Now that he’s president-elect, of course, it’s safe to assume plenty more ink will be spilled condemning him — and teen fashion titles will lead the way.
Yes, you read that right. One of the fiercest critiques of Trump yet published comes to us courtesy of Teen Vogue, which unloads a blistering attack on the president-elect in its current issue, taking aim at his intermittent relationship with reality.
It includes his penchant for telling colossal falsehoods and expounding conspiracy theories as if they were proven facts, then asserting that anyone who questions his statements is simply biased against him.
In the thoughtful piece titled “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America,” Teen Vogue weekend editor Lauren Duca argues these tendencies are not merely quirky character flaws of an out-sized personality, but a deliberate strategy to neutralize his critics by portraying everything as a matter of opinion.
As the title indicates, Duca references the 1938 play (and 1944 movie) “Gas Light,” in which a husband undermines his wife’s sanity by hiding objects and turning down the gas lamps in the house, then convincing her it’s all in her mind.
Duca notes that ultimately gas-lighting makes it impossible to distinguish fact from fiction. The victim no longer trusts their own judgment or perceptions, adding this is precisely his aim: “He lied to us over and over again, then took all accusations of his falsehoods and spun them into evidence of bias. At the hands of Trump, facts have become interchangeable with opinions, blinding us into arguing amongst ourselves, as our very reality is called into question.”
She adds: “The gas-lighting part comes in when the fictions are disputed by the media, and Trump doubles down on his lies, before painting himself as a victim of unfair coverage, sometimes even threatening to revoke access.” The final goal is “to destabilize journalism as a check on the power of government.”
Duca encourages her readers to resist the trend: “Let's empower ourselves with information. Insist on fact-checking every Trump statement you read, every headline you share or even relay to a friend over coffee.”
Subscribing to Teen Vogue might be a good start.