Vancouver’s Trump Tower is a “Shithole”

The front facade of Trump Tower in Vancouver, a few months after the building opened in February 2017. (flickr/waferboard)

A poll from The Vancouver Sun on Jan. 17 asked readers if they would visit Vancouver’s Trump Tower after the President made racist remarks about rejecting immigrants from “shithole countries.”

1,343 people participated in the poll, and of those, 63 per cent said they wouldn’t visit the building. Users on Yelp left derogatory comments about the Trump International Hotel and Tower, with one reviewer writing: “A giant tank of skeevy, greasy losers. Total shithole.” Another described it as “a major cheetoh dump of a shithole.”

Trump’s “shithole” remark is not much different than his previous racist comments and actions, but it’s the public’s response is what makes this conversation interesting. The American president gave the people ammunition to fire back at his businesses, which have now been tainted by his crude behavior. Whether or not the tower actually looks like a dump or “smells of cheap tanner,” as one Yelp user wrote, is irrelevant.

When Trump referred to third-world countries as “shitholes,” he was directing his insult at the people who live in those countries as much as the countries themselves. He doesn’t want people from underprivileged nations to come to America because, to him, they aren’t worth as much as people from wealthier nations.

This caused an outrage amongst Vancouverites and other citizens around the world, who jumped at the opportunity to help humiliate a racist politician. Who doesn’t like the feeling of throwing a bully’s words back at them? And, as an added bonus, his remark could deter people from supporting him—and the less support there is for Trump, the better.

A book called The Rhetoric of Interpretation and the Interpretation of Rhetoric by Paul Hernadi outlines Trump’s strategy for making these comments. By doing so, he can gain more influence.

“Structures of power must become the structures of feeling and the name for this mediation from property to priority is the aesthetics,” writes Hernadi. “If politicians and aesthetics are deeply as one, it is because pleasurable conduct is the true index of successful social hegemony, self-delight the very mark of social submission.”

This particular attempt at social submission hasn’t fooled as many as he might have hoped for, according to the poll results. Vancouverites won’t take Trump’s shit, and the tower’s reputation is suffering as a result.


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