Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan: Let's save some empathy for humans

Perhaps we’re beyond being shocked as Trumpism rides high.
If racism — as expressed by Donald Trump and Brexit — is legitimised, this affects many of us. Photo / AP
If racism — as expressed by Donald Trump and Brexit — is legitimised, this affects many of us. Photo / AP

The left make all the good art, but it doesn't seem to have made us better people.

I suppose we all see ourselves as the goodie.

That makes sense, right?

But I can't bring myself to believe it, when I think about Trump supporters. As of yesterday, that's maybe half the American population. Which is lots. And a significant amount of the world population too.

What do Trump supporters think when they go to Harry Potter films? Do they cheer for Draco Malfoy?

Times are confusing. Who'd have thought that Kim Dotcom would suddenly have reason to cheer for the FBI?

Yet here we are. The FBI has smeared Hillary Clinton, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Julian Assange, who talked of opening up Governments, supports Trump, who won't even release his tax returns.

Trump praises Putin, and flag-waving good ol' boy patriots, who probably watch Top Gun every year, raise their arms in salute.

And we - the people who read - we're beyond being shocked. Are we numb, or just all out of dismay? There's only so much head-shaking we can do before we give ourselves concussion.

There's literally nothing Trump can do, say, or be charged with which make a dent in his popularity.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, called Trump's statements about the Mexican-American judge in charge of the Trump University fraud case "textbook racism". This didn't prevent Ryan voting for Trump. Remember when racism was a bad word?

Words have lost their meaning, hopelessly devalued, like currency in Zimbabwe.

People can call him a misogynist. Water off a duck's back. Entire states remain red, as if Texas doesn't contain any women. Or Mexican-Americans. Or African-Americans. Or Muslims.

Words like xenophobia, demagogue, ignorant, fascist, anti-Semitism - even Nazi, even KKK - they don't make a dent. Too many syllables?

Racism, fortunately, is still a label his supporters deny. The picture of the white woman holding up the Blacks for Trump sign shows they want to be seen as inclusive. White supremacists have rebranded as white nationalists. Or alt-right, which sounds like a keyboard short-cut.

But make no mistake, they are white supremacists. This is why they prefer Vladimir Putin to Barack Obama. This is why the Supreme Court has no ninth judge.

If Hillary Clinton pulls this one out, I hope she appoints 25-year-old justices to the Supreme Court. I hope the Republican Party gets relegated to fringe third party status.

But that's not likely.

Every shameful impulse now has legitimacy. The crowds at the rallies are social proof. Trump's sentences don't have to make sense. His fans just cheer every time he pauses, the length of their attention span.

America's baggage remains. A country built on the suffering of slaves, whose founding document was written by slave-owners, still has a massive blind spot. It was okay for Morgan Freeman to play a black President in movies, but once a real black President showed up, they lost their mind.

The Republicans nominated the birther-in-chief.

It's not even my country, but the implications are global. And insidious. If racism - as expressed in Brexit, and Trumpism - is legitimised, then selfishly, this affects me.

How could the whole world celebrate people like Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, and now be on the verge of President Trump?

TV made Trump. But despite that, America makes great TV.

Westworld is about a theme park, where humans go and unleash their appetites for violence and sex, by attacking realistic AI robots. The twist, however, is that the robots are gaining consciousness, so they develop the ability to suffer.

I confess when this series began, I couldn't really care about it. "You hurt my robot's feelings" seems like the height of first-world problems. Diddums. Your robot is sadface.

We seem to be able to find empathy for appliances, but none for the real humans being downtrodden on our planet?

If your smart toaster can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

In Westworld, some of the robots - the sexy female robots - are used for sex. And we're supposed to worry about that, as if you can rape an appliance.

Well, we already have devices for sex, battery-powered ones, and nobody is really asking these devices if they're into it. I'd say there's lots of vibrating devices who just lie back and think of Eveready, never even aspiring to be romanced.

Next we'll be asking if chairs and sofas mind being sat on. Next we'll be worrying about toilets' rights. If only we could turn some of this empathy to our fellow humans.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan's books of humour include ‘America on 5 Bullets a Day’ and ‘An Asian at my Table’. Before comedy, he graduated with honours in law and his legal research was published in the New Zealand Law Journal. His TV work includes a documentary in which he trained to be a casino croupier. He once held his breath for 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Visit RaybonKan.com

Read more by Raybon Kan

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 25 Feb 2017 13:17:57 Processing Time: 552ms