Tracy Flick and Guitars

I’ve been asserting for the last little while that the media has been framing Hilary Clinton as Tracy Flick, the overambitious, amoral, overachieving object of the film Election. So i watched the film again yesterday with B just to representation-check myself and while there is much that seems resonant of the current USA election cycle and the contest of hateful tropes invoked by media reportage, I could see I may have been doing a doing a disservice to Hilary with this analogy. Tracy is not an adult in this film, however much her life is defined by ambition and political calculation, and even notwithstanding her own narrational self-assessment. Hilary on the other hand, is the adult in the room. And Hilary’s is a record of public service, not self-servingness, dating back her entire career. In the film, it is clear that the dominant gaze frames Tracy as object of Mr McAllister’s gaze — she is, by his lights, a girl whose arrogance needs to be brought down, a manipulator who has gotten away with it for too long. Herein is the resonance with dominant reportage on the current election. While there is no Trump figure, exactly, in Election, there is clearly a Tracy figuration in the spectacle of the election. But watching again, a number of details have struck me that I hadn’t recalled. Tracey as the object of her mother’s love, possibly overambitious for her daughter, but also sympathetically portrayed. Tracy as the student whom the football hero-cum electoral competition Paul Metzler thinks is nice (though as audience we are supposed to know better and this is supposed to signify his naive sweetness by comparison). Tracy as the student who notwithstanding that everyone who knows her entirely understands her ambition, actually won the election because one more than half the students who voted, voted for her. Tracy as the student the other students basically liked, even if they weren’t her friends. So Hilary is not Tracy Flick. But Election clearly presages their mutual figurations in the current public imaginary.

Off topic. I just ordered United Breaks Guitars, the Book off Amazon. Even as G is stuck in Newark, as his luggage was sent to Houston without him. Every year, United seems to separate him from his baggage. So as compensation, because it was a mechanical failure that grounded his second flight, they put him in a hotel and gave him a $10 voucher for food. As it is early afternoon there and he can’t fly again till tomorrow morning, I’m wondering how they expect him to be able purchase at least two meals worth of food for that, at the airport hotel no less, where captive buyers must pay a tariff on everything. So I re-sent him the Youtube songs (there are three) and that way found out that there is now a book (introduced by a song too). I’m delighted. The book is about social media and social movement – so it fits my project with D.E.. Serendipity. Watch tv and make it your life’s work. What I did.

correction: Just spoke to G and it turns out that United gave him two vouchers for $10, one for dinner (which almost covered the cost of a pasta dish from somewhere) and the other for breakfast, which might get him most of a coffee and porridge, but might not. He bought a yogurt at Newark yesterday for a snack and it cost £6. Anyway, apologies to United for the misrepresentation. And I heard that G’s bag is having a very nice time in Houston.

correction again: the yogurt was $6 not £6. A typo. Still pretty hefty a price for a single portion. And G told me that the morning voucher bought him a coffee, oatmeal and walnut bread which is quite a reasonable breakfast – so thanks starbucks and apologies again, United.

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