Debarkle Chapter 64: Meanwhile…Trump Year One

[Content warning: discussion of historical cases of sexual assault and discussion of hate crimes and murder]

Me Too

Donald Trump was far from being the first US President to be credibly accused of sexual assault but he was the first to have been recorded boasting about it[1]. The day after Trump’s inauguration as US President saw large rallies in several American cities organised as the Women’s March[2]. The protests specifically cited the rhetoric of Trump and the Republican Party in the 2016 elections as a source of legitimate fear among multiple dimensions of society.

“The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.’

https://web.archive.org/web/20170125034852/https://www.womensmarch.com/mission/

With an overtly misogynistic President in office, with the support of influential anti-feminist groups within the coalition of extremist groups known as the alt-right, there was good reason for women collectively to fear the new administration. However, Trump’s control over the Oval Office was not some sort of final victory in a long-running culture war. Societal change and cultural shifts were continuing and Trump’s level of national support in the US, while large, remained within a minority of Americans.

A recurring set of themes in this project has been the ability of women to fully participate in social and professional spaces, as well as the coordinated and uncoordinated push-back against these social changes. The prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment in workplaces (and other spaces) also played a role in excluding and marginalizing women. In the wake of revelations in late 2017 about the noted producer and film financier Harvey Weinstein’s long history of rape and sexual abuse of actors[3], the Me Too movement[4] became an international phenomenon in which people highlighted their experience of being sexually harassed or assaulted at work or in professional spaces. The impact of the movement was felt across party political lines with high-profile politicians in both parties coming under criticism for past behaviour.

The Weinstein case helped publicise an ongoing pushback against institutionalized misogyny even during a time when ideological misogynists had regained political power and influence. In the world of books and publishing, spaces such as literary conferences were highlighted as having their own sexual harassment problems. Fantasy author Anne Ursu surveyed multiple people in children’s literature to collect accounts of sexual harassment in children/youth book publishing, finding that:

“Responses reveal, in general, three loci for sexual harassment: in the workplace; at conferences and book festivals; and in the professional spaces where spheres of the industry intersect (author to bookseller, agent to author, etc, editor to agent, etc.) All three categories seem to require different solutions”

https://medium.com/@anneursu_10179/sexual-harassment-in-the-childrens-book-industry-3417048ccde2

Although the policy responses to the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse in multiple industries were often split along party political lines, the people creating the hostile environments were from a wide range of political beliefs. In the wake of Anne Ursu’s piece in 2018, the behaviour of fantasy author Myke Cole [see previous chapters] was raised by multiple people. Author Janci Patterson would later highlight the fears women faced in making complaints about sexual harassment after she had recounted being sexually harassed by Cole.

“That is what it was like being a woman in publishing who had been harassed.   I watched people discrediting the women who spoke up on the basis of their comments being anonymous. If it was true, why would they need anonymity?

I knew why. After Zoe Quinn, women in my position all know. We are all one internet post away from being Zoe Quinn.”

https://www.jancipatterson.com/2018/02/19/sexual-harassment-apologies-and-forgiveness/

Cole would make a public apology for his behaviour in 2018 but would face further allegations in 2020[5]. Cole here is just an example, a salient one in terms of the Debarkle but also in terms of demonstrating the range and depth of the issue. The biases in science fiction communities that meant that as recently as 2007, the bulk of Hugo Awards finalists were men were due in part to men who did not regard themselves as anti-women but nonetheless contributed to a broad culture of hostility and sexism. The drive for less hostile spaces and for consistent action against sexual harassment and casual sexism was resulting in genuine change (e.g. by 2017 the Hugo Award finalists were predominately women) but was also met with a counter-reaction that contributed to the Puppy campaigns.

It is hard not to see Donald Trump’s presidency in the same light. That 2017 saw a widespread and very public rejection of misogyny AND the installation of one of the most overtly misogynistic public figures of the time as President was no coincidence even if there was no simple way to disentangle cause-and-effect or change from backlash.

Racism

There’s a triptych of issues in the events of the Debarkle: gender, sexuality and race/ethnicity. This chapter won’t get around to discussing sexuality but it can’t ignore the dynamic of polarisation of US politics in 2017 around race.

