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Response to Siwsan (Original post)

Sat Dec 14, 2019, 01:53 PM

16. Funny, not funny.

There are many reasons why Trump was elected, but none of it could have happened without the rise of reality television. The link between Trump the candidate and Trump the Apprentice star has been remarked uponbefore, but it it seems more urgent than ever now that it turns out that his unorthodox campaign actually worked. Reality television not only legitimized Trump, his campaign exploited reality TV formulas and used them to his advantage.

Beyond The Apprentice, Trump's campaign used the same familiar reality TV tropes that we've been fed for the past 20 years. Once again, he used catchphrases: "Make America Great Again," "Build the Wall, "We Don't Have a Country." He exploited racial sensitivities to his advantage, much like a TV producer. From The Real World on, reality TV has cast people as archetypes: the Virgin, the Racist, the Angry Black Person. They're edited to type and encouraged to fight with one another. Trump constructed similar narratives, presenting his opponents as villains by calling them names—Crooked Hillary, Lying Ted—and insulting them so blatantly that they weren't sure how to react.

We should learn from this election. It's imperative that we look at who and what we're elevating in the form of harmless entertainment. Even when television seems silly and trite, the images and messages it sends to viewers are influential. We need to question whether we want the entertainment we put on TV to become, over time, mirrors of our society as a whole. I, for one, don't want to live in a nation of Real Housewives.

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