Geogie De Mattos/Mustang News

Emilio Horner is a political science senior and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News. 

  1. Meme: a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
  2. The kids love memes. I don’t understand the kids.
  3. Vaporwave: A genre of music that arose around 2010 among Internet circles. It involves chopped and screwed 80s elevator music with retro imagery of video games, technology, glitch art, MS paint, Greek bust sculptures, Japanese culture and advertising. Vaporwave is shitty music on downers.
  4. Vaporwave was a meme; now it’s a music genre. Depending on who you ask, it may still be a meme. It’s unclear if it’s a joke or not.
  5. No one likes or dislikes vaporwave. They just know it. We prefer the sign to the thing signified. No one likes or dislikes anything. Opinions are ironic. Caring about things is laughable. Caring is an illusion.
  6. In modern society, we prefer the copy to the original. Vaporwave, the copy, is preferable to shitty 80s elevator music, the original. Illusions are sacred. Truth is profane.
  7. Everything that was directly lived has become a representation. Social relations are a spectacle. The spectacle is mediated by images.
  8. Vaporwave allows for identity tourism sans lived experience. One can experience random cultural markers of the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s without identifying or having experienced any of those events. This depoliticizes identity. It makes it a joke.
  9. Donald Trump was a joke. Now he’s the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Depending on whom you ask, he may still be a joke.
  10. Trump is the copy, preferable to shitty 80s actors turned politicians (Reagan). Reagan was an actor. He acted like governor of California, then he acted like a Republican and then he acted like President of the United States. Trump is worse than an actor. He’s a reality TV actor. Reality TV is a spectacle. Everyone knows it’s trashy, but they still watch it. And still get off to it.
  11. Trump is a spectacle. Trump is trashy. No one likes or dislikes Trump. Correction, white, male hipsters don’t like or dislike Trump. They just know him. Trump is a meme. They’ll tell you they dislike Trump, but they’ll tell you they dislike reality TV. While still getting off to it.
  12. People say Trump is a response to white anger. This is false. He’s a response to a fictional white Nihilism — too cool for life apathetic attitude of people on the farcical left who operate within positions of privilege. White postmodern liberal cool kids, who still secretly seek the pleasure of the grand narrative. Trump is the nightmare of an imprisoned modern society.
  13. The hipster left will never tell you they support Trump, and they won’t even vote for Trump, but they are Trump. You are created as an apathetic media spectacle floating around ironic cultural markers. That’s why you find vaporwave appealing, even if you don’t explicitly “like” it as music. That’s why Trump is appealing. He’s fun to laugh at, he’s fun to mock. Because in consuming him, you’re rewarding the part of you that you try to repress, but is buried within. The racist, sexist, hyper-capitalist ideology embedded within almost every structure of our society. Structures that make you who you are.
  14. Trump is that badass feeling you get when you make a racist joke, even though you know it’s wrong. Trump is that good feeling you get when you and your friends are sitting around objectifying women even though you’ll indignantly point out why that’s wrong in your women’a and gender studies class the next morning.
  15. Trump is that pleasant feeling you get watching the game and drinking a brew, while at the same time mocking those that sit around watching the game and drinking a brew. People think Trump is “fighting the system” or pushing back on the “establishment,” but what’s more established in our society than big business and white supremacy?
  16. That’s what Trump really represents — an inability to face reality, and instead a conservatism that seeks a false nostalgia to a past of “a great America” that never existed. And damn sure wasn’t destroyed by multiculturalism or tolerance.
  17. Vaporwave isn’t music. Trump isn’t a politician. Nothing is real. It’s all joke until it isn’t.

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