The article is by James Parker, who regularly writes about music, so the Sex Pistols talk is more than just shallow goofiness. Parker begins by talking about the impression Stravinsky’s "Sacre du Printemps" made in Paris in 1913, then shifts to 1976, when The Sex Pistols went on British daytime TV live:
The beery drawl of Pistols guitarist Steve Jones filters louchely from the TV set: “You dirty fucker,” he says to the host, Bill Grundy. Then he reconsiders: “What a fucking rotter.”...Wait. You don't need to rely on Parker's literary stylings — louchely, whatever — to visualize the occasion. It's on YouTube:
But what's Parker's point here? Is Donald Trump like The Sex Pistols because he goes on TV and talks to his interviewers in a way they're not used to and that busts up their game? Well, sort of. Parker says he's that and simultaneously the guy watching at home getting pissed off at the Pistols, because he's using a "transgressive, volatile, carnivalesque" style with respect to conservative things like "chaos in our communities" and "barbarians at the border."
It’s as if the Sex Pistols were singing about law and order instead of anarchy, as if their chart-busting (banned) single, “God Save the Queen,” were not a foamingly sarcastic diatribe but a sincere pledge of fealty to the monarch. Electrifying!An amusing paradox, but Parker fails to acknowledge that it's a paradox made possible by the stodgy, humorless repression of the liberal side of American political culture. Parker continues with his good if purplish descriptions: Trump has a "big marmalade face and that dainty mobster thing he does with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand." Mobster? Or was that supposed to be "lobster"? Who knows? I know what he means about that hand gesture. (And did you know that Trump said his hand gestures count as a form of exercise?)
Parker says (among many other things): "Trump’s speaking style is from the future, from a time to come when human consciousness has broken down into little floating atavistic splinters of subjectivity and superstition and jokes that aren’t really jokes." Of course, Parker loathes Trump, but that reminded me of something I said about Trump as an exemplar of a new way of speaking:
I'm seeing something more positive about the speaking style of the future (and not just because I do cruel neutrality but because I think I'm speaking in the style of the future too).