American Culture

New Yorker starts analysis of Trump with, “honestly…”

What have we learned about that?

Well, actually, the headline is just a hair away from that, “Being honest about Trump.” I think it qualifies, though. So would WSJ in this piece, I think.

For all of my complaints about Glopnik’s article, I love his description of the center:

“While the habits of hatred get the better of the right, the habits of self-approval through the fiction of being above it all contaminate the center.”

One has to love this much naive honesty. The problem with their fiction is that they’ve believed their own PR just a bit too much.

This is very much how I picture them. Cosmopolitanism I have no trouble with. Decadence I have no trouble with. This fattened batch of white powdered wigs (if only this could really become a trend again) gorged on superiority complexes might be indispensable for security and stability, but damn do they need to be taken down several pegs.

The center will hold, sadly, just a bit too well. I just wish that the best of the fringes, those parts that share common ground across the great partisan divide, for example, where left and right both would love to see bankers held accountable, could temper the center’s worst instincts while the center safely shrugs off the worst sins of the extremes, left and right. To that extent, this race is peculiar and exceptional because the extremes have been so unbalanced. Bernie represented(s?) a moderate leftism (no concession speech yet). Trump represents an extreme right-ward bent. No, not just bent. Deformity.

“But he did not come to political attention as a “populist”; he came to politics as a racist, a proponent of birtherism.”

Yes, birtherism is and was racist at heart. The lack of clamor for Cruz-scrutiny demonstrates that, but combined with the countless times I’ve seen the worst of the right in comment section calls to “hang the nigger” “from Kenya” rather clinches the deal. Denying it just makes one look, not less racist, just more cowardly.

Right about there, the author loses me. He makes some salient points about what fascism looks like, and how Trump connects all the right dots in the right way to all but need armbands for his campaign, but it’s all very interpretive, as any claims about fascism must apparently be.

And it’s the New Yorker, so I’m also looking for that tell-tale Cafe du Monde dusting of powder that gives away the wig I suspect he wore when writing.

Then there’s this,

“Hillary Clinton is an ordinary liberal politician.”

No. No. And again, no. That’s a New Yorkerism. That’s evidence of an ivory tower hoity-toity powdered wig, aristocratic interpretation, as sure as a chest and lap-full of powdered sugar is a giveaway of beignets in New Orleans. An interpretation, just that, no more. One that does not gel with the reality of the word “liberal” or accord with Hillary’s record. She’s a neoliberal (the ol’ softy), through and through, with occasional swirls of neoconservatism thrown in for bad measure.

From TruthOut:

Charles Pierce has argued in Esquire that Clinton’s support for the war is reason enough to vote against her. But those who reject Clinton for her foreign policy record, Suhay writes, “are effectively rejecting a worldview that is mainstream among Democrats.”

And if the New Yorker’s Gopnik can get so much wrong about Hillary in so few facile words, how much more wrong might Gopnik be about Trump? I might have been persuaded but for the imbalanced reveal at the end.

At the end of the day, yes, there’s much about Trump that is scary as hell to the left. More importantly, there’s much about the right wingers that support Trump (and confused lefties with no perceived choice) who do the same. Trump is a symptom of his supporters fears, hopes, and distorted sense of history. Just that, a symptom. Not even an especially dangerous one, though he does his best to look like it. Trump is flatulence in a crowded elevator, not dysentery. I’d be far more concerned about the GOP elevating the likes of Mike Pence. That’s a symptom of fascism that worries me, a trifecta of ideology, record, and actual political ability that could actually render significant harm to the fabric of the American political experiment of these last 232 years.

Oh, wait. Trump/Pence 2016. If, IF Trump wins, Pence will be one heartbeat from the title of President. Where’s the anti-fascist commentariat now?

On that note, I’ll leave us with a quote of another color.

“Say what you mean and…say it mean.”
J. G. Thirlwell in one of his many Foetus personas

No whiff of the disingenuous politeness signaling the lie like “honestly” here.