Within the symbolic first 100 days of the Trump presidency, he stoked fears of “illegal” immigrants crossing the southern border and enacted travel bans against people from several Muslim countries.

Executive Order 13769 was signed on January 27 2017 as one of the first acts of Donald Trump as President in a move that was widely seen as an attempt to limit the ability of Muslims to travel to the United States. The order itself was not presented in those terms and potentially would have resisted many of the legal challenges it faced if not for the surrounding rhetoric of Trump which helped establish that the order was effectively religious discrimination. Instead, the legal challenges resulted in the order being redrafted[6] and this new version only survived a Supreme Court challenge by one vote.

Trump’s general incompetence was also apparent in the initial stages of his attempt to have a wall built between the US and Mexico. However, Trump’s lack of organisational ability did not prevent him from giving the green light to increasingly hostile anti-immigration actions by the US at the border and also by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the US[7].

The Black Lives Matter protests of 2016 and earlier, continued during 2017 fueled by further deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement[8]. Additionally, the high profile public protests by US sports stars that had begun in 2016[9] drew the ire of President Donald Trump:

“Donald Trump launched a sensational attack on NFL players who have kneeled in protest of the national anthem during a speech in Alabama on Friday night, challenging the league’s owners to release anyone who engages in the movement started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” the president said at a rally for Republican senator Luther Strange, who is running in a special election next week to remain in the seat vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.”

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/22/donald-trump-nfl-national-anthem-protests

Trump’s rhetoric positioned the protests as unpatriotic actions, a framing that stripped the protests of their substantive content (objections to the murder of Americans by the government) and placed them in a dichotomy in which the only sides were those against or for America (or more specifically American nationalism). It was a framing of the multitude of protests against police violence that became common on the American right, even among those with ostensibly libertarian positions.

After players for the Seattle Seahawks stayed in their locker room during the playing of the national anthem at an American football game, Brad Torgersen presented the issue in terms of sides in a culture war.

“Over on the Seahawks page there are plenty of Social Justice Zealot “fans” trying to explain to the ACTUAL Seahawks fans why they are wrong to perceive #TakeAKnee as anti-patriotic and anti-American. In true Social Justice Zealot fashion, it doesn’t take long (in any thread) for them to begin calling all the Seahawks fans Trumptards, bigots, racists, etc. I swear, Social Justice Zealots went to the idiot school of reverse public relations. Clue: you do not woo back a disaffected audience by calling them names! And if the NFL thinks Social Justice Zealots will replace the legions of actual fans who are rapidly departing the fold—SJZs were the ones claiming the NFL and SuperBowl Sunday cause domestic violence, remember?—the NFL deserves everything it has coming to it in the months ahead. It will take them *years* to try to repair this PR disaster. If it can be repaired?”

https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/2115912888434933

I use Brad Torgersen as an example here not because he had any particular political significance in 2017 but as a person with a small but not insignificant online presence who had not been particularly pro-Trump in 2016. For people ostensibly against the misuse of power by the state, the rationalisation of Black Lives Matter or the national anthem protests as being primarily an issue of being for-or-against America as a concept proved to be an easy way for many right-wing “libertarians” to side with law enforcement rather than engage with the underlying problem.

2017 also saw the continuation of a process that had begun after the Charleston massacre in 2015 of the removal of monuments to Confederate soldiers and the Confederacy. Some Republican-controlled state legislatures enacted laws to prevent local governments from removing such monuments[10] but the process continued.

Just as the right-wing response to protests against police violence reframed the issue to avoid the central issue (police violence), counter-responses by the less overtly racist right to the removal of monuments to the Confederacy (or more generally of people who supported and profited from slavery) were framed in a way that avoided discussing the reason why the monuments were being removed. By way of an example again, here is Sarah Hoyt in June of 2017 making an analogy with the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

“Um… no one is sending indoctrinated young people to the countryside to teach farmers how to farm, true, but we are sending indoctrinated young people across the country to beat people and lecture them in the name of progressivism and “to build a better future” even though everything these young people know of the world they learned from their ideologically insane/no world experience professors.

