In his groundbreaking novel Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace (R.I.P.) extrapolated the concept of naming stadiums and arenas after their corporate sponsors to the annual calendar. He called “Subsidized Time“:
In the book’s future, advertising’s relentless search for new markets has led to a world where, by O.N.A.N. dictate, years are referred to by the name of their corporate sponsor.
CHRONOLOGY OF ORGANIZATION OF NORTH AMERICAN NATIONS’ REVENUE ENHANCING SUBSIDIZED TIME™, BY YEAR
- Year of the Whopper
- Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
- Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar
- Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
- Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
- Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office Or Mobile (sic)
- Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
- Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
- Year of Glad
Along the same lines, in 2016, California Republican John Cox introduced a ballot initiative that would compel politicians to wear the logos of their top sponsors like NASCAR drivers:
[T]his initiative shall require the following:
1. Candidates for any state elective office shall identify the ten highest campaign contributors in all campaign advertising; and
2. State elected officials shall wear stickers or badges displaying the names of their ten highest campaign contributors when participating in any public session of the Legislature or any Committee thereof.
These are obviously parodies meant to point out the absurdity of our political system and the corporate control over nearly everything in our lives. However, President Trump has decided to take this parody and turn it into sickening reality during this evening’s State of the Union address. Those making a contribution to his 2020 campaign of $35 or more will have their name displayed during the speech on the “Official Donald J. Trump for President livestream”: https://secure.donaldjtrump.com/sotu-2018:
UPDATE: An email sent by “Eric Trump” this afternoon makes it clear that it only takes a $1 donation to get your name on the roster that will scroll during the SOTU address.
There are likely to be thousands of gullible Trump supporters who are eager to be swindled by the Grifter-in-Chief, a man who, as LOLGOP reminds us regularly, spends his weekends at his properties collecting bribes. That means that there will likely be a constant scroll of names in illegible microfont, all representing rubes who are easy prey for the least moral president the USA has ever had.
But let’s not let this outrageous abuse of public office distract us from the REAL threats to our democracy this week. Republicans are giving cover to Trump so that he can continue to grift and to avoid being held accountable for his egregious obstruction of justice and, very likely, collusion with a foreign power. They are releasing a memo from the Republicans on the House intelligence committee (but not the Democratic rebuttal) that diminishes the FBI and the Justice Department and, more chillingly, will set the stage for firing special counsel Robert Mueller, ending his investigation into Trump’s connections to Russia and other criminal behavior. If this happens, the cover-up of any crimes committed by Donald Trump and people associated with him will be complete.
Also do not let Trump’s antics distract you from the fact that he has decided NOT to impose sanctions on Russia, the country that all of our intelligence agencies agree meddled with our 2016 presidential election. This is despite being compelled to precisely that by both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate who voted almost unanimously – 419-3 and 98-2 respectively – to do so last summer.
This was the vote on Russian Sanctions:
Today, Trump said he won't impose the sanctions despite a veto-proof majority.
Congratulations, America. Laws are meaningless now.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) January 30, 2018
Trump does outrageous things when the heat is being turned up on him or when he’s doing something even more outrageous that he doesn’t want you to pay attention to. Scrolling the names of his donors during the State of the Union is the chaff he’s throwing to keep us from focusing on his deconstruction of our American democracy.
Thankfully, Americans and their institutions are stronger, smarter, and better than that.