While there are many annoying things about the millennial generation, the concept of the individual as a brand is one of the worst. Branding spans time and requires consistency – the very idea of an individual being a brand would mean a lack of personal growth and a complete adoption of rules that never change. A great brand needs something iconic, none of which any of these people are. The modern icon is a red hat.
Iconography is an incredible thing. It’s a language that transcends the limits of the everyday; distance, capacity, reason. Today being Easter is a good example: that cross will always bring to mind a reaction in someone, no matter what they believe.
The iconography of evil is also just as interesting. The swastika is the most prominent example; it’s a visual mark that represents many things but because of the Nazi brand, it now is forever marred in the despicable actions of Hitler’s Germany. Similarly, the Hitler mustache is rarely, if ever, worn by men. This is the effect of the Nazi brand.
Evil in America is represented foremost by the Confederate flag.1 And while I can’t imagine Donald Trump sitting around thinking, “I really need to give the racists in America an as-of-yet-unsoiled icon they don’t have to be ashamed to wear in public,” it’s certainly what he did. In the future the Make America Great Again red cap will have the same public stigma as the Stars and Bars.2
In every feasible way, the MAGA Red Hat is a New Icon. The people who wear it are representative of a train of thought that will, one way or another, decide the future of this country. The dangers of brand association are most apparent in times like this, and why control under a single idea (state or corporate, to be honest) is never a way to live.