Trump did what he does best during a rally at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday night—he laid racist bait for his repugnant voter base, going after the latest cultural hot topic: The Academy Awards.
“And the winner is … a movie from South Korea! What the hell was that all about?” His crowd seems to boo and laugh like buttons on a soundboard. “We’ve got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of it, they give them best movie of the year?” Trump knows exactly what he’s doing—he later goes on to mention “classic” American films such as Gone With The Wind (you know, the movie that makes slavery seem like it wasn’t so bad) and Sunset Boulevard (the crowd is quiet on this one, we’d wager they haven’t seen it), attempting to solidify himself—and American culture as a whole—as inherently white, as if the only form of elevated entertainment can come from white Americans. Trump’s team probably failed to tell him Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard’s director, was a Jewish man born in Austria who fled after the Nazis’ rise.
He goes on to take a potshot at, of all people, Brad Pitt, surely bitter from his comments at the Oscars about John Bolton’s absence from the senatorial impeachment trial. It becomes clear that Trump is firing at the exact league of Hollywood culture that rejected him, a convenient and easy “us versus them” tactic to bolster the enmity his voter base feels for other sects of the American sphere.
NEON, the distributors responsible for bringing Parasite to American screens, weren’t having any of it. Retweeting a video of Trump during the rally, they replied, simply, “Understandable, he can’t read.” They are, of course, casting some shade on the uniquely American reluctance to engage with media not in their native tongue, the often-xenophobic resistance to reading subtitles during a film. Parasite is, after all, laden with dangerous ideas about the ruling body, though it’s doubtful that many of Trump’s voters are even aware of that.
Either way, we’ll continue to celebrate our 2019 Best Picture for years to come. As time passes, the truths in Parasite become more and more avoidable.