Uh, Someone Should Probably Tell Donald Trump What ‘Les Misérables’ Is About If He’s Going To Use It in His Campaign
Patrick Bateman would love this.
There was already so much to unpack in Trump’s speech announcing his third run for president but there’s now also even more to unpack from this one quick video of him being introduced at Mar-A-Lago. First, Donald Trump and Melania Trump were introduced as the next President and First Lady which is already complicated given that it’s both a horrific notion and also a title they already held previously. But before the introduction, the room sang along to the song “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Misérables.
First of all, they made the horrible choice to play the movie version of the song for some reason? Aaron Tveit (who played Enjolras in the film) is brilliant and perfect but the movie itself is a mess and honestly you know what? No, go ahead and use the movie version. These people deserve that. But more importantly, what this video shows is that people continue to not understand Les Misérables. They hear one song and think it applies to them.
That video also includes “I’m Proud to Be An American” by Lee Greenwood which is more on-brand but it’s still just a wild collection of songs thrown together after a boring speech about Trump filing paperwork.
The choice of Les Misérables is … an interesting one for so many reasons.
What Les Misérables is about
First of all, everyone dies at the end so jot that down. Singing a song of rebellion in this way is pretty doomed. Again, this feels like someone playing a joke on Trump because the song is born from the hardships that those in France faced leading up to the June Rebellion.
The musical is split between generations. First, we get to see Jean Valjean and the end of his prison sentence, which he’s serving because he stole a loaf of bread. Through the first part of this journey, we meet characters like Fantine (a woman so desperate for money for her and her child she’s willing to do whatever it takes to provide for them) and Javert (the officer searching for Valjean).
Then it splits into the part of the story where Fantine’s child Cosette, Eponine, and the next generation of men are centered (with Javert and Valjean still there). It is in this part of the story that we get more of the rebellion. The young students Marius and Enjorlas are planning a rebellion and, spoiler alert, it goes badly. But there is a rallying cry in “Do You Hear the People Sing?” that inspires you to fight against the rich elite people in power.
So not Donald Trump.
Like Donald Trump, like Patrick Batman
Life is truly feeling like a parody. I’ve already written about American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman’s idolization of Donald Trump once, noting the parallels between Trump’s rise in popularity and the kind of people who associate with and admire him. Now it’s just getting hilarious because the other thing that Bateman loved (outside of music) was the musical Les Misérables.
So either someone on Donald Trump’s team has jokes or no one thought about this connection and I don’t know which is funnier. But Patrick’s own love of Les Misérables lends itself to being ironic in that he’s the exact kind of person that the June Rebellion and those who took part in it would push back against. So Donald Trump using it as entrance music shows the same sort of ignorance that American Psycho was highlighting in Patrick Bateman and his love of both Les Misérables and Trump.
At this point, the irony is just the writing on the wall.
Sorry, but at least it’s the Hugh Jackman version.
Full offense to the cast recording from the Tom Hooper movie but this is what Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean deserves. Look, he was stunt cast and we all know it and that’s fine but at least this wasn’t from the 25th anniversary concert because then I’d really have an axe to grind.
On the one hand, yes I am fixated on the misuse of this song because of how utterly dumb Trump and his lackeys are because come on. But on the other hand, it is just further highlighting the fact that Trump does these things for the dramatic effect without putting any real thought behind it.
Donald Trump really thinks he and his supporters are “the people,” when in reality he is just the exact villain everyone has always made him out to be.
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