In the recent and ongoing election season, there have been many changes to which the presidential candidates have ran their bids for office. This can be attributed to the changing landscape of America and the world when it comes to technology and the following change to media and culture as a wide reaching whole.
In the past, changes in media have drastically affected the ways in which candidacy has been carried out, and such things are just as evident now. Before television was the main source of news and culture, it was radio, thus presidential hopefuls didn’t necessarily need to be worried about such things as appearance.
As televisions made their way into every family’s living room, these things became essential. Aesthetics made a drastic growth in necessity, and the same great change has come from the new prevalence of social media.
In an appearance that sums up all of these noted changes, this past week, Republican candidate Donald Trump hosted the comedy giant Saturday Night Live, in a decision that has drawn much criticism to the typically liberal show.
The show has in the past made parodies and sketches offering a commentary on politicians, yet this time it was centered around the actual politician himself. As can be imagined, there were still politically inspired sketches, yet Trump’s presence on the show has drawn ire from many news sources.
During this election season, public opinion has been falling along the lines of which candidate has a better social media presence and few have rivaled Trump’s Twitter. This has allowed for a wide dissemination of his views, which in many cases have been seen as jokes themselves. Many political commenters have stated that this is one of the main reasons that Trump has maintained his place in the public spotlight, this being what has made many aggravated at SNL’s decision. He has in many cases been shown to make misogynistic and racist comments, leading to the call for him to be pulled from the public stage, placing the representation that this specific appearance has offered in a negative light.
Though many of the sketches are filled with Donald Trump making jokes at his own expense, he is still giving his opinions, which are destructive to some groups of people, a stage to thrive.
One of said sketches depicts what America would look like under Trump’s leadership in 2018. The skit started with mention of how the reforms he has been shown to tweet have led to successful changes in the nations government and how he solved the Syrian Refugee Crisis by building a casino to provide jobs for Syrians in this mock future. It continued to play off tropes that have become typical in the characterization of Trump, such as his habit to call people “losers.”
The skit wraps with a rather flat performance from Trump’s daughter Ivanka saying that the plans to decorate the Washington Memorial with gold mirrored glass. As can be seen, though these jokes may offer a satirical political commentary, it quickly gets lost amongst the attempt to normalize these fantastical and often offensive policies and ideas that Trump has seriously spoken of in the past.
This particular episode has shown to have decreased SNL’s ratings and has negatively affected public opinion of the New York mainstay, and it is yet unknown the more far reaching results of this decision may be. Through all this the audience was able to find one trait that they found rung true through the show, this being Larry David interrupting Trump’s monologue and shouting “Trumps a racist” as statement many news sources have focused on.
The intentions of the show remain undefined and the message has been lost, so it has become difficult to see past the comedy of it all to the commentary they were trying to create, yet many have declared the move to be a mistake.