When I saw this clip on TMZ over the weekend, I felt a sense of disgust rising up in me. The following display is ugly, plain and simple. It's violent, it's unproductive, and -- as so often seems to be the case with such things -- it plays directly into Trump's political narrative. What might further ingratiate Trump to ordinary Americans in "flyover country"? Perhaps his running mate getting treated rudely by snotty liberal New Yorkers at 'Hamilton.' What might rally indignation and disgust among even many Trump-skeptical Americans? Perhaps some American celebrities ranting about our president-elect onstage during a concert -- or inviting people to destroy an piñata of our president-elect in a foreign country. The scene in Mexico City (:
In a video published by TMZ, lead singer Axl Rose can be seen encouraging fans to come on stage and express their view of the president-elect. “Let’s bring in some people, and give them a f-----g stick,” he said. “I want you to express yourselves, however you feel.” Several fans were then lifted on stage and given sticks to destroy the object while the crowd cheered.
Lamely, this idea isn't even original; here's a Trump effigy getting beaten with sticks at a YG concert in September (content warning):
Trump piñatas have been popular items all year, as it turns out -- but in case you were curious, yes, beatable Hillary Clinton dolls were also available for purchase. For what it's worth, while I find the images above to be unseemly, I'm not "outraged" by them. This conduct is constitutes controversial but protected free speech (in our country, at least), and does not cross over into incitement to violence. That said, if fans were urged to publicly flog 'Hillary Clinton' at -- let's say -- a country music concert down South after she'd won, the Civility Police would be out in force. And if it were 'Barack Obama' getting pummeled, hoo boy. We'd already be in the throes of a full-blown crisis, requiring a tedious "national conversation." But Trump is Trump (and, ahem, has an 'R' next to his name), and thus expressions of opposition and dissent, no matter how vaguely threatening or nasty, will once again assume the mantle of "the highest form of patriotism," as opposed to the lowest, very dangerous form of fill-in-the-blank-ism. I'll leave you with this, which strikes me as a big, juicy nothingburger. But again, if it were a Fox News crew chuckling about the possibility that Obama's plane had crashed, how much would you like to bet that it'd be a bigger story?