I have just been diagnosed with an illness, TFS. It is injurious to long-term health and perhaps too early to say whether it is fatal.

TFS stand for Trump Fatigue Syndrome. It is caused by overexposure to President Donald Trump. Its symptoms include a depressing sense of watching the same drama over and over again. And just like being stuck in a movie theater watching a badly scripted and poorly produced B movie, it begins with feelings of exhaustion then panic with the realization that it may never end.

All diseases have vectors; the carriers of this disease are the mass media of both left and right political persuasion. They cover Trump endlessly became it generates more viewers and listeners. The presentations are suitably tailored to appeal to their respective audiences. Trump the hero of the forgotten Americans on Fox News. Trump the political incompetent on CNN. Trump generates money for the networks whatever their position. He makes news and attracts viewers through constant controversies. The President provides all the tweets, images, talking points, and general mayhem: all the media has to do is to roll the camera and queue the talking head panels. For the mass media Trump is the equivalent of easy money; for the audience the equivalent of empty sugar calories that produce a buzz but not much substance. In the Age of Trump Fascination there’s no need to send reporters on overseas missions, or do deep reporting about what ails the Republic and its peoples. The cheap and easy coverage of Trump allows us to imagine that we are engaged in political debate or critical analysis while in reality we are just party to a flim flam show masquerading as the US presidency.

All diseases have symptoms. For those on the left there is a rising sense of exasperation about what the President does and says. Outrage is continually aroused leading to exhaustion. For those more to the right there is a feeling of resentment against the antipathy to their President. Again, outrage is continually aroused leading to exhaustion.

Most diseases have cures. We should begin our diagnosis with the realization that we no longer inhabit a Republic of political debate but a squalid banality of neo-reality television. This fever of constant outrage will have to be purged or it may kill us all.

Featured image courtesy of Youtube.

About The Author

John Rennie Short

John Rennie Short is Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland (UMBC). Before coming to UMBC in 2002 he was a Professor in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. From 1978 to 1990 he was Lecturer in the University to Reading UK. He has held visiting appointments as Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University, as the Erasmus Professor at Groningen University and as the Leverhulme Professor at Loughborough University. Among his research fellowships are the Vietor Fellowship at Yale University, the Dibner Fellowship at the Smithsonian, the Kono Fellowship at the Huntington Library and the Andrew Mellon Fellowship at the American Philosophical Library.
He has received research awards from the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Geographic Society and the Social Science Research Council. Dr. Short’s main research interests are in urban issues, environmental concerns and cartographic representation. He is author of 37 books, 30 invited chapters to edited books and over 50 papers in such journals as Area, City, Environment and Planning, Geoforum, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Journal of American Planning Association and Urban Studies.
Recent books include, Human Geography: A Short Introduction (2015) Urban Theory (2014, 2nd ed), Stress Testing The USA (2013, Cities and Nature (2013, 2nd ed), Korea: A Cartographic History (2012), Globalization, Modernity and The City (2011), Cities and Suburbs (2010), Cartographic Encounters (2009), Sage Companion To The City (2008), Cities and Economies (2008), Liquid City (2007), Alabaster Cities (2006), Urban Theory (2006), Imagined Country (2005), Global Metropolitan (2004), Making Space (2004), Globalization and The Margins (2003), Global Dimensions (2001), Representing The Republic (2001) and Globalization and The City (1999). His The World Through Maps (2003) was recognized by Discover Magazine as one of the outstanding science books of the year.
His work has been translated in to Chinese, Czech, Japanese, Korean and Spanish and, cited in over 600 different research journals. He has delivered lectures to universities around the world and given presentations to a range of audiences outside of the academy.
He is a founding co-editor of the journal Society and Space, founding editor of the book series Space, Place and Society published by Syracuse University Press and founding co-editor of the Critical Introduction to Urbanism book series published by Routledge.
He received his M.A. from the University of Aberdeen, UK and his Ph.D. from the University of Bristol, UK. He was born in Scotland.