The 90's called and it would like it's sneering depictions of "pathetic right wing rubes" back. I know it makes a certain segment of the educated classes (of which I'm a member) feel good about themselves to read paragraphs like this, but it's lazy political analysis.
That crowd was comprised of scores (if not hundreds) of well off business owners as well as highly skilled paramilitary warriors (many of whom were trained by our own government) who came very close to achieving their goal. Their gauche affection for Olive Garden is irrelevant.
This is the article. I share the author's revulsion at what this mob did. But this is not a time for ribald humor at the expense of people who erected a gallows upon which it appears they intended to hang the Vice President and probably others.
theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
Every violent political upheaval is messy and chaotic and disorganized and comprised of people who are far from paragons of wisdom and rational thought. Wednesday's uprising was not uniquely pathetic...to think it was is just to invert a celebratory American exceptionalism.
I can guarantee you, none of the people of color in the Capitol building, especially the officers who bravely fended off this mob, mistook them for a second as bumbling rubes.
There's a long history of white liberals and centrists taking joy in laughing at depictions of bumbling "racist hicks," like this depiction from Tarantino's Django Unchained. The KKK in the 19th century, I assure you, was not something to laugh at.
The KKK is certainly something to revile...but the impulse to make fun of them for being dumb or incompetent erases the real terror they wrought in the South for decades. It's a way certain white people convince themselves that *those other people* were the REAL racists.
The article reminded me of this description of a 1770 mob: "A motley rabble of saucy boys, Negroes, & mulattos, Irish teagues & outlandish jack tars...shouting & hazing & threatening life...whistling, screaming, & rending an Indian yell... throwing every species of rubbish."
That was how John Adams sneeringly described the "rabble" who got into the conflict with soldiers on the streets of Boston that became the event we came to call "The Boston Massacre."
That "rabble" was the collection of people who successfully carried out the event we now call "The American Revolution." They were just as prone to conspiracy theories and outlandish beliefs and practices as Wednesday's crowd. Just the 18th century version of those.
I'm not trying to cancel satire or anything. I'm just trying to warn against a predictable script that people in my demographic (including myself) can easily fall into, which feels like insight, but often overlooks far more than it exposes.
Adam Serwer just said this far better than I did. “The belief that only impoverished people engage in political violence—particularly right-wing political violence—is a misconception often cultivated by the very elites who benefit from that violence.” theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…

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More from @SethCotlar

14 Jan
Wish folks cared as much about countering the political culture of far right hyper-nationalistic populism that traffics in anti-Semitic tropes and naturalized conceptions of racial and gender hierarchies, as they care about dissing those who use the word “fascism” to describe it.
Ultimately, I think that’s what lay behind this terminological dispute. Is democracy more threatened by “center-left/center-right neoliberalism” or by the far right? People who resist the f-word say the former is the *real* threat. People who use the f-word focus on the latter.
My sense is that the people who use the "f-word" are not the neoliberal simpletons their critics tend to think they are. And likewise, the f-word refuseniks are no fans of the far right, they just don't see it as being as powerful and threatening as others do.
Read 15 tweets
13 Jan
It’s such a mystery how anyone got the idea that mainstream Democrats were dangerous communists and nihilists who wanted to destroy America and must therefore be given no quarter.
Ben was consistently one of the most widely shared voices on Facebook in 2020. He of course does not condone the violence of last week, and I’m sure is shocked that some of his listeners might take such actions.
Conservatives: Liberals are an alien life form that poses an existential threat to the future existence of America.
Liberals: Um, that's a really ridiculous, entirely inaccurate, and anti-democratic thing for you to say.
Media: Both sides criticize each other's extremism.
Read 10 tweets
13 Jan
Remember in October when Trump was pushed to denounce the Proud Boys (who were one of the paramilitaries who led the Capitol invasion a week ago) and he awkwardly mumbled “stand back and stand by” and we all thought “WTF that was weird and kinda menacing?”
I’m wondering if we’ll ever get more insight into that moment and what was going through Trump’s clearly struggling hamster brain at that moment.
One thing I noticed at the time is that the chair of my county’s GOP loved that line. She was in DC last Wednesday, though I’ve seen no evidence that she illegally entered the Capitol.
Read 6 tweets
13 Jan
Since 2007, Glenn Beck has called everything he doesn't like "literally Hitler's Germany." Why do we have to continue doing this?
This article is from 2013, for crying out loud. thewrap.com/5-things-glenn…
I mean, I'm so old, I remember 2016 when Glenn Beck said Donald Trump was like Hitler. time.com/4248841/glenn-…
Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
The things that Republicans, even moderates like Collins, are unable to comprehend or imagine (i.e., that the GOP's own white Christian Conservative voters would engage in large-scale, violent acts of domestic terror) are the things that pose the greatest threat to the republic.
I had an interaction on FB that illustrates this. It was with a middle class white Democrat who has some Republican friends. They posted about the Republican running for Atty General in OR. Said it was a shame he was so unqualified, but they were sure "he was a nice guy though."
Readers, I'm here to tell you...HE IS NOT A NICE GUY.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jan
Seeing lots of these radical statements on county-level GOP FB pages. This is from Iowa. Question: Has anyone seen a county or state GOP statement that acknowledges Biden’s win and tries to bring down the temperature?
If so, please post it here.
These folks say it was totally Anteefa who stormed the Capitol. They were there, so they should know, right? Right?
facebook.com/10000984736640…
Read 5 tweets

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