Il Trumpe’s Fear Of Sharks And The Original Call Out Culture

By now, it’s clear that we’ve elected a typical elderly, Fox News watching, white retiree as president, with all that entails. The link between what Il Trumpe tweets and what has Fox News has just aired is terrifying.

In explaining Trump’s fear of sharks (during one of his trysts with porn star Stormy Daniels, he was more interested in watching sensationalist shark coverage than being with Daniels), Tom Scocca gets at the heart of why people watch Fox News (boldface mine):

There have been very, very many attempts to identify the core of Trumpism, but this—stripped of conventional politics, stripped of considerations of wealth and celebrity—seems to reach it as few other anecdotes have: Donald Trump is a guy on dry land, staring at the television for hours because he wants to make himself feel terror and loathing toward sharks.

Sharks have nothing to do with Donald Trump’s life; his life is lived no closer to the ocean than a beachside golf course. His life contains no mortal danger at all. And yet he needs the idea of the sharks. In the midst of absolute safety, he needs to fear them and hate them, to live out a fictional encounter with a threatening Other. He is intentionally poisoning his mind with them. The sharks are the Knockout Game, the rampaging Mexican gangs, the Muslim infiltrators, the flag-hating elite. They are American Carnage. He wants the sharks. They are the only thing he knows how to want.

When Rush Limbaugh first gained widespread fame and listeners in the early 1990s, this same phenomenon was at work: his viewers needed to be angry. Some of them were already angry, but many enjoyed getting worked up over stupid shit. It was the original call-out culture, albeit with less audience participation. It gave them a sense of purpose, even a sense of belonging to a sub-culture.

The only thing different now is that one of these broken, anger-dependent people is now president. This is a very bad addiction for anyone, never mind a president.

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