Title: Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus
Author: Matt Taibbi
Pub Date: January 17th 2017
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – Dispatches from the 2016 election that provide an eerily prescient take on our democracy’s uncertain future, by the country’s most perceptive and fearless political journalist.
In twenty-five pieces from Rolling Stone–plus two original essays–Matt Taibbi tells the story of Western civilization’s very own train wreck, from its tragicomic beginnings to its apocalyptic conclusion. Years before the clown car of candidates was fully loaded, Taibbi grasped the essential themes of the story: the power of spectacle over substance, or even truth; the absence of a shared reality; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new, explicit form of white nationalism that would destroy what was left of the Kingian dream of a successful pluralistic society.
Taibbi captures, with dead-on, real-time analysis, the failures of the right and the left, from the thwarted Bernie Sanders insurgency to the flawed and aimless Hillary Clinton campaign; the rise of the “dangerously bright” alt-right with its wall-loving identity politics and its rapturous view of the “Racial Holy War” to come; and the giant fail of a flailing, reactive political media that fed a ravenous news cycle not with reporting on political ideology, but with undigested propaganda served straight from the campaign bubble. At the center of it all stands Donald J. Trump, leading a historic revolt against his own party, “bloviating and farting his way” through the campaign, “saying outrageous things, acting like Hitler one minute and Andrew Dice Clay the next.” For Taibbi, the stunning rise of Trump marks the apotheosis of the new postfactual movement.
Taibbi frames the reporting with original essays that explore the seismic shift in how we perceive our national institutions, the democratic process, and the future of the country. Insane Clown President is not just a postmortem on the collapse and failure of American democracy. It offers the riveting, surreal, unique, and essential experience of seeing the future in hindsight.
Let me start by saying that I’m not American, nor do I live in USA. I was looking at the US presidential election as a complete outsider. I’m always more or less aware of what is happening in the US, who’s the president, whats the latest scandal, latest mass shooting or foreign country invasion. Because of the power and meaning of the US to the world, important thing from US are being reported throughout the world. However, I work in American company (whose name is scattered in this very book in an unflattering way, which made me question my life choices), and my team consists of mostly of Americans. So one day it inevitably came to a call on which I learned who one of my teammates is supporting in this election. I was profoundly confused and shocked that he was a strong Trump supporter. At that time I didn’t know much about Trump, but I just knew that he’s a ridiculous person that could never be president. But I didn’t have any strong arguments at that time, that could help me with a discussion. Now I know that any discussion will be fruitless and pointless. But this moment urged me to learn more about US presidential election. Eh… and I learned a lot about why Trump should not be a president, and that he’s ridiculous is just a top of an iceberg.
My interest in American politics brought me to this book, Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus. I didn’t know the author before, but I’ve seen him on The Daily Show. He seemed like a reasonable guy, and the title of the book is just perfect so I decided to give this book a try. It’s a collection of essays that were published in Rolling Stone since 2015 when the whole madness started. It’s fascinating to read those essays now, when we know what happened at the end. To read about the moments when Taibbi was predicting that Trump’s campaign is going nowhere, that they made a horrible mistake that he won’t be able to recover from. Eh…
This book gave me a unique look at American politics, how the campaign works, how the media works with the politics. And let use one of Trump’s favorite words to describe it all: SAD. Taibbi delivers an analysis of what went wrong in American political system, how it took years to build a ground for a ‘outsider’ like Trump to came and grab the Oval Office for himself. Highly recommended read for everyone who’s trying to understand how the hell it all happened.