As I said the other day, the one of the more revelatory aspects of the Trump campaign is the way it has liberated people, particularly those who seem to think "PC" means "well-mannered."

A private Catholic high school is under fire after its students allegedly shouted racist chants based on Donald Trump‘s policy proposals at its basketball rivals.

Fans of the $8,600-a-year Andrean High School from northern Indiana turned up to a game against the Bishop Noll Institute with placards showing the Republican candidate’s face.

They also started shouting ‘Build a wall, build a wall’ at the opposition, the majority of whom are Latino.

A Facebook post:

 

"Deportes" means sports, but you wonder if they didn't intend an additional meaning.

The campaign has also empowered people to find something within themselves they might have never known they had: the hot, passionate instinct to defend a rich man against any charge, at any time.

 

 

Gawd, these hater dumnies! The man can do no wrong. Well, I'm not here to criticize Trump, much; as they say about Ben Grimm speeches, res ipso loquitur. Butover at Ace of Spades a while ago, Ace wrote:

Unlike some, I object to Trump on a personal level -- he is in fact a conman, and his lifelong liberal orientation guarantees he will always bow to liberal pressure and take the liberal path of least resistance -- but I do not object to aspects of Trumpism, and in fact support some of them.

I know what he means, and I sort of agree. Three points:

A) "Aspects of Trumpism" was a title of a 1968 psychedelic rock album on the Charisma label, right

B) "Trumpism" can be defined as "the working class in flyover states has been abandoned by a political class that may have gone to Washington with good intentions, but eventually turned into pomade-slathered turduckens of indifference and hypocrisy, squawking out the old tired bromides about policies that might help, if anyone cared to do anything to enact them." That's the definition the supporters would most likely put forth.

C) This is a definition of a problem, not the solution. If that's the basic message, then Trumpism is the diagnosis, not the cure. But there's more to it, of course.

He goes on to discuss how Trump's persona is so outre the good people worried about their reputations will make loud disavowals. To be frank I like the idea of a candidate who speaks his mind; it brings out the Sidney Greenstreet in me. Yes sir. I enjoy a man who speaks frankly with men who enjoy frank talk. Yes sir. This is another element of Trumpism: disregard for the niceties and pieties. But everyone has their own standard of what constitutes acceptable behavior outside of the norm. You want someone to talk straight with confidence, wit, and intelligence. You get an inarticulate flood of crude smack-talk. Suddenly the niceties and pieties look okay again, but there's no stuffin' the effin' genie back in that bottle.

Anyway. Since there's no central unifying theme to Trumpism other than "Make America Great Again" - which would be potent in some people's hands, and in others has the class and panache of a Kickstarter appeal to get the wife some new implants - then Trumpism eventually becomes the performance itself, the communal ecstasy of participating in this Thing that will make everything Awesome. The speeches have a playlist - there's the identification of an enemy who will Pay So Much You Won't Believe it, or will Have Trouble. (Cheers.) There's the protestations of personal greatness, the formless equivalent of a Grateful Dead jam. There's the Wall, the announcement of which is greeted like the first notes of "Stairway to Heaven," after which he goes right to the guitar solo.

It doesn't seem to matter if positions shift; the malleability is a sign that the performance is always evolving and perfecting itself. Trump's audiences are the only rock audiences as happy to hear new unreleased cuts as the old standards.

There's no great rhetoric, because we are in a post-rhetoric age. Rhetoric is for the prepared, the careful, the manicured, the inauthentic. Nothing is as suspect as a polished speaker; it's as if he thinks he's better than you. Trump speeches are notable only for whatever new outrageous thing was said, because that drives the news. The media's relation to Trump is one of the most hilarious things about this miserable cycle: they're all in the same car on a cross-country trip. He cuts a ripe one, the media groans and rolls down the window, enjoys the fresh air, then rolls it up after a few miles. Then he lets another one rip. AW DUDE and they roll down the window. Each is worse than the last, so no one remembers the wretchedness of the previous fundamental utterance. We're in an era where failure to disavow the Klan gets muted for a day because a candidate taunted a protester by asking if he was a Mexican.

