La La Land is Donald Trump: The Musical

Wandering around New York in early January, I came across a copy of The Village Voice containing this article by Michael Musto. Quotey-quote:

Brace yourselves for a deplorable avalanche of schlock culture, folks. My personal theory is that whenever a loathed-by-the-left Republican hits the top spot, the culture suffers: The artsy bunch feel crushed, defeated, and in need of some quick, mindless escapism — not the legitimate cultural rapture that would elevate them in the long haul. President Richard M. Nixon brought the schlock with him in droves — remember jean shorts, spandex, Hee Haw, and Beware! The Blob? — and Ronnie Reagan did the same thing in the 1980s, with an unhealthy heaping of A Flock of Seagulls, track lighting, Small Wonder, and Endless Love. So did you honestly expect that the Trump administration — which rose to power on moth-eaten razzle-dazzle — would arrive with an assortment of Masterpiece Theatre links? Consider my forecast of the year-to-be a “coming distractions” heads-up of misguided entertainment that we can blame on Trump, even if he’s not directly responsible for it. After all, it’s what he would do!

It turns out that a lot of the crap culture is already in motion, as sometimes happens when the wheels start turning even before the crackpot mans the dilapidated stagecoach. And it ain’t pretty. On Broadway, we are bracing for a SpongeBob musical, a version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a Harry Potter show — all family-style entertainment that might be better on ice. Nostalgia for more comforting, less scary times becomes an easy fix, and the tendency is toward large, noisy productions that might drown out current editions of Meet the Press.

I thought of this when I saw Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. Everybody seems to think La La Land is a great movie. It isn’t. It’s arch, vacant, posturing, saccharine, tuneless, heartless, self-regarding, bloated, clichéd, fake-ritzy, brainless, cheaply sentimental, and desperate to convince you that its tacky pretentiousness is actually an expression of authentic good taste. It’s a corpse in full makeup. It’s the head of a shot buffalo, mounted on a McMansion wall.

It is, in other words, The Age of Donald Trump: The Musical. The avalanche of schlock culture starts here.


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