It was pushing midnight on a Friday when we found Lindsay. We had just left a friend’s sister’s birthday to find a calm spot, away from the noise; it was still cold outside, so the Subway down the street seemed like the perfect place to sit and let the night melt away.
After about ten minutes of buying nothing, she strolled into the store with a friend, both clad all in black. Her hat caught my eye: “Fuck Trump,” written in a scrawled lettering like the script on Drake’s “If You’re Reading This Its Too Late” album cover. Was it a nod to the meme?
The MAGA cap has so quickly ingrained itself the calling card of our current fascist uprising that any piece of clothing that even slightly resembles it starts to feel like subversion. But rather than the blood-Republican red of a MAGA hat, Lindsay’s was a cool black, nodding at black culture and blaspheming American patriotism.
The only color to be found in this outfit is the red on her lips.
Why this hat? We asked.
“When everybody was talking about Trump getting elected and stuff like that, it was like, mostly, I think everybody took it as a joke. You know? I like literally have a video of like, two years ago, when I was like, “Yo, if Trump is elected…
“Like, seriously, I still have the video—it’s hilarious. But, you know, everybody’s takin’ it as a joke, but I’ve had this hat before he even got elected. And, you know, he doesn’t represent anything that America quote-unquote represents, you know what I’m saying? You know what I’m saying? And it’s just like, fuck him. You know what I mean? That’s just what it is — like, that’s it.”
What Trump represents, what American represent, and what we represent. The hat exists as a bridge between political rebellion and hip-hop culture without firmly planting its flag in either camp, embodying the dysphoria of our current age. We’ve somehow arrived at Baudrillard’s nightmare: a world that can only be conveyed through a web of shadows hinting at realities we can no longer understand. And as Austin Millbarge once put it, trying to explain away his ineptitude as a surgeon, our strongest purveyor of truth is parody. “We mock what we don’t understand.”