How many billions of words have been written about Donald Trump? How many millions of articles? How much of the internet is now devoted to him?
A quick Google search turns up 1,000,000,000 returns which sounds like one of those numbers he’s so fond of making up.
What does it all mean?
Part of Trump’s strategy has always been to encourage the prolific spread of information and misinformation about himself, in order to avoid proper oversight and scrutiny of his words and actions.
He has created a frenzy of content and a wall of crazy words around himself that somehow seem true and false all at the same time.
The news and social media have been complicit in this game, and sometimes it seems like objective reality is a thing of the past.
In the words of the esoteric and barely comprehensible French Situationist philosopher Guy Debord - who I fell asleep over in my university library all those years ago:
“Truth has almost everywhere ceased to exist or, at best, has been reduced to mere hypothesis”
Debord (I seem to remember) imagines a society where we experience everything as ‘spectacle’; modern life is figured as one giant TV show, an endless cavalcade of triviality and celebrity, designed to distract us from the oppressive powers that operate to keep us all in check.
But with the rise of reality TV and its American presidency, it seems the spectacle has dropped the mask and is now doing its darkest work out in the open.
What content can we trust?
Sometimes, it's difficult to focus on the important elements of this grand political narrative and understand what it all means.
But, luckily, there is some great, serious and innovative content being generated around this topic that is both instructive and arresting.
As content creators it's fantastic to see digital journalism leading the way, showing how we can make complex concepts and news items come alive online, even as we are drowning in material designed to distract.
In this piece from the NYT - Trump’s reported actions in the Russian investigation are literally transposed onto Nixon’s articles of impeachment to illustrate the gravity and depth of the crisis that is currently emerging in the states.
This, at any rate, is something that's worth reading:
As content creators it's fantastic to see some digital journalists leading the way, showing how we can make complex concepts and news items come alive online, even as we are drowning in material designed to distract.