Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Tony Soprano Paved the Way for Donald Trump

Where I live a lot of people were asking how anyone could vote for Hillary Clinton given what we know about her. I would usually say that I think many of her voters are asking how anyone could vote for Donald Trump. Though I had some of my own answers, I think for many, subconsciously the answer is Tony Soprano. Twenty years ago there is no way someone with the crude and immoral history of Donald Trump could run as a Republican and win. Rural residents of the Bible Belt might overlook one divorce, but not multiple divorces, bankruptcies, Playboy covers, and publicly crude language. Then in the late nineties The Sopranos appeared and became a bit of a phenomenon. It was mentioned on the Rush Limbaugh show; many said it changed television. It popularized the antihero and led to a stream, then a river of followers in popular culture. Here was a man who was violent, vulgar, selfish, cheated on his wife, didn't put his kids first; yet viewers still rooted for him to overcome his enemies. It almost felt like you were hoping he would become a good man, but really you just wanted him to win. He never changed, but he changed the culture. Seventeen years later we've had a steady diet of this kind of protagonist. And we've grown fat on it. I am surprised at the things I'm willing to overlook in a candidate, and just as surprised at the things I'm willing to overlook in myself. If you do not want more leaders like Donald Trump, we need to shift the focus of our culture away from heroes like Tony Soprano.

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