Everyone agrees that Trump is the most powerful man in world history. If you doubt this assertion, try reading a Twitter account omitting discussions of his latest doings. Trump has the power to make celebrities gain weight and to create millions of jobs within a few days.
Make no mistake. I am not saying this power is fake. I am saying Trump’s power is real. People are gaining weight because of Trump. Jobs are being created. These developments make complete sense to any student of philosophy.
In Reality, Trump has far less power than we imagine. The job of the President is more symbolic than executive. Symbolism is why Trump has power over the world. There is no contradiction among those sentences.
We do not live in Reality. We live in a socially constructed reality:
A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.
It’s endlessly amusing watching English majors struggle with the rise of Trump or even the rise of me. How can “big gorillas” win, they exclaim in between bites of cream cheese frosted cup cakes. (To ask the question is to show supreme ignorance of cultural anthropology and the very nature of man.)
Where does the media’s power come from? Does the Carlos Slims’ blog the New York Times have a private police squad? Can they arrest you for failing to believe them?
Status – the social construct above all others.
While discussions of “alpha” and “beta” grow tiresome, status is all around us. We use different terms for status such as prestigious and influential.
In a Rational World, an article from mainstream news would be no more or less trusted than an article from other outlets. There have been far too many outright hoaxes spread in the papers for anyone to accept as true any proposition from any mainstream outlet.
Here is a question I posted to a very powerful man: Which would bother you more – an article I wrote which 100,000 people read, or an article in the New York Times that 10,000 people read? Assume for the sake of argument that the audiences for both articles were of the same social status.
We all know the answer, it’s OK, we are friends here. An article in the Slim’s blog/NY Times will have more impact (although that impact is waning) than my articles, as the Times has higher social status.
That is why we are attacking the social status of the Times by reminding people it’s nothing more than the private blog of a corrupt Mexican businessman named Carlos Slim.
The media’s power comes from legitimacy,
and legitimacy is a social construct.
When you first see your name on blast in a “prestigious” paper, it freaks you out a bit. Why? Because we’ve all collectively agreed that these institutions have legitimacy. They become, as George Lakoff would explain Metaphors We Live By, a father figure. A media’s dressing down is like being called into the principal’s office.
We give the media that power. If you collectively agreed to take away that power, fake news would vanish almost overnight.
Even talking about fake news stories gives them power.
Framing and News Cycles.
The news must flow. When you wake up, there will be news. If you’re reacting to the news, you’ve lost.
Because you’re in the frame of a news cycle. A news cycle that forces you to answer questions has power over you, as the person who can demand answer is always of the higher social status.
One reason we drove the news crazy in 2016 was by creating news cycles. We forced the media to talk about what we wanted to talk about.
This triggered fake news journalists on a primal level, even if they lacked the understanding of post-modern literature to understand why.
Think about how the media freaked out over Hillary’s health. Chris Cillizza wrote at Jeff Bezos’ blog (WaPo) that we weren’t allowed to talk about it.
Then Hillary had a seizure, which means we can talk about her health. Thanks for the permission, mom!
Consider what was going on at an unconscious level. Cillizza was triggered because he and others in the fake news were losing power. They no longer get to set the agenda.
We are in a media turf war.
All wars are territorial.
Territory is status.
Why does any mainstream outlet need more readers and more viewers? Six media corporations own 90% of all media outlets. Does Disney need the additional 10%?
No one wants less influence. Even as subscriber numbers for many fake news outlets increase, their influence declines.
“When I was President,” George W. Bush told Matt Lauer on the Today Show, “you mattered a lot more.”
— Eron Gjoni (@eron_gj) March 6, 2017
Paul Joseph Watson’s videos are being watched by over one million people (when you factor in the views on his YouTube page + the views on his Twitter).
Most cable news shows don’t have this viewership.
National Review, the Blaze, and other “conservative” outlets have almost no power today.
Meanwhile my Twitter profile – @Cernovich receives over 6 million views a month, with my Tweets earning far more.
Here’s a test of media power and status – the Hit Piece.
Would a hit piece appearing in National Review move the electoral needle? We know they have no power, as they devoted an entire issue to the #NeverTrump movement.
The fake news media, likewise, was unable to choose our President. They went all in for sick Hillary Clinton. Trump won. This was a devastating loss of status.
Even traditional outlets are losing power, as their recent attacks on AG Jeff Sessions failed miserably. (To their credit, the fake news was able to take out General Flynn, though that was largely because Trump’s media team does not fully comprehend the power of social media.)
When “bad press” in a mainstream outlet no longer dictates policy or personal decisions, then you know the media has lost.
Until then, it’s a fight for our lives, with new media outlets fighting censorship on social media platforms in addition to dealing with defamation from establishment/opposition outlets.
P.S. A note on social status and gorillas.
Have you noticed that my writing rarely elaborates its concepts in detail? That’s a sign of social status. I need not explain my every point.
Status is the power to decline explaining yourself.
However, it takes a deep education to write sharply.
If you’d like to go deeper into these subjects, here’s an introductory reading list:
- Metaphors We Live By
- One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society
- Status Anxiety
- Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior
- Thought and Language
- The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Gorilla Mindset hit 775 reviews on the Amazon main store page alone, bringing it to over 1,000 total reviews.