I read that people are baffled when they talk to Trump’s supporters just to realise that the latters are not aware of the various controversies he’s embroiled in. The cheap insinuation towards the mother of that late American soldier for instance. How can his supporters not know? Especially in a world where anyone has access to everything on the tip of their finger for the media are everywhere.
But that’s where his popularity comes from – as well as the increasing one of all populists: his supporters are anything but well-informed. I am not saying they are stupid, they just don’t care about the news as such for various reasons: they have grown to find it boring, tainted or impossible to trust, and irrelevant to their own problems.
In Europe, we were baffled that George W. Bush did not where Athens or Wales were. How can a president of the United-States not know this? Because you needn’t know that to be a president of the United-States. That’s as simple as that. In America, people have been taught to think in matter of relevance towards oneself, the rest is culture, some fancy fantasy only the rich and lefties can indulge in. The view is that learning something we don’t need to make a living is a luxury and “the hard-working” have no time for this so they catch some words here and there. They are the ones who are happy when someone can reduce a speech, a piece of news, whatever that is, to 140 characters.
My manager, in France, who’s half-Canadian, is a product of such vision of the world. We were having lunch and talking about the 49:3 and she arrived telling us proudly that she had not idea what “all the doo-dah” was about. Left-wingers, Right-wingers, French and foreigners in the room, we all looked at her with disbelief as the whole country was talking about nothing but this. Or so we think. Maybe we are becoming a minority to still be paying attention as most of us are turning it off and relying on quick Trump-like statements.
Last month, she arrived telling us that she heard something happened in Nice, she read a “couple of lines here and there” but did not know what happened exactly. “Are people dead?”, she asked and I realised that what I was told is wrong: knowledge is not the key to success or power. Birth is.
How do we compare, us the employees and her, our superior? We read, watch and listen to the news and she chose not to because it’s too depressing to her taste. We go to museums, exhibitions, to the pictures, we read books for pleasure when she chose not to. She has “no time for that” and believes reading is solely to kill boredom when in a waiting room. For her, our having time to do these things unrelated to work shows she is working more than we do.
She also looks down on us for she lives in France’s most expensive neighbourhood in Paris and we don’t. But it’s a give and take for most of us have learnt how uneducated, quick to judge and willingly ignorant she is. She knows her job because she needs the money but as far as her learning goes, its stops here.
For me, I am fascinated as I witness her marrying into money and living her life as if the world was not there. She has not problem admitting her ignorance, on the contrary, it’s a virtue, she doesn’t waste her time. She does’t know anything about the two parties conventions that just happened in the US because “she doesn’t need to: she is Canadian and doesn’t vote in the US.”
As long as it doesn’t land in her back yard, she has no care to give and I am convinced she is part of a majority these days. A majority easier for demagogues to manipulate, regardless of age, gender and race.