Thursday, January 19, 2017

Democracy, Fake News, and the Jon Gnarr Effect

I kinda notice on a daily basis various Germans with a wild perception of Donald Trump and disbelief on how things transpired in the US with the election.  I've spent a fair amount of time studying the US election, Trump versus Hillary, and the odd amount of mundpropaganda (filtered news) now being generated.

So I'm going to lay out the whole election, the Trump victory, the 2008 economic crisis that fell upon the world, and how this crazy Jon Gnarr of Iceland fits into the whole voting process and election of Trump.

For those who aren't aware....for roughly a decade prior to the 2008 economic crisis...Iceland was considered this fantastic place where you could throw money into a bank and it made profits.  Lots of Brits, Germans and Dutch had stashed money into Icelandic banks.  Bankers in Reykjavik were consumed with passion over their success and easy sales pitch.  No one ever said much that the investment tools being used were these bundled mortgage loan packages back in the US, and the failure rate was increasing year by year.

When the crap hit in 2008....banks in the US and Europe suffered greatly.  Banks in Iceland?  They went through what you could only describe as the worst possible imagined crisis.  From 2008 to 2011....for roughly three years....the country was in a crisis stage.  At one point, McDonalds even closed down in Reykjavik.

Politicians from Iceland....left and right players....tried to comfort the public but public confidence more or less went south.

So in 2010, with the local city election of Reykjavik coming up....something odd happened.  With roughly 119,000 people....there's roughly 56,000 votes in an election at stake.  You'd typically have three parties which would play out the normal game....the Independence Party (slightly-right-leaning), the Green Party (obviously left-leaning), and the Social Democrats (left-of-center).  At some point months prior to the summer election....this comedian from town by the name of Jon Gnarr met with some friends.....sipped some beer....and suggested the idea of forming a political party.

The crew at this meeting were friendly to this idea but asked what to call it.  Jon said it ought to be the best party, and they liked the name....so it became "The Best Party".

Yeah, Icelanders are that way, but let's not drift off the Democracy topic.

Jon used social media to carry the message out across Reykjavik.  I don't think a single cent was spent on real advertising.  The party theme?  It's a joke.  Politics, the banking crisis, the whole fake solution gimmick by the Icelandic Parliament, the news media, etc.  It's all a joke.

Jon even made up fake promises....saying at one point that his party would pursue free towels at the local public pools in Reykjavik.

So 29 May 2010 came.  The next morning....someone called Jon up early, and suggested he better sit down.  No one ever said much over polls, and Jon didn't really didn't expect more than a couple hundred votes.  The Best Party carried 20,666 votes....37-percent of the vote tally.

Yeah, the comedian won.  Why?  People were fed up with regular politics, and the fakeness of the news media, politicians, and they wanted to twist democracy a bit to make it different.

You'd think that Jon would just say no and slip away.  Well....no, Jon stayed on and became Mayor of Reykjavik.  A bold success?  No.  But Jon wasn't a failure at this.  He actually took it serious and didn't screw up.

So you zoom forward to 2016....the United States....the Republicans and Democrats, and a news media landscape that was behaving like some propaganda machine.  The public looked at 23 candidates from the two parties and just started laughing.

By spring of 2016, the Jon Gnarr effect was underway....Donald Trump was to become the Jon Gnarr of America.  Virtually every single Republican 'thug' or wannabe pretender tried to intimidate Trump and stall this upward trend.

Fake news?  You can play this anyway you want....Jon Gnarr used the internet and social media to take on the normal system.....Trump would do the same thing.

Democrats crossed the line and voted Trump.  Republicans from the top of the party chatted wildly about 'never-Trump', but it didn't matter.  The Gnarr-effect was in full swing.  The public was fed up with politics and the news media.

So in November it all came to a close.  The American Jon Gnarr-crowd won.  It was a message, more or less.

The anxiety moving across German politics and the news media today with fake news.  Sit back and think about it.  What happens if some Jon Gnarr-effect starts in Germany?  What if you had social media as a tool and didn't have to spend twenty-million Euro in some election?  What if you skipped the state-run/public TV device?  What if you had just three German university students making a six-minute video and mounted it on YouTube and had 500,000 Germans giving it a thumbs'up?

I sat the other night thinking about this.  Some German 'Billy-Jack-like' guy....talking about crime and threats in Germany, using direct programming to go after the 18-to-25 year old vote.

You need roughly 2.4 million German votes to get to the five-percent point, and thus enter the Bundestag.  A Jon Gnarr-type campaign, with Gnarr fake promises, and treating the big four political parties as children?  You might be be able to cross the four million vote line, out of 44.3-million.  That's be enough to get 8 percent of the vote and achieve 70-odd seats.

All this German fake news hype over a Jon Gnarr affect?  Yes.

We have reached the stage where democracy is not controlled by newspapers, TV moderators, or political parties themselves.  The Jon Gnarr effect has no control....unless you can rope them into some fake politics or fake news type fakeness.

Once you grasp that....the question is....are we reaching a stage where democracy is a joke, and the public is in on the joke?  This is where you'd pour a double shot of your more expensive booze, and sit in front of a window for an hour and contemplate this dilemma.

Democracy started out in Athens, Greece in 508BC.  It started out as a tribal method of picking leadership and suggesting that people could make wise decisions on their own.  No one says much about this first election in 508BC, or who the folks were who were running for "chief".  My guess is that these early Greek politicians promised free wine, free firewood, and free towels at the local local pool (the Gnarr effect).

People hyped up this whole idea of democracy being a fine idea, and for 2,500-odd years....it's done as much as it could.  The Gnarr effect?  It's kinda like a correction would work in a economic mess....to move things back to a better position.

Trump?  The Germans may sit and spend hours and hours worrying about Trump and how crazy he might be.  Some Reykjavik folks did the same with Jon Gnarr. After a year, they realized that Jon wasn't quiet as crazy as they originally imagined, and he did a decent job.   Could Germany survive some Billy-Jack-like character coming out of thin air and creating a fake political party?  It's hard to say.  They did have that little Austrian guy show up for a while in the 1930s and 1940s.  Oddly, one could say the Jon Gnarr affect was in full bloom with Germans negative with the normal political parties.

Life presents some odd curves....Trump and Jon Gnarr are such curves.

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