The appeal of gangster films and Trump

 
DEGENERATEON
 
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DEGENERATEON
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09 October 2019 10:41
 

I love gangster movies - the godfather, casino, goodfellas, carlito’s way, etc.  What is it that makes these movies so great?  The rules of the street, the dark humor, the tribalism, the glamour of organized crime?  Hard to pin it on any one thing, but I think for me the humor is the most appealing thing.  At least with the Scorscese films.  Anyway, I was thinking about this in relation to Trump.  I believe that part of his appeal is the same.  It’s his politically incorrect talk - his statements may be offensive and in many cases very childish but are often hilarious.  His nicknames for his opposition, his “mob boss” behavior in many situations - he’s not going to take any shit. 

I understand that this isn’t a movie, it’s serious.  But at the same time, does anyone else see this appeal?  Not that it appeals to you personally, just that you recognize that this could be appealing to a large base?

 
Traces Elk
 
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Traces Elk
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09 October 2019 11:36
 
DEGENERATEON - 09 October 2019 10:41 AM

I love gangster movies - the godfather, casino, goodfellas, carlito’s way, etc.  What is it that makes these movies so great?  The rules of the street, the dark humor, the tribalism, the glamour of organized crime?  Hard to pin it on any one thing, but I think for me the humor is the most appealing thing.  At least with the Scorscese films.  Anyway, I was thinking about this in relation to Trump.  I believe that part of his appeal is the same.  It’s his politically incorrect talk - his statements may be offensive and in many cases very childish but are often hilarious.  His nicknames for his opposition, his “mob boss” behavior in many situations - he’s not going to take any shit. 

I understand that this isn’t a movie, it’s serious.  But at the same time, does anyone else see this appeal?  Not that it appeals to you personally, just that you recognize that this could be appealing to a large base?

People want to feel in control, or at least that there really is someone in control. A really strong desire to feel in control can become a handicap, due to all the shit that one can feel a need to control. Ain’t psychobabble grand? At least we can feel we understand the appeal; the next step, of course, is controlling it.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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09 October 2019 12:25
 

Trump is currently starring in a gangster film entitled “Right Now”.  It promises to do better than the 3 soft porn films he appeared in, which were basically flops (oops!).  So far almost 8 billion people are seeing it.

 
DEGENERATEON
 
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DEGENERATEON
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09 October 2019 12:49
 
Traces Elk - 09 October 2019 11:36 AM
DEGENERATEON - 09 October 2019 10:41 AM

I love gangster movies - the godfather, casino, goodfellas, carlito’s way, etc.  What is it that makes these movies so great?  The rules of the street, the dark humor, the tribalism, the glamour of organized crime?  Hard to pin it on any one thing, but I think for me the humor is the most appealing thing.  At least with the Scorscese films.  Anyway, I was thinking about this in relation to Trump.  I believe that part of his appeal is the same.  It’s his politically incorrect talk - his statements may be offensive and in many cases very childish but are often hilarious.  His nicknames for his opposition, his “mob boss” behavior in many situations - he’s not going to take any shit. 

I understand that this isn’t a movie, it’s serious.  But at the same time, does anyone else see this appeal?  Not that it appeals to you personally, just that you recognize that this could be appealing to a large base?

People want to feel in control, or at least that there really is someone in control. A really strong desire to feel in control can become a handicap, due to all the shit that one can feel a need to control. Ain’t psychobabble grand? At least we can feel we understand the appeal; the next step, of course, is controlling it.

I’ve been watching the Netflix series “Mindhunter”.  A common theme of the serial killers is a really strong desire to feel in control - so yes I can see how that can be a handicap.

 
DEGENERATEON
 
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09 October 2019 12:50
 
EN - 09 October 2019 12:25 PM

Trump is currently starring in a gangster film entitled “Right Now”.  It promises to do better than the 3 soft porn films he appeared in, which were basically flops (oops!).  So far almost 8 billion people are seeing it.

