Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday morning

Tree of Life Holocaust memorial at the Great Synagogue in Budapest, via.

Donald just found out about Dinesh D'Souza and his theory that Donald is basically the same as Abraham Lincoln, and he's intrigued:
Interesting! He's got that way of watching his own TV show from the real outside. He's a student of himself, but he always retains the ability to be surprised by the remarkable things he does, when an eminent critic points it out.

That's really what Dinesh has been saying in this latest phase of his career, with his Death of a Nation movie! I had this idea that he was making an indirect claim that Trump is like Lincoln, but that was getting it backwards: he's really claiming that Lincoln was like Trump—thanks to the example of Trump we're finally starting to understand Lincoln's greatness and what it consisted of, not preserving the Union or emancipating the slaves or reconstructing the American contract in the terms of the Declaration of Independence. The great thing Lincoln did was trolling the Democrats so hard they started the Civil War.

I'm really exhausted. Yesterday's horror in Pittsburgh made it impossible to carry on with whatever I was writing yesterday morning, though I'll probably get back to it later on. It's personal in a really unexpected way, in that the people praying in the Tree of Life synagogue when they were murdered were at a bris or baby-naming ceremony (when a baby Jewish boy is circumcised, he also receives his Hebrew name) and I have a baby-naming ceremony to go to this morning, as it happens, for my first grandniece (I've been to three brises in this generation, this is the first girl).

Something to read in the meantime is this from Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, about changing the
pointless debate about what leaders’ dog whistles really mean into a debate about what their followers end up believing. If what is said no longer matters, we can perhaps still evaluate what is heard. In the current ontological meltdown, there is no point in debating what leaders actually mean—they are affirmatively telling us that they lie constantly—but what we can and should focus on is what kind of people they ask their followers to be. Do they ask their adherents and admirers to see the best in others? Do they ask them to find common ground?
In the last week we have encountered two actual killers and one aspiring killer who believed their president when he said that caravans of murderous foreigners are approaching, and who believed that what their president wants is to have those caravans halted by force. They believed their president when he said that the media is hurting America and they believe their president wants to stop the media from doing that journalism by physical force. In the last week, we have seen that when the president makes or amplifies false claims about George Soros and globalists and refugees, people want to act on those claims. It doesn’t matter whether the president is being truthful or arch or ironic or funny or even if he admits moments later that he was just lying for sport. It does matter that millions of Americans believe this president wants them to rise up if the election is stolen by way of “vote fraud,” and that this president wants them to physically assault journalists who report bad things about him. That is what they hear every day, and that is what we need to worry about.
It's a really good piece, balancing wisdom and rage.

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