And if they think there is no similarity to the Chinese cultural revolution, when statues, monuments, references to our own past are being removed from every public space and book, in the name of “progress” then they are part of the problem.  They too have been indoctrinated to the point they have no contact with reality anymore.”

https://accordingtohoyt.com/2017/06/28/the-day-before-liberty-con/

The line of argument was not just that the removal of monuments (many erected decades after the end of the US Civil War) was (somehow) erasing history but that this historical erasure was the underlying idea motivating the removal.

Again, Hoyt is just an example of a broader and larger group of people on the right who were ideologically not of the alt-right or even the so-called “alt-lite” but who framed their opposition to the left in terms that were compatible with the more overtly racist stance of Alt-Right figures.

The Alt-Right, Unite the Right and Beyond

In November 2016, the New Yorker magazine announced that “The Alt-Right Hails Its Victorious God-Emperor”

“This is such a new category that no two people agree on precisely what it means or how many people fall within it. Some on the alt-right are committed white nationalists; others are committed neo-monarchists who refer to Donald Trump, buoyantly, as their “god-emperor”; others are chaos agents who are committed to nothing at all. One could argue that, together, these people’s social-media activism made it possible—made it conceivable—for Trump to be elected. On Wednesday, Charles Johnson, an alt-right troll who calls himself a journalist, was sitting on a Brooklyn-bound F train wearing a Make America Great Again hat. “You support a man who is racist, sexist, and homophobic,” a man standing next to him said, accurately. “We won—fuck off,” Johnson said, also accurately.”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-alt-right-hails-its-victorious-god-emperor

That four-word response (“We won—fuck off”) exemplifies the initial euphoria of the online far-right in the wake of the surprise victory of Donald Trump. The article went on to quote Vox Day directly explaining the role of the alt-right within the political discourse.

“The morning after the election, an influential alt-right blogger who goes by Vox Day wrote, “Donald Trump has a lot to do . . . It is the Alt-Right’s job to move the Overton Window and give him conceptual room to work.” Day and his peers have been doing this job for months. They have flooded the Internet with offensive images and words—cartoon frogs emblazoned with swastikas, theories of racial hierarchy—and then ridiculed anyone who had the temerity to be offended. “Racism and sexism are a) human beliefs, and, b) as legitimately held as any other belief,” Day told me in a recent e-mail. No picture is shocking. No idea is bad. Who gets to define bad, anyway? “Remember that rhetoric is the art of emotional manipulation,” Day added. Last week, on his blog, Day wrote, “There is no more Republican vs. Democrat. It is now whites vs. non-whites and white quislings.””

ibid

It was a dynamic that had played out at a microcosmic scale in the 2015 Hugo Awards: the more ideologically extreme Rabid Puppies campaign pulling the more conventionally conservative Sad Puppies campaign further to the right and deeper into more confrontational tactics. Day’s contempt for the political positions of people like Sarah Hoyt had become more overt in 2016 but that was something Day did not need to dissemble about anymore. More mainstream conservatives could take more extreme positions while rationalising that they were not as extreme as the nebulous alt-right.

Day was gaining national mainstream attention but he remained a relatively minor figure in comparison to his “alt-lite” allies Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannopoulos or rivals like Richard Spencer[11]. Spencer who had a reasonable claim to having coined the term “alt-right” had also gained a great deal of media attention in the wake of Donald Trump’s improbable success. Spencer and Vox Day’s underlying race-based nationalist ideology were not very different but Spencer was more overt in tying his views to Nazi and white supremacist ideology. Day would always deny any link between his views and Nazism whereas Spencer would make “jokes” like saying “let’s party like it’s 1933”[12] or make Nazi salutes.

Spencer’s well dressed and confident demeanour had enabled his increasing media fame. However, he would gain some substantially unwelcome publicity on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration. During a TV interview, a hooded stranger punched him in the face[13]. Whatever the ethics of the punch may have been, the ensuing adoption of the footage as a viral meme of a Nazi being punched undermined Spencer’s status. For once Vox Day had nothing but praise for “SJW” rhetoric.

