Life at № 42
“What does it take to call a Nazi a Nazi? In the interminable fortnight since the election of Donald Trump, the US press has been floundering in a gyre of panic over the internal taxonomy of racists.
For months, many (myself included) indulged Trump’s base in their euphemism of choice, the “alt-right”, an attempt to rebrand warmed-over Reconstruction-era white supremacy as a cool, new (and harmless!) internet fad. Despite the fact that Breitbart News (described by former honcho turned Trump adviser Stephen Bannon as “the platform for the alt-right”) had, at one point, a news tag labeled “black crime”, and was a driver of the racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was a secret Kenyan Muslim, the press contorted itself into labyrinthine knots to avoid applying the word “racist” to Bannon or Trump in any committed way. (In our post-meaning world, being called a racist is nearly as grievous as being a racist.)“
The line in bold is superb.
What we’re watching is in essence not only the destruction of reason, but the destruction of language- the two are evidently connected. A few nights ago one of these alt-right/Breitbart figures was on the news and when asked about the (verifiably) fake stories on that site his answer was anything can be true or not true. Interesting because that line for example is simply not true.
The Christian Right has been laying the groundwork for this mindset for decades. Whenever the facts or the evidence haven’t matched up with their ideology, they manage to call into question the evidence and then proceed to fabricate their own. There’s an interesting article in TDB today which in fact mentions this phenomena and quotes Bannon praising Palin for her death panels lie. When you know something isn’t true and you push it anyway for personal gain… what’s that called? I’m sure there’s a name for it.