Saturday, September 8, 2018

How did you get Trump?

Got me a Trump
Just about yea big
With a stomach bump
And a tangerine wig

And when I get my Trump
To the garbage dump
Gonna kick that pig
In the tangerine rump

This was about a claim traveling around the Intertubes that Google had devised a "more inclusive" salad emoji, egg-free and thus accessible to vegans. Apparently this was true. It enraged Ben Shapiro beyond measure. That boy's going to give himself an aneurism one of these days if he's not careful. (Disclosure: I eat eggs freely myself but believe the slice of hard-cooked egg in a tossed salad is an  intrusion and don't welcome it.)

I really don't care do u?

I got involved with this one, with a solemn declaration that I would never attack Pence's Christian faith if he had some, as opposed to a Christianist identity in which, rather than practicing a faith, he simply worships himself.

In any case, I don't feel I "got" Trump by my behavior at all. I personally think young Ben, who was news editor of the Breitbart conspiracy factory at the time, did a lot more than I did in that connection. Not that Breitbart endorsed Trump's claims that Obama wasn't born in the United States, except when they sort of did when they cited the
1991 bio from Obama's publisher that erroneously states he was born in Kenya. Even after the publisher announced that this was simply a fact-checking error, this post was used as fuel for the extremists behind Birtherism – something that can't be easily disposed of with an editor's note 
or when the
writer Gerald Warner defends the Confederate flag. "Barack," he writes, "you might just want to remind us again which state of the Union, north or south, your ancestors resided in during the traumatic years 1861 [and] 1865? Or did Kenya not have a dog in that fight?" This is from the site that claims not to have anything to do with Birthers, but they go on to argue that there's nothing inherently racist about about flying the flag of the South's failed rebellion.
Shapiro's theory focused itself a bit after Barack Obama's speech on Friday, though—

—and Ezra Klein wrote a more thoughtful piece on that than it perhaps deserves:
You see this on the right a lot, and I’ve come to think it the most revealing argument in conservative politics right now. It shows how desperate conservatives are to absolve their movement of responsibility for Trump, but it’s also, in an important sense, true — it’s just a truth the right (and sometimes the left) refuses to follow to its obvious conclusions.
That is, there are a couple of things there, in Shapiro's refrain: obviously ducking the responsibility for the shameful thing the Republicans have brought on the republic with their appetite for winning at any price, but also pointing at something real: not what Obama did but what he represented:
Donald Trump capitalized on fears triggered by demographic, technological, economic, social, religious, and civic change, and nothing represented or activated those fears as powerfully as Obama himself.... Obama’s presidency was inextricable from the massive demographic change that made it possible, and that continues to reshape American life and politics. But it wasn’t just demographic change that Obama represented. Obama, though a Christian himself, led an increasingly secular coalition, and was othered as a secret Muslim in the minds of many conservatives. Similarly, perceptions of economic change were filtered through broader views about Obama and the country: the political scientist Michael Tesler found that the most racially resentful Americans were the most economically pessimistic before the 2016 election and the most economically optimistic after it.
Both Shapiro and Obama, as Ezra says, absolve white voters of responsibility for the disaster they've wrought—Shapiro because he's claiming Democrats are to blame, or Obama in person,
and Obama because why?
Republican voters enraged by the feeling that they were being lectured by the first black president is a big part of how we got Trump. This idea is popular in some quarters of the right because it’s understood as somehow absolving them of blame for Trump, but it’s just another way of saying that Obama’s presidency — and the broader demographic and cultural changes it both revealed and represented — activated ugly sentiments in the Republican Party, those fears and resentments were amplified by conservative media...
Indeed, and that's the real moral of the story, isn't it? There was some awful ugliness in there, and still is. If some of us were pointing it out does that mean it's our fault that it came to expression? I don't think so. I certainly didn't put it there. I'm sorry their minds have been so full of poison—I know there are plenty of people who aren't like that in most of those counties, too. It's not Thomas Mann's fault that the Nazis won the last of the 1933 elections. I'm glad Shapiro feels guilty, if he does, but I don't feel compelled to respond to it, in any way.

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