Themes and Imagery are integral tools in storytelling, any writer who knows their shit can use them swiftly to display complex ideas that can’t be defined entirely in the actual text. It can be implied, interpreted- but not outright explained. Representing a larger message, a feeling that can’t yet be conjured up.
Examples of this said imagery can be seen in Hemingway’s works, his first two novels star Veteran’s of the first world war who became impotent due to an injury. The Modernist era that Hemingway belonged to was deeply affected by the great trauma of that War, it shifted social changes and dazed its victims to the current social order and way of things.
Hemingway found it ironic that a Young Boy who had gone off to War, a process that was once thought to make men, had taken away the very thing that made him a man. Hemingway’s worldview and writing was dominated by this sense of irony, as was other members of the Lost Generation.
The impotency of the protagonist in both novels represents how Hemingway perceived the Generation that had just been traumatised by the great war; broken, distraught, biologically useless for procreation- which was important for the Family Valued social norms of the day.
Other great examples of imagery can be found in works such as the Great Gatsby, which is practically a giant message on the futility of the American Dream and the current social-political order. As is John Steinbeck’s Of Mice in Men, which not only decried the American Dream- but Dreams in general.
And while these great works are almost purely fiction, I can see their techniques in real life. A lot of writers can. That’s why Toni Morrison referred to Bill Clinton as “the First Black President” because his story exhibited a lot of the traits often seen in the Black Experience. Such as being raised in severe poverty, within a single parent household and various other factors.
As a Writer I can appreciate the themes and imagery that pops up occasionally in real life, although I wish the story itself had much better writing.
Sometimes I like to think that Earth is a TV show in it’s thirteenth season and the writers are just throwing new and poorly developed story-lines in just to keep things interesting. Other times I like to theorise that all of existence is just a computer simulation, similar to the developers world but with a minor or major change.
Some would suggest that the developer would have changed some historical events (e.g. what would happen if there was a second world war?) or changed some genetic code in early humans to see what we’d look like.
I’m much more cynical in regards to this theory. I believe that if we do live in a computer simulation, then the developers work for some very corporate purposes and agendas. So we could all exist just so the developers can test whether or not placing Bacon in between pizza crusts would be a successful marketing strategy.
Upon seeing the results, the developers shut down the program. That’s why I believe things appear to be getting crazier day in, day out. The developer has pulled the plug and our reality is about to be flushed away in some apocalypse. As we swivel around, the rules begin to break. Some very weird shit goes down and instead of going out with a whimper- we all go out dazed and confused.
Speaking of dazed and confused, Donald Trump.
For those of you unaware, Donald Trump is the current President of the United States of America. A Country in the north of the American Continent. It’s often perceived to be the most powerful country in the world, some would even go so far as to say it is the best- which is debatable.
Now I would argue that Donald Trump isn’t just the President of America, but rather that Trump is the American.
I mean he exhibits all the vices typically associated with America and it’s Culture. Vanity, Gluttony, Obesity, Easily Agitated, Excessively Violent, Cruel, Dumb, Unsympathetic, Illiterate, Ignorant, Vain, Shallow, Misogynistic, Loud Mouthed, Pathological Liar, Insecure- the list goes on.
When they make the movie about Trump (and they will) it’s going to be terrible. Because everything about him is terrible. He’s such a two dimensional character that it’s borderline offensive. How can a man so old be so ignorant in everything?
Trump is the American in that he is constantly pumped with drugs; Crestor for high cholesterol, aspirin to prevent heart attacks, antibiotics to treat skin rosacea, Propecia for baldness and Ambien to help him rest on flights. Some have theorised that the balding medication has caused mental issues and mood swings, as it possesses side effects.
He eats the same garbage that they eat. Typically fast food, very few fruits and vegetables. The reason he finds this diet appealing is mostly because he’s a moron, biologically and nutritionally illiterate, simply shoving anything that tastes good into his mouth. But another reason is this possibly irrational fear that he’s going to be poisoned, fast food restaurants don’t know he’s coming hence they can’t plan out an assassination. That’s what he has in common with the American people; Paranoia.