Nothing accumulates; nothing changes everything. Everyone just keeps rolling the window down and up and driving on until November.

Maybe Ace can elaborate, and I'm sure he could, but to me whatever Trumpism was, it wasn't for very long, and it turned into Trumptastic Trump-o-Rama: The Musical on Ice before the ideas had a chance to develop.

Anyway: in a previous post, he said this about people tumbling over each other to disavow Trump and say they'll have no truck with the goblin trickster:

Even if you think the vanity and preening of the Establishment / Respectable Upper Middle Class is silly, you cannot avoid the fact that it is a palpable and real fact on the ground, and it must be factored into one's considerations. People will not commit a political act which causes them to lose social face or reduce their own estimation of their social class, and that is what supporting Donald Trump represents for this class.

Of course, that isn't to say this accursed class should be capitulated to, either.

I agree that there's a lot of Virtue Signaling going on, but that doesn't mean some people aren't deeply horrified by Trump as a man, or man-type thing, and want to establish some distance for reasons that have nothing to do with losing social face or class status.

Some of these people hew to a standard of behavior they regard as preferable to dynamiting whatever levees keep the dirty water from sloshing into the main street. And even if you hate this accursed class, you have to ask if a standard of civic decorum is something that can be judged in and of itself, and not as a social signifier. In other words, are we better off having our tongues and actions bound by standards, or are we more free and wonderful and liberated without them?

The whole culture had that debate around 1968, and while the answer was NIXON, the other side went to work undoing standards wherever possible, pretending that everything was open and okay, and then started putting in new standards.

But back to the main act. Ugly Carly, Bloody Megyn - those were the first sulfurous bon-bons he handed out, and now they're factored in, i.e., forgotten. That's just the surface of the man talking, the mouth ungoverned. But if you drill down beneath the surface, down to the depths, be that three or four microns below, you get the casual observations about Bush lying, and opening up the files (he's a great one for Opening Up Things, which will happen like Moses gesturing at the Red Sea) to find out who was really behind 9/11. These statements are intellectually repugnant, and make some think: oh, there it is! A line. It's red. I will not cross it, because he is a horrible human being.

That's why some disavow. That's why some go #NeverTrump. Not because they fear losing "social face or reduc(ing) their own estimation of their social class," but because - as Ace himself said - they object to Trump on a personal level.

I think a lot of people who support Trump would admit, if you beered them up and it was last call, that he's a problematic figure. But hey they're all flawed, and besides Gang of Eight and the Establishment, man. Well: would you want your daughter to date someone who talked like that? Wrote about screwing married women? Well that's different. Ah. So character matters for your daughter's husband, but not the President of the United States.

To which they'd respond: where has character gotten us? Good point. But there's more. The lack of "character" - the term prefered by those buzzkill bores who can't loosen up and take a joke - is a sign of authenticity and, in Trump's case, strength. How amusing to see this seized by some on the right, because authenticity over "character" has been a constant theme of the left for decades. Comportment, using words like "decency," respect, a sense of decorum in the public sphere - they're all one-ply tissues over our society's moral chancres. Things are bad, things are unequal, kids are dying, there's war, and you want to ban the F word on the radio? Maaaaann.

Decorum, everyone now agrees, wasn't about elevating discourse or the people who engaged in it. It was about suppressing authenticity, and there is nothing more authentic than anger. If you are angry in this culture, you are right.

Correction: if you're angry and belong to the various groups whose emotions are sanctioned by the gatekeepers, you're right. If not, you are fringe, or hateful, or gathered in a compound with guns, reading the Turner Diaries by kerosene lamp. It's a double standard, and some people see no point in holding to standards of decorum when they lose every fight and will be called bad names by the polite people no matter what.

Decorum is, in a sense, a falsehood, but so are most of our public postures. They have to be, because you can't always say what you think about the idiot in front of you at the grocery store, and you can't kick the guy who just cut in line in front of you. Well, you can, but you can't in the sense that you know you shouldn't. It's self-imposed. Decorum is discipline. Decorum is temperament. The absence of decorum says something about the presence of those two qualities.

Then again, I made flatulent jokes above, so I'm not helping.