“Is it fair? Not particularly. So what? It’s funny and effective. It is excellent rhetoric. It’s the first time the Left has outmemed the Right in ages, and all because some amateurs thought they were playing underwater 5D chess. Sometimes, what looks stupid is just stupid.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170429042458/http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2017/01/the-right-alternative.html

In a narratively simpler world, a single punch would be sufficient to defeat the rising leader of a new-style Nazi movement. In reality, Spencer was attempting to shift the alt-right’s online presence into a physical one. That ambition would coalesce around the city of Charlottesville, Virginia.

The town had its own confederate monument, a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that sat in a park that at the time was named after him. The city council had decided to remove the statue and rename the park. In May 2017, Spencer led a torchlit night-time march to the statue with a crowd chanting slogans such as “You will not replace us” or even more disturbingly “Jews will not replace us”[14]. Residents of the city held a candle-lit vigil as a counter-protest the following night.

Through the summer, there were more confrontations as various far-right/white supremacist groups including the KKK[15] targetted Charlottesville. These groups were often met by much larger counter-protests. However, the protest against the KKK led to police using tear gas against the counter-protesters[16].

The ‘Unite the Right Rally’ was scheduled to be held in Charlottesville in early August after weeks of tensions between far-right groups, counter-protestors and police. The ostensible purpose of the rally was to protest the removal of the statue of Rober E. Lee but the structure of it was an attempt to bring disparate far-right groups together for collective action. As well as alt-right figures such as Richard Spencer and online figures, the rally would include overt neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups as well as right-wing militia groups[17].

On the evening before the rally on August 11, the white nationalists held another torchlit march this time on the campus of the University of Virginia, chanting slogans like “blood and soil” and eventually surrounding and assaulting a group of counter-protestors[18].

Unsurprisingly August 12 quickly descended into violence. A full account of events is beyond this chapter and there are many accounts available[19] but before noon of that day, the governor of Virginia had declared a state of emergency. Before the day was over a counter-protestor had been murdered and many others injured when a white supremacist intentionally drove his car into a crowd[20].

The murderer was eventually sentenced to life in prison. Civil cases against the organisers of the rally are still ongoing.

The violence and overt neo-Nazi aspects of the Unite the Right Rally were shocking and made international headlines. Again, if we were to imagine a narratively simpler world, the revelation that the people who had online sounded suspiciously like Nazis also acted like Nazi street gangs in physical reality would have alerted people across the political spectrum that the right had a serious Nazi problem that had already led to murder and domestic terrorism. Donald Trump’s reaction was an attempt to hedge his bets by suggesting that at least some of the people on “both sides” were good people. Rationalising away the very vocal neo-Nazi-like aspect of the alt-right would require effort from the more mainstream right. This was not just confined to Trump or Trump supporters. Sampling from the opinions of the erstwhile Evil League of Evil we can find the non-Trump supporting Brad Torgersen searching for ways to make sense of events at Charlottesville without confronting the ugly truth. Torgersen regarded the alarming news coverage as mainly an issue with the media.

“On average, the United States racks up between 10,000 and 15,000 homicides a year.Which ones make the news, depends entirely on what kind of narrative the news feels like pushing.Example: you will seldom see the national media running breathless front-page reports about black teenagers killing black teenagers in Democrat-controlled Chicago. That’s not news. That’s business as usual. Boring. And not conducive to the kind of narrative the media are eager to shape.”

https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/2059580674068155

Torgersen would go on to say in the same post:

“So, when some idiot clown plows his vehicle into a crowd of other idiot clowns, during an event which seems to be nothing but an all-hands All-Clowns-Day, the media—who drive the clown car—are right in the middle of it. Shaping perception. Ensuring that the line between commentary and fact, is blurred into the dust. Pinning tails on various donkeys, cough, I mean, elephants.”

ibid

This was the pattern that he had followed with the Rabid Puppies antics in 2015 but applied to the national stage. Whatever else Torgersen might be, he is definitely not a neo-Nazi and it really shouldn’t have been much of an ideological conflict to criticise murder. Yet, Torgersen’s reaction was not atypical for many people on the right as a way to avoid confronting the difficult idea of the growing extremism on the right.

