Maybe I’m wasting my time saying this.
Maybe everyone already knows.
The truth is that I haven’t bothered reading much of anything about QAnon or its permutations.
From my perspective, very little analysis is needed to understand this phenomenon.
It’s been happening for years, this growing migration of the radical right away from fact-based reality and into the world of myth.
I was there for the very first “Q drop.”
Back in 2017, I took note — along with many others — of a new voice on the controversial 4Chan message board.
Like a cryptic storyteller, a bard half-hidden by the shadows of a dying fire, the stranger promised to reveal his secrets in the course of time. …
Even casual students of history know about the 1933 fire in the German Reichstag and how Adolf Hitler, then the Chancellor of Germany, used the fire as a pretext to suspend civil rights and arrest his political opponents.
Although the fire was not the only step in the process of Gleichschaltung (co-ordination) — the process by which the Nazi party brought Germany under totalitarian control — it was among the most pivotal.
What most people don’t realize about the fire, however, is that Hitler had already tried and failed to take over Germany ten years earlier.
In November 1923, Hitler and his collaborators made an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic by starting an insurrection in — wait for it! — a Munich beer hall. …
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer:
After several months of negotiations, you are still at odds with Republicans over a second coronavirus stimulus package to follow up the $2.2 trillion CARES Act approved in March.
Under your leadership, the U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a $3 trillion stimulus package to follow up CARES. This happened way back in May. Nevertheless, the Republican-controlled Senate ignored this legislation, declaring it “dead on arrival,” and waited until late in the summer before attempting to negotiate a totally different stimulus package with you.
Perhaps the Republicans thought that waiting until the election drew near would give them an advantage. Maybe they thought you would stupidly approve a new round of stimulus checks with Donald Trump’s signature on them right before the election, giving the President a much-needed boost in the polls. Who doesn’t like a guy who gives you free money, right? …
A confession of sorts
My mother’s father was a wealthy lawyer in Manhattan, and he lived in a penthouse on the 20th floor of an Upper East Side apartment building.
According to a story I was told several times as a child, it was during a family visit to the Statue of Liberty, in the shadow of our greatest symbol of American opportunity, that my grandfather took his son-in-law, my father, aside, and magnanimously declared that he would not have to worry about affording college for myself or my brother.
Meanwhile, my grandmother, a long-time employee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a rainmaker in her own right, was not to be outdone by her ex-husband: when I’d completed the college review process and identified Elite Liberal Arts School A as my top choice, my grandmother informed me that she was friends with the oldest living alumnus of that institution, and she would be able to convince him — even though we had never met — to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf. …
Identity politics has jumped the shark in these United States
I recently came across a social media post made by a small liberal arts college in which a perfectly fresh-looking undergraduate student was featured along with her name and the quote:
“Yes, I’m first generation and low-income, but I’m also a scientist, I’m a musician, I’m a Muslim.”
And that’s all it said.
Nothing about anything she’d discovered, nothing about any music she’d performed or awards she’d won or even whether she was a good student.
The assumption of the young woman was that pithily summing up five of her identities was remarkable. …
A confession: I’m a long-time reader of the often wrong, but always entertaining, financial blog Zero Hedge.
Inspired by the movie Fight Club — sporting the iconic image of a topless Brad Pitt as its Twitter profile pic and posting articles under the pseudonym “Tyler Durden” — the authors of Zero Hedge don’t bother trying to hide their far-right libertarian agenda.
Just as the climatic moment of Fight Club involves a terrorist attack against big corporate banks, with bombs blowing up skyscrapers to the haunting Pixies’ tune “Where Is My Mind?”, …
A revolutionary aesthetic has disappeared. Did anyone care (or even notice)?
I spent about an hour looking, but try as I might I could only identify a small handful of sessions at the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) annual convention in Seattle in 2020 that dared to advertise themselves using some variant of the word “postmodernism.”
The MLA describes its annual convention as “the largest scholarly meeting in the humanities,” a conference that brings together “thousands of members to discuss new research, participate in workshops, and build their professional networks.”
This lack of interest in postmodernism did not disappoint me. …
The first thing to understand about Election 2020 is that if you think you know what happened, you probably don’t.
You can’t bring a country of 330 million people back from the brink of fascism without a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes.
You need to have massive nonpartisan coordination taking place out of the public eye.
You need to have close attention to the small but important details that confer legitimacy on the President-elect — among them the lightning-quick congratulations issued by our international allies and the large, presidential size of Joe Biden’s motorcade as he made his way to downtown Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday night to deliver his acceptance speech. (“You don’t believe Biden won the election? …
Try these things and watch your prime suspect go red in the face
Among the most troublesome areas of human interaction in which you will have to exercise good judgment and cunning involves being able to tell when someone’s trying to lie or cheat you.
My parents, not so much naive as they were optimistic about other people’s intentions, learned this the hard way in the 1990s when they were shopping around for a bigger house. They found one they liked, but it had an unconventional heating system. …
How to understand and use the most basic weapon of the information war
“Don’t answer the question you were asked, answer the question you wanted to be asked.”
It was my first day of public-relations training, and this was the first take-away from the very first session.
My instructor, a fast-talking Washington PR flak with a paper coffee cup glued to his right hand, went on to explain that nobody steps into the public arena just to have a friendly chat.
Instead, they put themselves out there in the public eye, leaving themselves open to ridicule on talk radio and 24-hour cable network news, to expose as many people as possible to specific messages that have been carefully crafted in advance. …