Sounds like a blockbuster - that’s a lot of asses in seats.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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09 October 2019 19:01
 

I think I see what you are driving at, but I don’t think it has as much to do with humor as with authenticity.  As John Stewart put it, Trump was the first openly asshole Presidential candidate, and I think that brazen, fuck-the-establishment, take-no-prisoners, completely un-contrived self-image got him elected.  In a detached way even I found it refreshing, even as I realized it really was an asshole coming across; but at least it didn’t insult my intelligence (can you even imagine Trump faking a southern accent to appeal to a South Carolina audience?).  Anyway, Trump never polished himself to make himself appealing, like virtually all politicians do, and to a demographic that felt denigrated (implicitly, at least) and left behind by the dominant culture and their own party, that was a godsend.  Granted they wrongly believed he actually cared about them, like he said he did, but he had the authenticity to create the illusion that he really did.  Alas for these illusions, but what politician, I ask, isn’t elected on one—at least to some extent?

[ Edited: 09 October 2019 19:04 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
DEGENERATEON
 
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09 October 2019 20:32
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 October 2019 07:01 PM

I think I see what you are driving at, but I don’t think it has as much to do with humor as with authenticity.  As John Stewart put it, Trump was the first openly asshole Presidential candidate, and I think that brazen, fuck-the-establishment, take-no-prisoners, completely un-contrived self-image got him elected.  In a detached way even I found it refreshing, even as I realized it really was an asshole coming across; but at least it didn’t insult my intelligence (can you even imagine Trump faking a southern accent to appeal to a South Carolina audience?).  Anyway, Trump never polished himself to make himself appealing, like virtually all politicians do, and to a demographic that felt denigrated (implicitly, at least) and left behind by the dominant culture and their own party, that was a godsend.  Granted they wrongly believed he actually cared about them, like he said he did, but he had the authenticity to create the illusion that he really did.  Alas for these illusions, but what politician, I ask, isn’t elected on one—at least to some extent?

Yes it’s all of these things, I just think the humor follows from his actions.  Its the “I can shoot someone on 5th avenue and people would still love me!”or “we got a problem on the border, we’re gonna build a giant goddamn wall”. 
I also agree with the authenticity.  If it is an illusion, it was an illusion that differed from the same ones we’ve seen over and over.  So it was fresh even though almost no one thought it could actually work.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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10 October 2019 06:11
 
DEGENERATEON - 09 October 2019 08:32 PM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 October 2019 07:01 PM

I think I see what you are driving at, but I don’t think it has as much to do with humor as with authenticity.  As John Stewart put it, Trump was the first openly asshole Presidential candidate, and I think that brazen, fuck-the-establishment, take-no-prisoners, completely un-contrived self-image got him elected.  In a detached way even I found it refreshing, even as I realized it really was an asshole coming across; but at least it didn’t insult my intelligence (can you even imagine Trump faking a southern accent to appeal to a South Carolina audience?).  Anyway, Trump never polished himself to make himself appealing, like virtually all politicians do, and to a demographic that felt denigrated (implicitly, at least) and left behind by the dominant culture and their own party, that was a godsend.  Granted they wrongly believed he actually cared about them, like he said he did, but he had the authenticity to create the illusion that he really did.  Alas for these illusions, but what politician, I ask, isn’t elected on one—at least to some extent?

Yes it’s all of these things, I just think the humor follows from his actions.  Its the “I can shoot someone on 5th avenue and people would still love me!”or “we got a problem on the border, we’re gonna build a giant goddamn wall”. 
I also agree with the authenticity.  If it is an illusion, it was an illusion that differed from the same ones we’ve seen over and over.  So it was fresh even though almost no one thought it could actually work.

To your point of humor, Trump’s lies in a way are funny.  Not comedy-funny per se, but as you suggest, childish.  They are so transparent and so unsophisticated and so self-evidently false that detached from the consequences of the President doing it and relishing only in the comic effect of a President doing it, it’s funny, almost a parody of a real President.  I mean, who lies like that?!  No politician I know.  They are devious, clever; they know what the truth is and willfully misdirect the listener away from it.  Trump doesn’t do this so much as deny that truth bears any relation to conversation, so in effect he just makes things up, things that are transparently not true.  This imbecility is comic, in its own way….

[ Edited: 10 October 2019 06:23 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
burt
 
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burt
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10 October 2019 08:23
 

And there is the factor of reality imitating art. Gangsters imitate the movies, other politicians try to imitate Trump (that’s not something they can pull off, Trump’s unique, but they sure imitated Reagan), business leaders imitate whoever is president, and so on. About 10 years ago I saw a news clip that said tech entrepreneur in Korea were dressing like Bill Gates. Cargo Cult phenomenon.