-1984 state, communiques rule. It's a sprint to print. Fact-checkers nullified by counter fact-checkers, until nobody knows from nothing. The 'sound bite' is now the 'sound fight.’ Creative, intelligent, discourse has been defeated, imprisoned and sent to the gallows by narcissistic loudmouth buffoons who listen only to their own voice boomeranging back to them off Kafka's Castle within whose walls the real plotting for world domination unfolds.

Bubbling dangerously beneath all the sleight-of-hand diversionary media-concentrated chatter and propaganda, there is a whole 20,000 league of gentleman engaged in an uncivil war for hearts and minds, and ultimate control of the levers of power. 

Fortunately, there are many indicators, cautionary warnings, if not screaming alarm bells, in the real world about false stories and the manipulation of 'news.’ Alas, the problem has become one of trust. In what source(s) does one put one's faith?

The mainstream media, those media outlets allegedly with the most resources to do background checks or investigative journalism have become too glib, under-staffed, too quick to get out the news and, let's be frank, too biased, on both sides of the political spectrum, to be completely trust-worthy.

Many, not only those on the loony far right or left, believed the mainstream media was 'corrupt' and that the fix was in; get Hillary Clinton elected.

Now, there are allegations of Russian hacking, of everything from the DNC to the Clobber's secret post-midnight e-mails to Ivanka Trump via the computer belonging to Anthony Weiner.

It's one thing, when one side's leader appears completely unhinged, quite another when the opposition seems destined to become as unhinged in the endless power struggle between the Red and Blue parties.

Glenn Greenwall, the fellow associated with Edward Snowden, recently lambasted the Washington Post for relying on questionable material or sources; an anonymous group not called Anonymous who provided an extensive List to the Post re the hacking of US entities. Then, even more worrisome, not withdrawing or correcting the material when it was obvious the whole story was a sham. As a 'respected' media outlet, other news organizations wasted no time picking up and perpetrating the material, and helping to create the hysteria over the Rooskies involvement in 'rigging' the US Election. So even that issue is full of doubt, certainly in some people's minds, for perhaps political reasons, duh, and the uncivil war continues. Even The Shadow doesn't know what is going on!

The Donald tweets whatever he wants, no matter that it's often a lie.

Well, in the absence of full disclosure by the CIA et al, no wonder Trump tweets whatever he likes, as his bromance, with Vlad the Impaler, plays well in the already paranoid heartland of Trumpeters. Who is the biggest 'false news' expert? It’s the fellow leading the parade back to 1984, the Donald.

Glenn Greenwall explains the danger of Trumps twitter feeds. On the one hand, due to their brevity and their ambiguity, the world could go into a state of heightened tensions, which could have immensely negative outcomes.

I think there’s another sort of more pernicious aspect to it, which is what Trump does as he tries to discredit every single source of information other than Donald Trump. He tells his followers "Don’t listen to the American media, because they’re liars." He tells them "Don’t listen to the intelligence community, because they defrauded you with Iraq." He tells them "Don’t listen to experts, because these experts are all corrupted and they’re part of the D.C. swamp," that he wants to drain.

"The only truth that you should trust comes from me, Donald Trump." That is a very dangerous framework. It’s pure authoritarianism, when a political leader also becomes the only source of information that the population trusts.

Unfortunately, his biggest allies in that are media outlets who have done the kinds of things that I just explained. The Washington Post and journalists helped. They’re the reason why people are losing faith in American media outlets. That’s what gives space to a demagogue, such as Donald Trump, and allows him to say, "I’m the only person who you can trust." His use of Twitter is really a weapon, a powerful weapon, in achieving that dangerous state of affairs.

Former Clinton Labour Secretary, Robert Reich, summarizes the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, used by Trump, coming to completely obliterate the Fifth Estate and send it, like Iraq, back to the Middle Ages, before the invention of the printing press.

Berate the media and turn the public against it, calling it "dishonest, disgusting, and scum.” When Trump lies and the media call him on it, he can tweet how the media is lying. Trump also chastises 'satire' as "unfunny, one-sided and pathetic.” Witness his attacks on SNL, the play, Hamilton and more recently Meryl Streep.

Limit media access. Trump does not do many news conferences, blocks media access and refrains from telling the media with whom he is meeting.

Threaten the media. Sue the New York Times. Open up Libel Laws to increase the ability to sue the media or anybody who looks and acts like them.

Bypass the media and tweet directly to the public, thus increasing his ability to lie. He thus becomes the only true and trusted source for news or opinions.

In Reich's view, these are classic elements used by all demagogues to limit the freedom and independence of the press.

In the end, the public doesn't know whom to trust and thus entertains itself with the latest consumer toys or spends countless hours on Facebook arguing with each other, thus enhancing the Totalitarian desire to keep us stupid, occupied and, moreover, divided and watching, always watching the Donald.

In The Truman Show, Truman Burbank, our hero, finally does escape. In that, there may be something for which to cheer and to hang our own hope for salvation on, as we move into our own 'unknown unknowables with a Christof-like Presidency.

Truman Burbank: Was nothing real?

Christof: You were real. That's what make you so good to watch and, as an audience member, to cheer for.

Christof: I know you better than you know yourself.

Truman Burbank: You never had a camera in my head.

Not yet, unless you come to suffer from what may become known as The Trump Syndrome.

A Post-script.

To lighten the discourse, I'll create a little false news myself, 'unreleased tweets' by Herr Trump on the status or fate of our Canadian-based hockey teams!

Toronto Maple Leafs: New York Wannabes! Trump Tower trumps CN Tower bigly. Haven't won a Cup since 1967 - Canada's Centennial Year! Totally rigged!

Montreal Canadiens: French, eh? Losers! I'd have won the Plains of Abraham in a landslide! So weak. So lacking in defence. Can't protect their own people. Ban all Muslims. Believe me!

Ottawa Senators: I love Senators! Picked one to be in my cabinet. But that Pierre Trudeau guy has to go. Communist pansy. He doesn't know how to grab pussy that'll tell ya. Should make Mike Duffy head of the Bank of Canada or Revenue Canada.

Winnipeg Jets: Used to be in Atlanta. Make America Great Again. Rip-up NAFTA! Bring those American jobs back to Georgia! As for that Finnish kid - no stamina! Can't take a head hit...unlike ME! Look at my hair!

Calgary Flames: Talk about Jeb! Totally low energy for an oil-producing country. Home of Lyin' Ted. Unbelievable. Water Boarding them would be too lenient!

Edmonton Oilers: City of Champions?! City of Chumps. New coach. Elected some no-name woman -  a woman! - as Premier. I totally whacked a woman, with a little help from my Russian teammates. Drain the Oil Sands! Build all pipelines! Elect Kellie Leitch aka Mini-Me.

Vancouver Canucks: Rhymes with Crooks. Lock'em up!  Closest city to Chiina! Creator of the climate change hoax. Too many Swedes - Socialists! Bomb the crap out of them!


Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.

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