Others saw a sinister hand of conspiracy in the events at Charlottesville as a way of avoiding examining their own overlap of beliefs with the Unite the Right organisers. After stating his own opposition to “Nazism”, Mad Genius Club blogger, Castalia House author and former organiser of the 2015 Tor Boycott, Peter Grant declared:

“Putting all these things together, I can only conclude that a shadowy behind-the-scenes organizer (or organizers) is/are pulling the strings, coordinating responses to Charlottesville for the benefit of far-left-wing and progressive elements in this country.  I have a pretty good idea who’s to blame, as well.
• I have little doubt that George Soros, and organizations and individuals funded by him, are heavily involved.
• I have little doubt that former President Obama’s ‘Organizing for Action’ and its leadership is in this up to its neck.
• It’s very obvious, from their own statements and those of their leaders, that organizations such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, etc. are behind much of what’s going on.
• I have little doubt that the national news media, so infamously in the tank for former President Obama and so clearly united in opposition to President Trump, are playing this up for all they’re worth.”

https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2017/08/was-entire-charlottesville-imbroglio.html

A year earlier than that statement Grant had stated that it was a bad idea to drive a car at protestors if you felt under threat but purely for practical reasons[21].

“Firstly, a vehicle isn’t going to help when the streets are clogged.  You can’t drive over dozens of protestors.  If nothing else, their bodies will immobilize your vehicle, just as surely as if it became high-centered over a bump.  What’s more, as soon as you’re forced to slow down or stop, you’re going to get dragged from your vehicle by angry rioters.”

https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2016/09/lessons-from-charlotte-riots.html

If former Sad Puppies struggled to rationalise their own reactions to the violence of Unite the Right, the matter was a much simpler one for Vox Day. Day, who disliked Richard Spencer because of his high profile and because Spencer was less shy about ties with self-declared neo-Nazis, regarded the Unite the Right events as a sign of Spencer’s incompetence and ideological impurity. Spencer and other figures such as Gavin MacInnes[22] were attempting to move the online presence of the alt-right into a more physical sphere of street fighting and in-person protests. This was not an arena that Day could compete in, as his influence (such as it was) was predominantly online and he himself was based near the Alps rather than on the ground in the US.

Day’s criticism of some of the groups involved in Unite the Right (in particular Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer) was part of wider in-fighting among the alt-right at the time. For the first time, Day found himself being targetted on social media by the same set of trolling and harassment techniques developed by the alt-right. On the right-wing Twitter alternative Gab, Day was harassed by supporters of Anglin who called him a paedophile (a tactic Day had espoused in the past). This led to Day demanding that Gab use more strict moderation and enforce rules against doxxing and harassment. Day declared on September 16 2017:

“And now Andrew Torba has publicly endorsed people attempting to doxx and SWAT his users despite the way in which doing so would clearly violate’s Gab’s Terms of Service. At this point, given the unprofessionalism and obvious lack of self-control being demonstrated by Andrew, I think it is safe to conclude that Gab is dead. It simply hasn’t stopped moving yet.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170916235757/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2017/09/gab-wants-war.html

The conflict between Day and Gab’s founder Andrew Torba would drag on with threats of lawsuits. Gab itself would also face pressure from technology companies unwilling to provide services to a site where neo-Nazis were organising[23].

September 2017 was not the best time for Vox Day. His next step was to actively endorse Senatorial candidate Roy Moore. Day regarded Moore as the genuine example of what the alt-right could be as a political force, saying:

“And this is why it is a mistake for the Alt Lite to fear accepting the Alt-Right label. The failed attempts of Richard Spencer, Greg Johnson, and Andrew Anglin to “brand” it as their own preferred ideology are no more significant than the attempts of the media to brand it as National Socialism.

But it doesn’t matter what it is called. You can’t kill an inevitable philosophy with guilt-by-association. The conservative movement has failed. The libertarian movement has failed. The neo-liberal world order has failed. Multiculturalism has failed. Civic nationalism has failed.

An alternative Right is the only possible alternative to the failed right-wing ideologies and philosophies of the past. The label is irrelevant, what is clear is that whatever it is is an alternative, it is Right, and it is winning.

