UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Leading up to the 2016 US. presidential election, neither newsmakers nor viewers could look away from the outrageous real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump. In fact, six months before election day, he had already received roughly $2 billion worth of free air time — about 23 times what U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders got. It’s only now — nearly one year after becoming the U.S. president — that Trump Fatigue has set in.

Nevertheless, it’s important to keep paying attention to American politics however painful. That’s the call from Observer Editor-Publisher David Wilson in this month’s edition of the magazine. (The same issue features David MacFarlane’s piece about Winston Country, Ala., a region that nearly voted unanimously for Trump.)

Over the past year, artists have risen to the challenge, helping to keep attention focussed on America’s bizarre, dangerous and — in some quarters — much-loved president. Granted, much of their critical work isn’t all that sophisticated. They elect to poke fun at Trump’s physical appearance rather than addressing his outrageous policies or highlighting the high costs of his decisions.

Still, there are highlights.

Here are five artists who are keeping Trump in the spotlight.


1. Randy Rainbow

Who he is: Comedian and YouTube star based in New York City

What he did: Rainbow has produced a series of musical videos, in which he sings Trump-inspired songs set to old Broadway tunes. “How do you solve a problem like Korea,” a take on the Sound of Music classic, has about half a million YouTube views.

Artistic achievement:
At his best, Rainbow is extremely clever and funny. At his worst, he stoops to simplistic playground bullying. In “Desperate Cheeto,” he primarily points out that Trump looks funny. 

2. Jon McNoughton

Who he is: Utah-based painter who specializes in Christian and patriotic works

What he did: In August, McNoughton released “You are not Forgotten,” an image of a gathering of veterans, police, workers and soldiers outside of the White House. In it, Trump is in the foreground, crushing the head of a snake under his foot, as he watches a young farm couple water a plant in the cracked earth. The painting is an answer to another he produced about Trump (“The Forgotten Man”), which shows former U.S. President Barack Obama crushing the American Constitution under his foot.

Artistic Achievement: McNoughton’s works are obviously pro-Trump. Unlike the book Hillbilly Elegy, which seeks to explain Trump’s appeal to urban people who can’t fathom him, McNoughton’s art speaks plainly. For an outsider looking in, these are helpful images.

3. Pink

Who she is: American pop singer, songwriter and animal rights activist

What she did: In 2006, she released a song called, “Dear Mr. President,” a personal indictment of the presidents’ distance from the real challenges of America. “What do you feel when you see/all the homeless on the street? Who do you pray for at night / before you go to sleep? What do you feel when you look in the mirror? Are you proud?” In October, four current Broadway stars re-released their cover of the song, this time aiming at Trump.

Artistic achievement: The song is both thoughtful and melodic – two attributes that are largely missing from today’s protest music as opposed to that of the 1960s and 1970s. It’s a catchy rallying cry for dissent.

4. Snoop Dogg

Who he is: American rapper and music producer

What he did: In October, Snoop Dogg released the album Make America Crip Again (“Crip” is a reference to a particular street gang member) as an answer to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. On the cover, the artist is pictured standing over Trump’s dead body. The album’s title track is an angry screed that cites Trump’s racism: the chorus repeats, “Ay young world, the world is yours,” an ultimately hopeful ideal.”

Artistic achievement: Like Eminem’s rap at the BET awards in October, Make America Crip Again does an unparalleled job of distilling rage while articulating some of the origins of the anger toward Trump. 

5. Michael Moore

Who he is: Filmmaker and writer

What he did: This summer, Moore’s one-man stage play The Terms of My Surrender hit Broadway for a limited 12-week run. Moore, who spent his childhood in Flint, Mich., predicted Trump’s 2016 presidential victory at a time when the progressive left couldn’t imagine that possibility. The play is a forum for him to summarize the state of the union and Trump’s significance.

Artistic Achievement: Moore, a constant provocateur, is at his best when he can tell stories simply. His play joins two others skewering Trump from the stage: New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park’s Trump-themed Julius Caesar, and a new adaptation of 1984


Author's photo
Pieta Woolley is a writer in Powell River, B.C.
October 2017

Five reasons why Halloween has become North America's biggest spiritual celebration

By Pieta Woolley

October 2017

Five celebrity-led movements that are changing the way stars do activism

By Pieta Woolley

September 2017

Five animated shows that reveal the future of men

By Pieta Woolley

September 2017

Five wildfires that should alarm us

By Pieta Woolley

July 2017

Travelling this summer? Learn how to say a First Nations ‘hello’ in these five vacation hot spots

By Pieta Woolley

June 2017

Five highly questionable marketing tips for churches hoping to attract spiritual-but-not-religious types

By Pieta Woolley

June 2017

Five kinds of environmentalists: which one are you?

By Pieta Woolley

May 2017

Five countries that can school us on tense national holidays

By Pieta Woolley

May 2017

Three times America led the world in famine relief — and twice it did not

By Pieta Woolley

April 2017

Five holy craft beers for our turbulent times

By Pieta Woolley

April 2017

Five predictions for your grandchildren

By Pieta Woolley

March 2017

Five modern distractions that are leading us to our doom

By Pieta Woolley

March 2017

Five hipster teachings for a fresh Lenten practice

By Pieta Woolley

February 2017

Five governments that have imposed contracts on their workers

By Pieta Woolley

February 2017

Five intergalactic ambitions humans probably shouldn’t be trusted with

By Pieta Woolley

January 2017

The five kinds of small towns that want you to abandon your city

By Pieta Woolley

January 2017

Five foods you’d think we could produce enough of in Canada

By Pieta Woolley

December 2016

Five conundrums about the coming pipeline war

By Pieta Woolley

November 2016

Five scientific reasons to let Christmas 2016 jingle all the way

By Pieta Woolley

November 2016

Five awkward ways the 2016 U.S. election was not like 'Les Miserables'

By Pieta Woolley

October 2016

Five reasons why we don’t do family road trips anymore

By Pieta Woolley

October 2016

Five contentious ways Canada could be doing more for Syria

By Pieta Woolley

September 2016

Five radically pro-LGBT worshipping communities aligned with conservative faiths

By Pieta Woolley

September 2016

Five things women better not to wear, or else

By Pieta Woolley

August 2016

Five reasons to fear that the death penalty isn’t, well, dead

By Pieta Woolley

August 2016

Five times the Olympics has fulfilled its ‘peace and dignity’ potential

By Pieta Woolley

July 2016

Five happy 'products' to buoy you up during those dark times

By Pieta Woolley

June 2016

Ten ways Canada can create its own Trump and Brexit phenomena

By Pieta Woolley

June 2016

Five outrageously expensive summer camps that will boggle your inner socialist

By Pieta Woolley

Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

Outrage is the new normal

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Profiles

October 2017

Fall from grace

by Justin Dallaire

Don Hume was a United Church minister nearing retirement. Then he tried crack cocaine.

Faith

September 2017

Yearning

by Jane Dawson

Restless longing is at the core of the human condition, urging us onward through life. What happens when it veers off course?

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Promotional Image