USA Social Mood: Civil War

USA Today has the best Socionomic headline to date in 2016.

USA Today: Summer's civil war: How did pop culture get so negative?
The biggest civil war of summer was supposed to be Captain America and Iron Man facing off in a superhero popcorn movie. But in the past few months, battle lines have been drawn all over pop culture, with tempers flaring, cooler heads not prevailing and hate spewing everywhere, mostly on the Internet.

There was DC vs. Marvel as fanboys and fangirls hotly debated comic-book franchises. Old-school Ghostbusters fans vs. the new reboot’s female stars. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian vs. Taylor Swift in a he said/she said war involving lyrics and Snapchat videos. Those who were excited to see Suicide Squad vs. the critics who reviled it, with RottenTomatoes.com becoming ground zero for trench warfare.

And then there's the presidential race, where two weeks of conventions featured political parties calling each other out and cable news coverage showcased surrogates of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sniping at one another 24/7.
Going a little deeper, Suicide Squad is also a movie with comic book villains as the heroes. It had the biggest August opening of all-time.
“What I see right now is the whole world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket, and that’s creating a lot of tension and anger,” says Devin Faraci, editor in chief of film site Birth.Movies.Death. “That stuff leaks out into every possible direction. We’re in that weird position where everything sort of seems terrible and so as a result, people become negative and combative.”
Exactly backwards. People are negative and combative, and it leaks into pop culture. It hasn't leaked into the financial market because the central bankers have destroyed the markets. The media have also turned into regime guards, although even they cannot help but fan the flames when it comes to racial incidents, specifically police shootings. Still, a significant segment of the country has created its own virtual reality where stock prices go up and up and the public accepts the legitimacy of government. Meanwhile on the ground, the public considers the establishment so illegitimate, it is willing to throw out the system to be rid of them.
According to Ryan, the rhetoric is so amped up right now, it trickles down into everything — even fans’ favorite comic-book characters on the big screen.

“DC vs. Marvel has somehow become an Oakland Raiders/Denver Broncos game, even though these movies don't really compete head to head at the same time,” Ryan says. “But people cheer for them like they cheer for their favorite team.”

Even Suicide Squad director David Ayer got caught up in the rivalry: After a fan shouted “(Expletive) Marvel!” at the movie's world premiere last week, Ayer repeated the sentiment onstage, though he tweeted a mea culpa soon afterward: "Not cool. Respect for my brother filmmakers."

It’s a type of tribalism — where some root for Captain America: Civil War, others for Batman v Superman — that disturbs Faraci, a longtime aficionado of both comic companies.
This is the training run for a real civil war if social mood doesn't reverse. In order to function, the government must have a unified vision. Currently it does not. Either it comes together with a new generational majority, or one side must conquer the other.

Fernandez: It's Not the Bull, It's the China Shop
The really shocking thing about 2016 is that the public was far more radicalized than the pundits and pollsters -- and politicians -- anticipated. This mental state accounts for the curious reaction of Trump's supporters to his gaffes. They ignore them and double down on their assertions. In other words they are acting just like left-wing publics have acted for years.

The system of political discourse was only stable for as long as it observed the unwritten rule that only one side was allowed to transgress while the other simply endured it. The Dems played the Globetrotters and the GOP the Washington Generals. You could book as many elections -- pardon me, tournaments -- in venues as long as you knew this relationship held.

What's destabilizing the system is that a section of the public -- Trump included -- now dare to say things that as are outrageous as Obama's claim that he never paid ransom to Iran; or Hillary's assertion that her email server never held classified information.

You lie, I Iie. What difference at this point does it make? Eh Hillary? Suddenly the men on the court are actually playing basketball. Maybe not Trump, but Trump's supporters. The left is being paid back in its own, admittedly counterfeit, coinage and "this means war." Indeed, war can be defined as the state where both sides play by the same rules. The tacit custom for example, is that only one side can send suicide bombers to Paris. The other side can't return the favor. The system is stable as long as the attacks are one way. When Paris starts sending suicide bombers to Saudi Arabia, you'll know the world is at war. Until then it is merely business as usual. It's merely pretend.
Leaving aside the long-term politics, the mood of the country is negative and that is typically associated with bear market bottoms. The financial markets have a high risk of crash as long as the mood stays negative and financial asset prices remain high.

The U.S. does not have a monopoly on negative mood either. Take these headlines from the Olympics:

BBC: China demands apology for Australian swimming 'drug cheat' slur
Before the race, Horton had accused Yang of deliberately splashing him in a training session, saying: "I ignored him, I don't have time or respect for drug cheats."

In an interview after his win he defended his comments, saying: "I used the words drug cheat because he tested positive.

"I just have a problem with athletes who have tested positive and are still competing."
Stuff:Former Kiwi swimmer Moss Burmester blasts Sun Yang as a 'cheat' and 'A hole'

Guardian: US Olympic medal hope Lilly King wags finger at 'drug cheat' Yuliya Efimova
The controversial Efimova, who was only cleared to compete in Rio on Saturday after winning her appeal against a doping ban, won the first semi-final and wagged her finger afterwards, signalling “No1”. King, watching on TV while preparing for the semi-final, mockingly waved her finger back.

King went on to win her race in a quicker time than Efimova’s, and when asked about the gesture by NBC, King, 19, said: “You wave your finger ‘No1’ and you’ve been caught drug cheating … I’m not a fan”.

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