18 March 2016

The Anthropology of Trump: It's getting political in here

Rhiannon and I have been remiss. Despite all the hullabaloo, we have yet to post anything about the political events happening south of the border. Happily, Paul Stoller from West Chester University has done just that in a recent news article entitled: the Anthropology of TRUMP

In this article, Stoller uses what he calls a 'cultural vantage' to understand Trump's (aka. Drumpf) popularity which he speaks of as: "the embodiment of celebrity culture — a world filled with glitz, fantasy and illusion".

Stoller goes on to describe Trump's show time recipe:
Step 1: Trump comes on stage
Step 2: Trump recites his poll numbers
Step 3: Insults his opponents
Step 4: Invites famous supporters to the stage to 'sing his praises'
Step 5: Talks about how bad things are, how he's the man to make things better (all the while) avoiding anything factual
Step 6 (my own inclusion): some lewd or ludicrous joke about genitalia, sweating, vulnerable/visible minorities

Stoller goes on to argue that "[a]t no point does his talk focus upon a program for action, the complexities of policy or the intractability of social, political and economic problems at home and abroad".

As an anthropologist whose work in the Netherlands discussed the everyday experiences of rising Islamophobia, Stoller's point that "[i]n the real world Mr. Trump’s willful ignorance, his undignified behavior and his Islamophobia is both senseless and dangerous" particularly hits home. He goes on to conclude that "[d]espite substantial evidence to the contrary Mr. Trump’s supporters believe his mantra: things are horrible and we need a strong leader — Donald Trump — to fix a broken system", seemingly regardless of the truth or one's ability to manage the complexities of one of the largest nations in the world.

The tools of Anthropology prove to be a useful tool in this scenario to peel back the laughable drama and pomp that surrounds this political circus and help call attention to the real outcomes of Trump's campaign. This article also demonstrates the applicability of Anthropology in various realms.