Paris Jackson gave a brief anti-Nazi speech at the VMA Awards
Do you remember back in January, when Meryl Streep gave her heartfelt speech about how Trump is a bad person, and it stopped Trump dead in his tracks and Republicans stopped supporting him? Yeah, me neither.
For whatever reason, celebrity endorsements seemed to go belly-up in America for the Trump-Hillary showdown. Lena Dunham only pushed voters away from Clinton with her increasingly unhinged statements, Katy Perry came across as preachy and uninformed, and, well, every celebrity who dives into politics with a hard-ass opinion comes across as preachy and uninformed. Even Jay-Z and Beyonce doing a major concert for Hillary before Election Day did virtually nothing for her.
Kendrick Lamar, the top rapper in the world right now, says he doesn't talk about Trump or Nazis because he understands that the culture is oversaturated with it, that people already know where they stand, and being condescended to by a rich and famous person isn't going to change anyone's political beliefs any time soon. I think he's onto something.
So then, with no further ado, it was Saturday night, it was the Video Music Awards on MTV, and Paris Jackson stepped up to the plate, and here's what she had to say (Paris Jackson is Michael Jackson's daughter, btw).
“We must show these Nazi white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that as a nation with liberty as our slogan we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred and their discrimination. We must resist!”
It reads like a corporate bumper sticker. All political stump-speeches delivered at an entertainment awards show inevitably do. And Twitter wasn't all roses about it, either.
Others were more positive:
On one hand, it's a passionate young 19-year-old speaking her mind on a massive platform. Why not say how she feels?
On the other hand, it's a 19-year-old giving a redundant speech to a country that mostly dislikes Nazis. It's a moment of personal emotional release masquerading as a daring political statement. Because, in all reality, condemning Nazis and racists is pretty mainstream.
In America, political sides have pretty much forgotten how to talk to one another. Between grand declarations on Twitter and at award shows, and the fevered continuation of the high-stress Donald Trump 24/7 fantasy hour, it seems unlikely that our usual comfortable modes of political speech have the power to change minds anymore.
A lot of Trump supporters like him because he angers liberals like Paris Jackson, Katy Perry and Lena Dunham. It's a politics of resentment.
And a lot of anti-Trump people hate him because of his personality and perceived stupidity, not his ideas and actions, which are mostly mainstream Republican moves, with the recent exception of pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man who deliberately starved and dehydrated prisoners, and cuffed pregnant prisoners to their beds.
When Paris Jackson asks us to 'resist', it's unclear what she means. Do we boycott Trump products? Create a grassroots progressive movement? Go fight Nazis? The fact that her statement is so vague may be the most frustrating thing about it.
Nobody knows what she wants - she just doesn't want this.
Well, Paris, get in line.