Celebrity apologies are all the rage. Such is the power of Twitter, that stars without round-the-clock PR surveillance and teams of media advisors will often find themselves in hot water. This week, it’s pop-country singer Shania Twain who has fallen foul of the perpetually offended. Why? Twain had the audacity to talk about supporting Trump in an interview with the Guardian. “I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest”, she said. “Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”, she continued.
For this, she was denounced on Twitter. Everyone and their mother with #TheResistance in their Twitter bios made sure they got a chance to join in the Shania-shaming. ‘White supremacy’s a helluva drug. 52 per cent of white women went for Trump’, one New York Times writer tweeted. ‘Only racists (Trump supporters) will be buying her new music from now on’, said another. ‘Tomorrow night she’ll be singing “Still the One” at the KKK cross burning.’
Twain can’t vote in the US (she’s Canadian) and Trump is already President of the United States. So, it’s hard to get that excited by what she said. If anything, Twain’s comment displayed a more astute understanding of the political motives of Trump supporters than most of the American commentariat has managed to come up with since he was elected. She’s right – one of Trump’s strengths was that he made himself out to be the guy who was going to talk straight. In comparison to Hillary Clinton, a walking embodiment of the American political establishment, Trump supporters believed that he was anti ‘bullshit’, as Twain describes.
Twain’s Twitter storm might not impress you much (sorry), but what it does show is how degraded political debate has become among many American liberals. After the backlash to her interview, she tweeted a long statement, apologising ‘to anybody I have offended’. The fact that even hypothetically showing support for an elected US President, no matter how controversial, would be deemed offensive is crazy. American politics is turning into a popularity contest. Just mentioning Trump’s name can get you ousted from polite society.
Many people would disagree with Twain’s assessment of Trump – myself included. He isn’t honest (mainly relying on slander and bluster) and he has yet to follow through with a single one of the many promises he made during his election campaign. But the reason why so many still support The Donald is precisely because of what happened to Twain this weekend. The sneering response to anyone who declares support for Trump proves the existence of the elite prejudice that he railed against throughout his campaign. The more America’s liberal elite hurls abuse at Trump voters, the more they dig their heels in.
The result of all this Twitter spatting is a fairly boring spectacle with no end in sight. There was huge celebration online when it was rumoured that chat-show host Oprah Winfrey might run for president in 2020. The same happened when rapper Kanye West declared his intention to run (until he bleached his hair and took some snaps with Trump). Liberal America seems to be investing all its hope for political change in a new, more politically-correct, celebrity beating Trump. How inspiring.
Perhaps it’s time to admit that no one really cares what political opinions celebrities hold. Let’s not forget that, up until he ran for presidency, there were plenty of stars who were big fans of Trump and his money. If Twain were interested in anything other than sales, she would have stuck by her original comment and not made a grovelling apology after facing a few negative reactions from Twitter nuts.