Can we talk about the My Pillow guy? Okay. Thanks. Now hear me out: Can we stop talking about the My Pillow guy?
The trend in quasi-journalistic circles of centering the camera on whichever lunatic with an audience is raving the loudest is no small piece of the puzzle that presented us with Donald Trump in 2015.
I’m not going to spend paragraphs building up the comparison, because the My Pillow guy is not Donald Trump. He doesn’t command the same audience, he doesn’t have the same appeal. He has not been and will not be President.
But the initial comparison is apt, because while the mainstream media sources that made Trump their darling oddball gadfly in 2015 and 2016 have since distanced themselves from covering his myriad nonsensical rallies and off-the-cuff statements to anyone in earshot, they haven’t rid themselves of their lust to center the spotlight on the craziest man in the room.
The My Pillow guy doesn’t make good TV. He says crazy shit like Donald Trump, but while Trump was busy amassing an army with lunatics at the core but “logical” conservatives and nationalists at the flanks, the My Pillow guy’s forces all fit snugly in one basket.
Focusing any time on this guy suits just two audiences: his motley crew of few and far between weirdos who research news and politics about as carefully as they research pillows, and liberals accustomed to the fast-fire, “look at this idiot” news cycle of the Trump Administration and still salivating for more.
Q Anon followers will find their hosts whether or not they’re on TV. The movement was built on the internet. But the longer liberals commit themselves to this idea that the American right is represented by this easily brushed-aside noob, the less ready they’ll be for real challenges in 2022 and 2024. During the Trump years, the game changed every day. Assuming the existing rules will be in play in 2024 is silly and irresponsible.
I realize I’m probably preaching to a sermon of exactly zero people. I don’t think anyone under the age of 35 gives a shit about stories like these, and that’s for the best. The core audience seems to be mainline, older liberals who have made it their quest to draw out the Trump downfall as long as they can. But that doesn’t serve anyone.
Continuing the practice of centering the limelight on whatever conspiracy-addled goofball has the volume on their microphone set loudest is dangerous for those prone to believe them without evidence. It also does little to hone the edge for those interested in fighting this growing conspiracy mindset. The wisest figures of the Trumpian right are not in the trenches with the Q Anon loyalists. They don’t train in the My Pillow dojo. If we keep expecting them to, we’re leading ourselves to repeat disappointment in 2024.