Visual Culture has been a crucial element of the 2016 United States Election. From outfits, to propaganda, to television, each has been as influential as the next. Scroll to learn more.
In today's society with technology everywhere, no event goes unseen. This election was thoroughly documented on video, often with Trump's offside actions captured. Below are three videos that encapsulate the visual culture surrounding Trump and his journey from election to white house.
The first video is by far the most talked about video of the election. It is leaked audio of Trump horrendously disgracing women and being overly inappropriate. Tump played it off as "locker room talk" a line most thought was even more misogynist. Despite this disgusting act, Trump still became America's next president.
WARNING: inappropriate language and messages.
The second video is a skit from Saturday Night Live (SNL), a popular comedy TV show. The show's coverage of the election was vast and there was a lot of content to choose from, but this particular video is the aftermath of the leaked content from the first video. The SNL clip is a good representation of all the comedic spoofs created surrounding the election, and the importance they can play in swaying viewers opinions.
The final video is a short clip from a more recent news conference in which Trump looses his cool and gets into a shouting match with a reporter. This is just one of many conferences in which Trump is badly behaved. This video is a representation of all the inappropriate acts Trump has committed on camera and therefore in front of the public, from suggesting Obama was not American, to calling Buzzfeed a "failing piece of garbage."
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Trump on Camera
Trump's TIMES Cover
Donald Trump was voted in 2016 for Time Magazine's “Person of the Year”. An article by Jake Romn for Forward states it is crucial to stress that Time does not pick the best person, but the most influential, whether good or bad influence. He draws comparisons to Joseph Stalin, and Hitler, as they were both the “Person of the Year” in their time. From the placement of his arm draped over the chair, to the chair its self, so much thought that goes into designing a photograph for the cover of such a prestigious magazine.
It looks prestigious at first, yet on further inspection the chair is worn and slightly tattered. This could be a comparison to Trump’s political actions, which are already breaking down as well.
One of the most telling commentaries about how the editing staff feel about Trump was the placement of the “M” in “TIME” across the cover. The word is written in red, and perfectly positioned behind Trumps head so that the two peaks can be read as devil horns to the eye of an analyst.
The cover was an important visual for all Americans at the end of 2016.
The Role of Fashion
Baggy Blue Suits
While visual culture may seem to focus on photographs and other more published works, the appearance of the candidates themselves is also a strong part of their visual culture. And although it is often overlooked, fashion is a universal language that the voters can easily understand. While Clinton liked to wear tailored suits in bright colours that looked professional yet gave voters hope in an upbeat nature. Trump on the other hand, is said to always wear baggy suits, wide ties (seen as less professional), his thin hair combed over, and always an “orange” tan. Trump’s visual appearance is also very important to his campaign, as he seems more approachable, and more of an everyday guy, trying to gain the support of the working class. As for the hair and the tan, Trump seems to know it isn't the traditional look, but it’s his look, and is what he is known for, so it would be like rebranding if he changed it.
Political Cartoons are a very important part of visual culture as they reach large audiences through magazines, newspapers and websites. Below are a few examples that target Trump. Click either side to scroll through.
Trump's Super(bowl) Impact
Politics, mainly surrounding Donald Trump's views on immigration, played a huge role in this years Superbowl. Surprisingly, the impact didn't come from reporters or performers, but from the advertisements that were aired. The Superbowl is known for having extravagant advertisements, but there were two this year that were set apart.
The first was a 90 second commercial about a mexican mother and daughter immigrating to America. The commercial was turned down at first by Fox news for being too politically controversial. The company (84 Lumber) decided instead to air the first half, and put the link to their website at the end of the commercial for those who wanted to see the conclusion. The ad was so unexpectedly powerful that their website crashed, from the sheer mass of viewers who wanted to see the ending. Their story about perseverance and the positivity of immigration was immediatly jumped on by the press. Many organizations were tweeting thankyous to them. 84 Lumber's reply was "We will always support the American Dream." The attached video is the full version from their website. The version that aired cut off before they reached the wall.
The second controversial advertisement was for Budweiser, one of the most well known beer companies. Budweiser nailed their ad this year, chronicling the story of the company’s originator’s immigration to America to start his business. The story of his somewhat unwelcome and difficult immigration was a clear commentary on what positivity immigrants can bring to America. Having one of the biggest and most successful American companies target their annual multi-million dollar advertisement on this issue is huge.
Debuting these commercials at the Super Bowl, the most popular TV program of the year, was a really important event, as they would have been seen by millions of Americans. At a time politically when Trump’s immigrations laws are under extreme scrutiny, these advertisements were just what was needed to remind Americans why immigration is great. These commericals are a great example of how Trump has influenced visual culture.
Electoral Propaganda: Handy, Bruce. "The Donald Trump-Mike Pence Logo, Explained." The Hive. Vanity Fair, 16 July 2016. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
"Make America Great Again." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 Mar. 2017. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
Orr, Dr. Raymond. "Virtual reality bites back." Pursuit. The University of Melbourne, 05 Mar. 2017. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
Trump on Camera: Baragona, Justin. "‘You Are Fake News!’: Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta Get Into Shouting Match at Presser." Mediaite. Mediaite, 11 Jan. 2017. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
CNN. Donald Trump shuts down CNN reporter: "You're fake news" . YouTube, 11 Jan. 2017. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
Seattlerock. Trump Gets Caught Saying "Grab Her by the Pussy". YouTube, 07 Oct. 2016. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
SNL. Grab That P*ssy' Alec Baldwin ROASTS Donald Trump On SNL. YouTube, 09 Oct. 2016. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
Trump's TIME Cover: Romm, Jake. "Why Time's Trump Cover Is a Subversive Work of Political Art." The Forward. N.p., 08 Dec. 2016. Web. 20 Feb.2017.
The Power of Fashion: Banks, Libby. "What Clinton and Trump's Clothes Tell Us About Them." BBC News. 26 Sept. 2016. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
Political Cartoons: "Trump's Era: A Mystery of Truth." Tacos and Politics. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
Trump's Super(bowl) Impact: Godoy, Maria. "Budweiser's Super Bowl Ad And The Great Debate Over What It Means To Be An American." NPR. NPR, 03 Feb. 2017. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
Minutaglio, Rose. "84 Lumber CEO Says Controversial Super Bowl Ad Was Not Pro-Immigration – and Trump’s Wall ‘Represents Security’." PEOPLE.com. Time Inc, 06 Feb. 2017. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.
General Extra Information: Schonauer, David. "Pro Photo Daily » The Visual Culture: President Trump, Month 1." AI-AP | Pro Photo Daily » The Visual Culture: President Trump, Month 1. N.p., 23 Feb. 2017. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.