Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
November 30, 2015

Trump & Dumbo — Rejoicing in the Anti-Intellectual

Charmaine Adamo takes a selfie with friends and a Trump mascot "Trumpie" before a rally by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill

I thought this Trump shot from Reuters’ Photos of the Week was particularly clever. The caption reads:

Charmaine Adamo takes a selfie with friends and a Trump mascot “Trumpie” before a rally by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, November 24, 2015.

Being offensive and defying all rules of political behavior is not just Trump’s single tactic, for him, it’s a higher calling. Being politically incorrect and boasting about it is understood in his world as integrity. That’s why the parallel to Dumbo is not an accident. Trump and his followers rejoice in the anti-intellectual. In the face of facts and ethics, the only thing you can really trust is what you believe must be true. The nature of the photo is also perfectly consistent with both the performative and deluded nature of the closed loop they call a campaign.

Blatantly superseding the media lens, it squeals: “we revel in our own picture of things!”

In appropriating the GOP mascot, of course, what the selfie also delights in is taking the party hostage.

(photo: Randall Hill/Reuters)

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