I like Shawn’s idea regarding an audience having the feeling of superiority when watching old movies, films etc related to horrific events such as the holocaust. We know more than the people in the film. We have the knowledge, or the power to stop this from happening, should it be happening now, whereas these participants in the film, the Hitler supporters, can’t see through it. They are trapped in their convictions to support him. As an audience to that, you want to jump up and wave your hands and shout “STOP”! But you can’t. It’s like in (Mickey’s) Christmas Carol , Scrooge knows the outcome of the Ghost of Christmas Past scene, but despite how hard he tries, his superiority can’t change the events of the past, only the future.
That being said, and without having to go down the political beltway too much, there have been similar comparisons of Trump to Hitler and how we the audience (both Trump supporters or no), should see the red flags and the signs of a budding dictator. Can we use our superiority to stop this from happening again? Maybe. Maybe not.
How did these people become fooled as so from the start, with people like Hitler? The answer is rooted in empathy and the psychological conundrum of “Stockholm Syndrome.” If Trump had a dog, the empathy muscle might start to kick in. Well if he has a dog, he can’t be all bad, because he knows how to show compassion. Oh and he has a wife (3 wives), he can be lovable. And suddenly 10 debates in, these “self enclosed little worlds for the audience to examine”, the audience begins to fall into the empathy trap, puts a “Make America Good Again” sign in their front yard, and is somehow in love with what we look back on in the past as a character type that could be considered by some as a monster.
Although politics nowadays seems to be more of a SitCom than a newsworthy affair, it is hard to imagine “intellectual clarity” to be reached after watching debates or getting news from any source other than the AP. On the grand election stage, each of us is given the chance to contribute to the conversation through our vote.
What is at play also, with this idea of having this sense of superiority, is also that the conceptual maps between us as the audience now looking back at the 1940s vs that audience that is in the 1940s, are very different. We have that intellectual clarity. The scenario is mapped in our brains, but had yet to happen for that audience, so it is not even on their maps at all.
And again, as Shawn says that “anyone has the right to think or speak” and encourages “everyone to leap in immediately and start to think.” This is how culture is fabricated and conceptual maps are formed.