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When Even Rock Stars Like Donald Trump

Exene Cervenka is decidedly a true Trump-era American— and she doesn't think she is wrong.

07/31/2017 12:01 EDT | Updated 07/31/2017 12:01 EDT
Lisa Kinsella

"What is wrong with these people?"

It's a question you hear quite a bit in 2017. Usually — but not always — the question is asked when the subject matter is Donald Trump.

The Unpresident is the most unpopular president in the history of polling. Seventy per cent of Americans want him out. Almost as many think he will not serve a full term. It's hard to think of an American president as detested as Trump is.

And yet, his support among Republicans is pretty rock-solid. Republicans in Congress may tut-tut about his crazy tweets, but they have yet to abandon him on any of the big votes. The conservative media — and, in particular, at the most-watched cable news network, Fox — still defend every insane thing he says and does.

Scott Morgan / Reuters
A supporter holds a sign during a rally with President Donald Trump at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, June 21, 2017.

Thus, the much-heard question: "What is wrong with these people?"

Why do they stubbornly cling to nutty conspiracy theories — like that Barack Obama was born in Africa, not America? Or that Obama ordered tapping of the phones at Trump Tower? Or that Ted Cruz's father conspired with Lee Harvey Oswald? Why?

Seeking an answer from the lead singer of a revered California punk rock band is a bit unusual, yes. But Exene Cervenka of X is, herself, a bit unusual. And, given that she has actually referred to herself as a "conspiracy therapist," she is inarguably very knowledgeable about the roiling, seething conspiracy constituency who— along with Russia— helped shoehorn Donald Trump into the Oval Office.

A short while ago, Cevenka got in a lot of trouble for discussing politics. She shared some videos on YouTube which claimed that the massacre at Sandy Hook was a hoax— and that another mass shooting, in California, was engineered to give the government more control over citizens.

Exene Cervenka is relevant because she is the embodiment of a growing constituency in the United States of America— a constituency who believe in nothing emanating from government or the media, and who have decided to craft their own private worlds.

Cervenka apologized for sharing the videos, and took them down. But, when pressed, it is evident that X's legendary singer still maintains a lingering connection with the conspiracy theorists who regard Trump as their St. George, come to slay the twin-headed dragon of liberalism and media.

"There are people who are in power, and there are people who are not in power," Cervenka said. "[Government] play their games, and we're supposed to play along with everything they do. And act like we're participants when we're not."

To Cervenka, "globalists" in governments do away with our humanity, and creating a populace that is "barely surviving, uneducated, scores of people who destroy each other, without even knowing why."

Asked, then, about what she is hearing about Trump as she and her bandmates— bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D.J. Bonebrake— are hearing from fans on the road, Cervenka hesitates, grumbles a bit, then plunges forward. "The media are engaged in total fabrications and lies, and are self-serving," she said. "They have candidates they want to win. They aren't the real media, and haven't been the media or quite a long time. But fortunately we have the Internet."

Lucas Jackson / Reuters
Alex Jones from Infowars.com speaks during a rally in support of Donald Trump near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016.

You can almost see InfoWars' Alex Jones nodding approvingly — about the views of an anti-establishment punk rocker! But the X front-woman, perhaps sensing she has gone too far, and is sounding a bit too Right-wing whacko, pulls back a bit.

"I just don't get involved in politics," she said. "What I see now is that race relations are worse than they've been since the sixties. Crime is out of control in the Democratically-controlled inner cities. All people in power have an agenda. They're pretending to favour immigrants, or whatever. But what they really favour is votes."

Maybe, maybe not. Justice and equality shouldn't have a partisan affiliation. But.. she's the lead singer of X! What the hell happened? Punks are supposed to be against the likes of Trump and Jones, aren't they?

But Cervenka is relevant, and not because she her band's four earliest albums are among the best of the genre, forty years after the fact. No, Exene Cervenka is relevant because she is the embodiment of a growing constituency in the United States of America— a constituency who believe in nothing emanating from government or the media, and who have decided to craft their own private worlds.

[Government] play their games, and we're supposed to play along with everything they do. And act like we're participants when we're not.Exene Cervenka

Exene Cervenka may not be much of a true punk rocker, anymore.

But she is decidedly a true Trump-era American— and she doesn't think she is "wrong."

She thinks we are.

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