So, a few days ago, Amanda Palmer said during a press conference:
"It's been a really scary time in America. I don't know how it's felt over here [in Australia] for the past few months, but it's a total shit show over there. Especially if you're an artist, a woman, a minority, gay – anything but a rich white man – it's really very scary," she said.Oh, Amanda.
"But being an optimist ... there is this part of me – especially having studied Weimar Germany extensively – I'm like, 'This is our moment.' Donald Trump is going to make punk rock great again. We're all going to crawl down staircases into basements and speakeasies and make amazing satirically political art."
Now, this may be correct, in the sense that some great art could be generated in response to Trump's presidency. But it's wrongheaded in every other way.
First of all, if there is great art, it isn't because "Donald Trump is going to make punk rock great again." It's because the people making art in response to his heinous authoritarianism are going to make punk rock (or whatever art) great again, in spite of Trump.
Secondly, this is just such a privileged view. It's not an "optimistic" view, but one that comes from a place of being significantly inoculated against the worst abuses of the Trump presidency (and attendant Republican Congressional agenda) that you are able to find a silver lining in the space you inhabit, where there is still room for that sort of expression. And the time and resources and safety required to express oneself that way.
And finally, I just really despise the idea that it is somehow uniquely a Trump presidency which will evoke great art, especially because the alternative was the first ever female president.
You know, I expect that I will be doing some damn good writing during the Trump administration. Defiance is a place where my work shines. But, had Hillary Clinton won, I expect I would have done some damn good writing in that scenario, too. And because I would have had the psychological freedom to trust that my president wasn't going to blow up the planet, I would have done more damn fine writing about things other than the presidency.
As it is, instead of pouring my passion into celebration and defense of the first female president, which is about as punk rock as it gets, and having the space to write about other things that matter, I'll be focused almost exclusively on doing my piddling part to save our country from a treasonous nightmare. And if my writing about that happens to be occasionally amazing, it won't be punk rock. It will be tragic.