Notice that Roy Moore has seen considerably more setbacks than the average individual. He has seen far more pressure and opposition from the Republican and media establishments, and been literally discredited and disqualified. But now he is very likely to be the next Senator from Alabama, because the Alt-Right is inevitable.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170927173948/https://voxday.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-rise-of-real-alternative.html

While a Republican winning a senate seat in Alabama may have appeared to be inevitable, it was not. Moore was credibly accused of sexual assault by multiple women two of whom had been minors at the time of the assault. Moore also had a disturbing pattern of behaviour towards younger women and teenage girls[24]. The allegations seriously undermined Moore’s senatorial campaign and in a narrow victory the Democratic Party candidate Doug Jones won. Moore refused to concede but the results were inevitably certified despite attempts by Moore to mount legal challenges.

Day’s past success in raising his profile had been catching the wave of culture war/conspiracy theory/harassment campaigns that had bubbled up from 4chan or its even less savoury rival 8chan. Both GamerGate and Pizzagate had been brewed up in the toxic mix of ironic shitposts and genuine conspiratorial ideation in the chans. In October, Day had been excited about a potential revival of the 2016 Pizzagate campaign, now rechristened “Podestagate”.

On October 5 at a photo op with members of the military, Donald Trump had made cryptic remarks about events being “the calm before the storm”. In all likelihood, the phrase was cryptic only because Trump was simply saying the first thing that came into his head. However, for Trump supporters and those who had assumed his surprise victory must have been due to Trump’s strategic genius, the words resonated as a promise of some remarkable new phase in Trump’s plans.

On October 28 on the /pol/ board of 4chan somebody offered an answer. Calling themselves ‘Q’ the otherwise anonymous person claimed (naturally without any verification) to be somebody with high-level access and inside knowledge of Trump’s secret project named “The Storm”[25]. Met initially with scepticism, the idea began to catch on.

In December 2017, Vox Day was fully on board with the hot new trend from 4chan, saying “Storm is the New Pizza”. Pizzagate was back in a new form and with a wider back story…but that is a story for another time.

End of Debarkle Part 4 and Volume 2. Come back soon as we follow the fates of the former League of Evil as the world heads towards 2020. Qanon, comicsgate, stop-the-steal and a tiny entity called sars-cov-2.


Footnotes

31 thoughts on “Debarkle Chapter 64: Meanwhile…Trump Year One

    1. I was only expecting a crowd of a few thousand amongst mud and long-dead hopes and discarded dreams, not at least hundred and fifty thousand, maybe even a hundred and seventy five thousand.

      Like

  1. I don’t know. Brad Torgersen is an insignificant dumbass, and I’m concerned that using his quotes to lay a foundation is, as they say, building your house on sand.

    On the other hand, it’s not that Vox Day’s audience is bigger, it’s that he’s so frank and lucid in his racism that quoting him is a very efficient way for you to ground your points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps Brad simply counts as an example of ‘the banality of evil’?

      Certainly he’s reprising his role here as ‘useful idiot’, claiming to be against the more extreme end of things and yet constantly making excuses for them.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Brad is indeed an insignificant dumbass, but he’s just smart enough to have tried to profit from Teddy’s vile crypto-Naziism by working with him for votes and influence, while doing contorted dances with words to try to downplay and deny Teddy’s basic vileness and thus maintain his own respectable veneer while continuing his symbiotic relationship with the murder-advocating misogynist racist anti-Semite.

      Gosh, Teddy’s just a “shock-jock!” as Brad said…meaning Brad vouched that Teddy didn’t really MEAN the worst things he said. So it’s okay and even laudable for Brad to generously maintain his friendship with him! It’s even ok for Sad Puppies to play Mussolini to Vox’s Hitler…Brad’s a respectable guy. Did you know he’s in the Army? And has MEDALS?! A respectable guy like Brad would never associate with a REALLY bad guy, so obviously harmless VD must just be funnin’. Have no qualms in joining forces with him to get Hugos for the truly deserving!

