By Clay Waters ~
It’s official: There’s no escape from anti-Trump politics – it featured on the front page of every inside section of Thursday’s New York Times. None of the following stories came from the actual news pages. Instead, the NYT thought it vitally important to tell its readership how fashion designers and actors feel about Trump, and how a new TV cop show featuring a “results-oriented boor” is a painful reminder of the new president.
“Political Fashion Statements” aired on the front of Styles, Guy Trebay writing:
Of course, reality intruded. Fabulousness is no barricade against politics. Reacting to President Trump’s executive order banning the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations and refugees from any country, designers who are showing their work during the four days of men’s fashion in New York expressed dissent in gestures that, while mainly small and symbolic, added gravitas to the usual street-style antics and overall frivolity.
And in a spirited introduction to Nick Graham’s Mars-themed collection on Tuesday, presented against a giant projection of Earth seen from space, Bill Nye — the “Science Guy” — addressed climate-change deniers with a paean to our fragile atmosphere.
The N. Hollywood collection could also be judged insensitive. Yet it served as a reminder of an often invisible population — one that, in light of recent studies showing that in almost no place in the United States can a person working a 40-hour week at minimum wage afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent, seems destined to increase.
Cara Buckley’s “Carpetbagger” column for the front of the Arts section welcomed the fact that the “Trump Era Invites A Bolder Red Carpet – Movie stars are speaking out this awards season.”
At last weekend’s round of movie and television awards, doled out by the producers’ and actors’ guilds, the likes of John Legend and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, (pictured) among others, swung hard at President Trump and his travel ban, to rapturous applause. The friendly reception to hostile fire represented a departure for awards shows, where political acceptance speeches have elicited reactions from eye rolls to noisy dissent.
But now Hollywood finds itself in 2017. If current trends hold, using stage time at the Academy Awards to take a stand won’t be just de rigueur, but expected.
Mr. Trump’s travel ban, along with his combative rhetoric and internet outbursts, have directly shaped this year’s awards race. And Hollywood’s ever more polarized face-off with him has imbued the season with a heightened sense of both superfluousness and purpose.
Not everyone wants to hear actors bang on about politics, and audience reception depends on political bent. Many in America who are supportive of Mr. Trump already feel alienated by “Hollywood elites,” and might not be tuning in to the Oscars anyway.
But as public arts funding is threatened with cuts, and Mr. Trump unveils other contentious policies, many actors suddenly feel that they must speak out, even if they’re preaching to a choir eager to lap up their every word.
The Arts front featured Jamie Poniewozik’s condemnation of “Training Day” a new cop show on CBS airing tonight. He was aggrieved that it’s evidently not as liberal as everything else on TV.
“Cops don’t even want to make a damn traffic stop. Afraid they’ll wind up on Anderson Cooper.”
“Maybe [the police] are not going to have to be so politically correct. Maybe they’re being overly politically correct.”
The first quotation is from Frank Rourke (Bill Paxton), the morally suspect but brutally effective Los Angeles police detective at the center of CBS’s “Training Day.” The second is from the new president of the United States.
If you have a hard time telling them apart, who can blame you? The candidate Donald J. Trump, running on “law and order” rhetoric borrowed from Richard M. Nixon, talked crime as if he were recapping a ’70s cop drama. He repeatedly — and falsely — claimed that United States murder rates were the highest in 45 years. Cities, to him, were lawless hellscapes: “You walk down the street, you get shot.”
That’s essentially the outlook of two new police shows — “Training Day” and Fox’s “A.P.B.” — each of which depicts American cities as free-fire zones that need a tough, results-oriented boor to break rules, crack skulls and restore order.
They cruise the squalid streets as Frank cites some statistics of Trumpian dubiousness: Crime is “up 300 percent,” which does not seem to square with recent Los Angeles police data. “It’s like ‘The Purge’ every night,” he says.
Ugly times call for ugly tactics, he feels. If a few lies get told, a few suspects get tortured, a few confiscated dollars go missing — hey, freedom ain’t free.
The front of Thursday Business Day featured technology columnist Farhad Manjoo’s “How Social Networks Stole Trump’s Spotlight.”
Mr. Trump feeds off media attention. Throughout the campaign, the bigger a spectacle he created, the larger he loomed in the public consciousness. What has been remarkable during the last two weekends is how thoroughly Mr. Trump’s own media personage was blotted out by scenes of protesters.
A similar story unfolded the weekend before. In his inaugural address Mr. Trump claimed the mantle of popular will. The next day, a far larger illustration of popular will was on display at marches across the country. The people who gathered for the women’s march hijacked the media narrative.
….We’re witnessing the stirrings of a national popular movement aimed at defeating the policies of Mr. Trump. It is a movement without official leaders. In fact, to a noteworthy degree, the formal apparatus of the Democratic Party has been nearly absent from the uprisings. Unlike the Tea Party and the white-supremacist “alt-right,” the new movement has no name. Call it the alt-left, or, if you want to really drive Mr. Trump up the wall, the alt-majority.
Manjoo engaged in more liberal wishful thinking.
If the last two weeks are any indication, though, none of this will happen quietly. There will be pictures and viral videos of real people facing hardship, and those pictures are sure to inspire hordes. When people are left with crippling medical bills in the absence of health insurance, or when people are deported to Mexico, you will see large gatherings on Facebook, and then on TV.
Not even the Super Bowl was safe, as the front of Thursday Sports section trumpeted: “N.F.L. vs. Politics Has Been Battle All Season Long.”