Replace broadcasts of Fox & Friends with daily repeats of Fassbinder’s Fox and His Friends
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Numerous reports have suggested that US President Donald Trump derives most of his understanding of current world events from daily viewings of the Fox News program Fox & Friends, a vapid morning show in which a bunch of right-wing airheads sit around and disseminate Republican Party propaganda. It should alarm us that anyone is influenced by this show, let alone the President of the United States.
But be not alarmed: civic-minded Fox programmers have the opportunity to correct this state of affairs. They can do this by cancelling Fox & Friends and scheduling daily screenings of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1975 film Fox and His Friends in its place.
This is a good idea for several reasons:
1) TV guides need make no major changes to their listings; the addition of a simple ‘his’ is all that’s required.
2) Fox and His Friends is a tragic, darkly comedic film about an uneducated sideshow performer (nicknamed ‘Fox’) who wins the lottery, and is soon welcomed into – and viciously exploited by – a clique of bourgeois gay men. In many ways, it serves as a metaphor for the class inequalities of the West German society of the time, the struggle of the proletariat for dignity and subsistence, and relations between sex and power. Trump, who is often mocked for his lack of ‘class’ and not taken seriously by the old-money New York elites with whom he mingles, may see something of himself in Fox, another ‘bounder’ who is gullible and easily manipulated by those only seeking to further their own self-interest, much as the Republican Party does. As opposed to listening to a bunch of Republican hacks brainlessly defending the status quo at every opportunity, Trump may find that these insights give him a greater degree of empathy for the working-class people who are hurt by his tax policies, along with other outsiders who suffer in his America because of their differences. On that note, a brave Fox programmer might even be motivated to screen a double bill of Fox and His Friends with Fassbinder’s most-cherished film, the anti-racist parable Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.
3) Fox and His Friends is a critically-acclaimed film and widely seen as one of Fassbinder’s greatest works. If Trump likes it, he may yet become a dedicated cinephile and will have an interesting conversation starter for his next meeting with Angela Merkel (provided she’s actually seen it; if not, she must be sacked from her position as Chancellor immediately and sanctions must be imposed on Germany).
4) While it’s possible to appreciate a film on a single viewing, returning to it on a daily basis will give Trump a broader appreciation of its themes and may lead him to notice things he didn’t see the first time. After a while, he will be able to memorise every line and every scene, and further viewings will become a wholly meditative experience, leading the President to a state of pure transcendence.
5) Americans in general could use a bit more art cinema and a bit less in the way of dumb morning shows in their lives.
Rupert, you have the power to make a phone call and do your bit to make the world a better place. What are you waiting for?
Today: David is counting on you
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