      Yes, Brad’s an insignificant dumbass – but his strategy worked for years for the Republican party…nod and wink at the extremists with dogwhistles, benefitting from their votes, disavowing their most vile pronunciations while repackaging their message in more palatable words to reassure their more ‘respectable’ followers that their basic xenophobia is really ok and laudable. The strategy worked BECAUSE of people like Brad, happily willing to engage in the wink and nod alliance and using their respectability to convince their followers that nice people like their associates VD and Richard Spencer and the Proud Boys aren’t REALLY that bad, and even make a few points that you agree with deep down, so vote with them unashamedly!

      As such, I think Cam is accurate in using Brad as part of the microcosm of opportunists that relate well to the opportunists Trump used to succeed for a few years.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. He is the very definition of “useful idiot”.

        He’s so keen on the “trains” metaphor, I wonder if he’d put his wife and kids on one if actual no-fooling Nazis were in power.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It says something about how far down the alt-right rabbit hole the mainstream discourse of the USA has slid, that Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter are considered the “radical left”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As far as I can tell, Obama’s policies would’ve been considered “middle-.to-right” in the 1980’s US. I think they were considered pretty left by most Republicans while he was actively president.

      I do, alas, not have solid citations for any of that.

      Like

    1. This ties them together:

      “It was a dynamic that had played out at a microcosmic scale in the 2015 Hugo Awards: the more ideologically extreme Rabid Puppies campaign pulling the more conventionally conservative Sad Puppies campaign further to the right and deeper into more confrontational tactics.”

      The pups were a smaller-scale rehearsal for the larger-scale struggle. And the quotes from Torgersen, Hoyt and even the wrong Peter Grant show the dynamic at work on the national political stage as it did during the puppy campaigns. Interested to see how the argument develops, perhaps to show reverberations in fandom.

      As to the Confederate statues, most were erected to celebrate and cement the victory of Jim Crow – in that sense, removing them is removing the history of Jim Crow’s triumph. That, of course, is not the history Hoyt was whining about. (If only removing all statues of Lee or Davis or Jackson would cause those people never to have existed; think of the vast harm that that would undo.) The empty plinths can be filled will monuments expressing the values of much larger shares of the community. I suggest a statue of Heather Heyer for Charlottesville, but that’s the local people’s decision.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “But we have to remember the past!” is such a disingenuous excuse.
        They dynamited all the statues of Adolf and his cronies in Germany and nobody’s forgotten their crimes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I suppose we could put them up but provide historical context: “Robert E. Lee, who betrayed his oath of office and waged war on his own country. Owned slaves. Captured free blacks when he held territory and sent them south into slavery.” Then they’d be happy with us, right?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There’s a university here in the UK that did an Alternative Plaques project: geography students had to either a) come up with a plaque commemorating a significant BIPOC-related event that somehow hasn’t been recognised by the official monuments, or b) rewrite a plaque honouring a slaveowner, colonialist, etc. to recognise that aspect of their history. It went down really well. With the students, anyway.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Also, I just realised that I’d neglected my chapter naming convention in several chapters. This is rightly a “Meanwhile…” chapter about surrounding events (two other earlier chapters should have that in their titles as well).

      Like

    1. It’s both odd and straightforward. Moore’s position on most topics was the same as Vox Day’s so Moore is just as alt-right as Day. What makes Moore not alt-right was that he didn’t promote his views on 4chan. i.e. there’s no substance to “alt-right”, it contained no new ideas beyond aesthetic & organisational ones

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “I watched people discrediting the women who spoke up on the basis of their comments being anonymous. If it was true, why would they need anonymity?”
    I really loathe the anti-MeToo types who refer to “anonymous accusations,” as if Garrison Keillor or Mark Halperin were fired because someone slipped an unsigned note under the boss’s desk. As far as I know, the accusers aren’t anonymous — they’re just not public. Not. The. Same.
    Extra negative points for articles that simultaneously talk about “anonymous accusers” while quoting anonymous sources who are just too terrified to speak out against MeToo. Because if someone thinks that’s legit they should be able to grasp why accusers don’t want to be identified either.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. In footnote [9], the close tag for the link is in the wrong location.

    >protest the removal of the statue of Rober E. Lee
    Robert

    footnote [17] >how they portray themselves
    portrayed (or change “was” and “were” to “is” and “are”)

    You need a [21] and a [25] in the text for those footnotes.

    Like

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