, 15 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
i'd like to offer that this is one way of reading it and one that I support. however, i would also like to argue for the the semiotic reading of the maga hat and its bearers.
in fact, it's a pretty straightforward interpellation--that is, the way we fit ourselves & others into familiar scripts--because, quite frankly, trump & the maga types want us to see their signs--hats, shirts, bumper stickers--& have a particular cognitive & affective response.
by cognitive & affective response, i mean to say the way it makes you think and feel. i'm pretty sure they keep yelling "build a wall," "lock her up," "america first," etc. to induce a particular response among opponents & especially minorities.
here, i am not just speaking of the obvious intertexts. let's look at the sign vehicle itself, particularly b/c my colleague is basically arguing that the maga hat is a "short-circuit sign"; that is one for which the signifier and the signfied are taken as equivalents.
quick semiotic lesson: a) signifier: the part that carries the meaning; b) signified: the meaning. for example, i earlier mentioned red octagon = stop sign. in fact, the stop sign is only iconic (taken has having resemblance) b/c it is taken as a short-circuit sign.
the octagon itself is arbitrary. film scholar james monaco argues that film/media produce short-circuit signs. as cultural studies scholars know, race relations in #america are produced in and through short circuit signs. this is a point richard majors makes in cool pose.
it's also the point of this award-winning advertisement:
the ad works by inducing, manipulating & revealing the short-circuiting of blackness with criminality, particularly among black men.
as an aside, i wrote the entry on #misandry in the routledge encyclopedia of men & masculinity. there is no such thing as misandry. however, there is a strong racialized misandry towards men of colour, jewish men, etc.
if the maga types are going to argue for building a wall, a muslim ban, etc., if they are going to yell "pocahantas," if they are going to report people to #ICEstapo for speaking spanish, then they shouldn't be surprised by the short-circuiting of the maga sign.
further, we should talk about metonymy and synecdoche, which are specialized metaphors. the former is the one standing for all; the latter is the part standing for all. #maga has become a metonymy for trumpism just as surely as "the hill" refers to canadian govt.
thus, #maga is very clearly metonymic for all things trump: racism, misogyny, greed, corruption, bigotry, lying, hypocritical evangelical, militant alt-right, etc.
synecdoches are specialized metonymies and not vice versa.
however, the hat itself is a synecdoche, so that the part stands for all. just as surely as an eagle feather stands for truth, honour, strength, courage, wisdom--everything that is positive and just--the #maga hat stands for hate.
more specifically, one might even argue that the smug, entitled, self-assuming smile--the one on that kid, the one on kushner, the one on kavanaugh--stands for precisely the same thing, just as surely as kleenex stands for all tissue with which i wiped my eye after seeing that.
to be clear, it is precisely the same process through which trump & the maga types spread their hate that they are being taken to task over the awful incident in DC saturday. the semiotic trail is clear. i don't even need to get to the intertextual relationships to make my point.
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