An Exquisite Trolling

For those who read everything published everywhere every day, as I do not, the name of the person who writes the television listings for the Sunday Herald in Glasgow, Scotland, will come straight to mind. It is Damien Love, but you knew this already. I did not.

Earlier today, the newspaper published Love’s television listings for the week just started, the week that will culminate at noon (EST) on Friday, January 20, with the debut of a new reality show in the United States: the next presidential administration.

Damien Love wrote this brilliant description (as seen above):
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Missing: Empathy

[He] sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millennialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date for the apocalypse. … As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, [he] is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish.—Richard Hofstadter, Harper’s Magazine

The above passage was not written recently. It does not describe anyone in the news right now. It was written in 1964 and published the month of the Presidential election that year in Harper’s. Its title is “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.”

Hofstadter was an historian who found himself concerned with the angry political rhetoric that was emerging that year and he re-discovered that there was little new to it, that in fact a “style” of rhetoric could be identified that regularly emerged and re-emerged in our history.

The “paranoid style” is back in America. Perhaps it never left.
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‘The K***s Are in a Panic’

[Trigger alert: The following article quotes from antisemitic posts that have been published in recent days. I apologize.]

* * * *

Today marks the start of an era of bounty and happiness, although I’ll be honest with y’all and remind you that the road will surely be hard and draining at times.
 
But, at least my unborn son will come into a world ruled by a GREAT MAN that only comes around once every century or so.
—columnist “Marcus Cicero,” Infostormer web site, “Victory Is Ours!

Those who spend life’s precious heartbeats as a way to calculate how many people they hate have until recently tended to keep their communications in the shadows. One had to look for their articles. One needed to know that such hatred existed in order to know where to look for their articles and blog posts. Often, those web sites would turn out to be defunct by the time an amateur like me would look for them.

It was as if those who hate full-time knew that there was something impolite about what they felt, so they kept it behind a locked door and only opened it with a secret handshake.

That day is done. With his campaign for U.S. President and his election yesterday, it no longer matters whether or not Donald Trump himself holds these thoughts in his heart or not: some (many? all?) of his supporters do. I do not think it is all.
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