Mad in USA

 

One of my big theories, which I may have mentioned before, is about projection. We project onto our enemies our own most shameful traits, and so who we hate and why we hate them sometimes says more about us than them. I don’t feel bad about hating Donald John Trump for his stupidity, grandiloquence, intolerance, aggression and dishonesty, since those are all qualities I can find in myself, and I find them deplorable.

What I find interesting is how all the insults Trump applies to others — and for a man with such a limited vocabulary, he has used quite a few — apply better to him than to those he attacks. Crooked! Sad! Failing! And the alt-right’s phrase “virtue signalling” — used whenever someone to the left of Hitler says something they be honestly believe to be nice, something that actually IS virtuous, becomes an interesting one.

Firstly, when did virtue become something to be held in contempt? But the addition of “signalling” makes the intent clear: this supposed virtue is a sham, it is merely part of a ritual whereby leftie types self-indentify to one another. I’m nice, are you nice? It still doesn’t strike me as that awful. I don’t see why anyone would have a problem with it. But the alt-right are pretty different from the conservatives. It’s been argued that while liberals care about the most good for the most people, or at least like to think so, conservatives care about “values.” Which have nothing to do with anybody’s wellbeing and are often mere bigotry. So a conservative can be in favour of something that will have only negative effects, like the war on drugs or the right to bear arms, but that doesn’t matter, because what’s important is that it’s, in fact, virtuous, according to the rule-book (which is typically some interpretation of the Bible, the Constitution, or something heard on Fox News).

But at a certain point, conservatism shades into the even more toxic alt-right, who are full of hatred and negativity and know it. It makes them feel better to believe the left are insincere, full of the same nastiness, just lacking the balls to come out and admit it.

But ironically, the right are the ones who are always signalling. Liberal “virtue signalling” could be more simply described as “stating your beliefs” or maybe “stating your professed beliefs” if you want to be cynical about it. The signallers, the code-users, are on the alt-right. “Globalist” means Jew. They know it, and they know we know it, but only those dumb neo-Nazis who are spoiling the fun for everyone else would admit to anti-Semitism. The right have all these corny sayings, “red pill” and shit like that, and they also have this carefully maintained not-too-plausible deniability, a gossamer-thin veil between their outward presentation and their obvious, but never confessed racism.

Is Trump’s obsessive use of the “OK” gesture a White Power sign? (The three raised fingers form a W, the circled thumb and forefinger and the ball of the thumb a P.) This seems to have started off as a 4-chan hoax. But now it’s a well-known enough meme that a smart president would avoid doing it. So that the fact that Trump continues to do it, can’t seem to SPEAK without doing it, starts to look like a genuine signal.”Look, I’m using a symbol with racists associations, AND I DON’T CARE.

If you look at the OCCASIONS his tiny thumb and forefinger meet during his notorious, and live-in-ignominy historic Trump Tower press conference, I would point out two things –(1) it now seems connected in his mind with white power, because he uses it whenever talking about white supremacists and (2) he definitely isn’t using it to mean “OK.”

One last movie-based observation since this is supposed to be a movie blog (but this stuff is OBSESSING me right now). Ronald Reagan: movie star. George W. Bush: executive producer (of THE HITCHER and others). Steve Bannon: movie producer (appalling political “documentaries,” somehow owns a piece of Seinfeld). Maybe nobody associated with the movie business should be allowed in politics?

Donald Trump has been in several movies, but he should have been disqualified anyway for being an evil, stupid, corrupt, racist asshole.

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13 Responses to “Mad in USA”

  1. The alt-right signaling that doesn’t fool me is “States’ Rights” and “I’m a strict Constitutionist.” The latter, often said by someone who has never read the Constitution (such as Trump; or, if he did, he certainly didn’t understand it). Both of those statements are usually code for “Bring back Segregation and Jim Crow. Or, what the heck was wrong with slavery anyway?”

  2. Imagine if you were living here. It’s a daily nightmare with no escape.

  3. I remember reading, years after it happened, that Reagan, while campaigning, went to the little town in Mississippi known only for the murder of three civil rights workers, and made a speech that ignored civil rights and mentioned states rights. That was my introduction to how the dog whistle worked. It’s gotten less subtle since then, hasn’t it?

  4. Yes. Now it’s crazy time.

  5. chris schneider Says:

    Re: projection … I’m convinced that whenever DJT, a deranged solipsist, accuses anyone of anything, it’s what he sees of himself relocated elsewhere.

  6. Yes. But I don’t think he has any insight into this at all.

  7. His only insight is the view from having his head up his ass.

  8. Sounds like coming distractions !

  9. bensondonald Says:

    The late great Martin Gardner wrote at length about pseudoscience. He said that one of the “tells” for fakes is an elaborate jargon that sounds exact and scientific but has an adversarial relation to reality at best. Scott Adams (the “Dilbert” cartoonist) has been reinventing himself as a sort of Bagdad Bob, framing everything in a mock science of “Persuasion” which proves every Trump utterance is a brilliant and successful strategy.

  10. Another movie connection, Steven Mnuchin, secretary of the Treasury (the guy standing behind Trump during his insane press conference). Executive producer of Wonder Woman, the Lego Movie and Inherent Vice among many others.

  11. Mnuchin, yeah. Christ, no wonder this administration is so reality-averse, they’re all a bunch of bloody dream-weavers.

    Had to look up Bagdad Bob, as the UK’s nickname for him was “Comical Ali,” a slightly obscure pun on the war criminal known as Chemical Ali (now forgotten).

    Kinda tragic seeing Adams burn all credibility. I liked his About Comics book.

  12. Are you thinking of “Understanding Comics?” If so, different guy — Scott McCloud.

  13. Ah, good — thank God!

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