How Political Slogans Work -- “Make America Great Again”
by lex Wednesday, Jan 24 2018, 8:42am
Slogans are usually open-ended and inherently meaningless, however, they effectively play on the subjective imagination of those receptive to them. For instance, remember “light at the end of the tunnel,” used extensively to prolong the illegal, losing, Vietnam war, which resulted in an increasing death toll on both sides.
So let’s take it at face value -- what fuckin' “light” and what “tunnel”? Clearly there is no relationship with the slogan and WAR. It’s all metaphorical requiring of course the subject to invest value and meaning, which is and must conform to the subjects hopes, likes, aspirations and/or dislikes/aversions; it allows subjects to interpret fuzzy meaninglessness, therefore it plays immediately on a subject’s biases and outlook/worldview, perfect, as the creator of the slogan allows subjects to invest meaning while avoiding clear definitions, responsibility and interrogation -- it’s like a stark arrow sign on a desolate highway pointing to either a ‘pot of gold’ or ‘shithole’ -- the arrow is the slogan and the imaginary destination is where the interpreter/subject wants to go.
A few US administrations later, we had dubya Bush’s criminal mob bleating, “moving forward” incessantly, now that minimalist slogan is even more vague than light at the end of the tunnel as it’s entirely directionless, forward and backward are relative terms dependent on a specific ‘location’ or ‘point’ (of view) and if that point is not defined then again “moving forward” is intrinsically meaningless and requires even more investment of meaning (direction) by the ‘subject,’ which root word, readers would note, is the basis of the term “subjective” -- again, everyone is required to invest meaning and ‘direction’ in this case, which allows the speaker/writer/encoder freedom from accepting the RESPONSIBILITY of DEFINITION and therefore precise pointed questioning from others perhaps opposed to the encoder.
Now to Trump’s PR people that invented, “Make America Great Again,” readers should now be able to deal with this slogan themselves.
It implies directly that America is no longer great, its mythical greatness existed somewhere in the past. In other words, America today is FAILING, not a good look, is it? Even more so as the subtext or second layer discourse, enters the receiver, YOU, subliminally without conscious filtering or rational vetting?
So when was America ‘great’ and what was responsible for its greatness, which remains undefined, as then Trump would be required to define how he intends to achieve greatness, which is a comical prospect given he has no clue about international politics or much else. You see, “greatness” is also a binary term, its polar opposite is mediocre etc.
Now consider due to the negative, more powerful subliminal subtext how the world now views Trump’s America after one year of his presidency, very poorly indeed, not only has Trump failed to achieve any improvement in the standing of America among nations he has diminished its reputation, integrity, power and relevance, at remarkable speed. Such is the power of the subliminally injected subtext. Clearly, the slogan was poorly designed as it referred (unconsciously) directly to America as a failing, mediocre nation and much less than it is.
It now becomes apparent that this slogan was very poorly designed as the subtext or second layer discourse implies mediocrity and insignificance, which, as aware people worldwide have noticed, has become REAL-ISED. America has lost what remained of its mythic reputation and therefore a huge amount of influence on the world stage, and Trump’s team is directly responsible.
I would argue his failure to make America ‘great,’ which is a 'committed' (big mistake) slogan did not allow subjects to invest meaning; all good slogans must allow subjects to ‘warm’ themselves with their own illusions/delusions. However, this poorly designed slogan, which would be expected of a nincompoop leader’s team, is actually working against the best interests of the nation and Trump himself, as it highlights his numerous never-ending failures and the shocking decline of America’s reputation and influence worldwide.
Nevertheless, specialists in semiotics and textual theory are easily able to turn any cultural tide, it’s what they’re paid very handsomely for, notwithstanding the best do not fill the ranks of marketers, PR or advertising agencies. The best are recruited by shadowy government agencies to analyse and predict.
So people, have fun with the next batch of open-ended mindless slogans created for the mindless masses and deceptive leaders. Try on Obama’s, “yes we can,” for instance. The initial response would be, ‘yes we can, WHAT?’ Work the rest out for yourselves.
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