There’s a reason why Joe McCarthy was able to take office and terrorise America, there’s a reason why people sleep with guns under their pillows and why they want to build so many goddamn walls; Paranoia.
Now most of this paranoia is unjustified, it’s simply the echoes of commercialism upon the ears of ignorance- all to get higher ratings and to achieve shallow, political goals. But despite the evidence to the contrary disproving the concern about terrorism, about immigration- the paranoia remains. Because you can’t debunk a feeling. You can’t debate or negotiate with it- it’s simply…there.
That’s all Trump is there for, he echoes a feeling. The feeling possess more value since he has such a Celebrity status, again another vice- the cult of celebrity. He seemed to possess some kind of authority as a rich person, America values wealth above all else. Their poor don’t see themselves as poor, but rather as just temporarily embarrassed millionaires.
Again there’s the obvious vices upon his superficial nature, obsession with looks- which can be seen in both him and the fact that he hires people because they look the part. With the inflated ego, the arrogance only rivalled by unrelenting insecurity. Easily agitated, both vulgar while claiming a sense of prudishness. Engaging in immoral acts while claiming to have a conscience.
But above all else he’s a businessman, the stem of Capitalism. America may just be the most Capitalistic Country in the world, it’s fear of being anything else has caused it to become irrational in its attitudes. And what the current layout of Capitalism seems to imply to me, is that it is a social system that guarantees a Winner- but somebody has to lose.
China wins a factory, America loses a factory. Costa Rica wins in Renewables, Veneuzla loses in Oil. The system is set up so that not only do people lose, but entire regions lose- simply because they’re not marketable. They have no coast lines for shipping docks or landmarks for tourists- they have no choice but to lose, or leave.
America is set up in such a way that only a few people win, while everyone else loses. Trump is both a victim and perpetrator of such a system.
And while, as a character, he is terribly written. The set up was phenomenal. With all of American history reciting itself in rhythm, the emergence of Conservatism in the late fifties. The “Greed is Good” mantra ushered in through Reagonomics, Terrorist Attacks and Wars recorded and regurgitated in a twenty four hour news cycle that screams nothing but fear, conspiracy theorists given TV shows, Oligopolies forming in the shadows, scapegoats falling from the sky and sheer anger, resentment at being ignored- how did it take this long to get a Trump?
A country so transparent that the elected a man as rotten as their very soul. There are virtues of course, but they’re hard to come by these days. Ideally we’d see a much better character written for that very role emitting these said virtues- but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
In a way he is a representation of our times. Before there seemed to be not enough news and now it appears that there is to much, even a 24-hour news channel can’t cope. Everything is spinned, everything seems important for a week but it falls into obscurity like clockwork. People no longer just have fifteen seconds of fame, they have a minute.
I guess that’s the issue with my Generation; information overload. We’re the first people to be raised into the digital age, we’re the most fluent in it, capable of creating different sub cultures, developing our own slang so comprehensive that it’s practically a new language.
Tragedy happens like clockwork, there’s emotional input which is soon followed by recreational distraction. For the first time we can perceive a calculation by of our worth in other eyes. The pressure to fit in is overwhelming, the feeling that you’re missing out ever present- that you’re not good enough.
We’re like a a duck on water, seemingly at piece but under the water excessively working. Drained of energy and overall, possess a sense of impending doom at all times. All generations have believed that they had been living in end times, we actually have the scientific evidence to prove it.
Better writers than me will denote what this generation is, whether it be lost or not. Historians may find my ramblings to be hilarious nonsense or deeply concerning. With their hindsight upon the so called Greatest Nation i all of Existence, will they reach to the stars or fall like Rome?
I don’t know. All I know is that over time nations change and adapt. America is no exception. But at this particular moment in time, Donald Trump is the American.