Dispatches From the Culture Wars - Slipping into Darkness Edition
February 21, 2017
Portside (February 21, 2017)
French fascism looks familiar; Eat fist, Nazi; Now you see it; Assessing the damage; Alt.right culture horror show
Fascism by Another Name - Ugo Palheta (Jacobin)
Punching Nazis: A Great American Tradition? - Amy Ongiri (Los Angeles Review of Books)
We’re Going to Need That $4,000 Back - Helaine Olen (Slate)
No, it Really is that Bad - dnexon (Lawyers, Guns and Money)
4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump - Dale Beran (Medium)
Fascism by Another Name
By Ugo Palheta
February 15, 2017
The 2015 French local and regional elections marked not only the government’s defeat and the Left’s collapse, but also the National Front’s (FN) breakthrough. The far-right party didn’t win any regions, but when compared to 2010, it tripled its vote count in the first-round elections and even won new voters between the first and second rounds. Between these results and polling, many expect the FN to perform much better than in 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen made it to the second round of the presidential election.
The FN has consolidated the most reactionary elements of French society and is attracting a growing segment of the population. Should it attain power, it will likely not only legitimize the systematic racism that pervades French society but also, in order to satisfy its activist base, intensify already existing policies that target Muslim, Roma, and immigrant communities.
Punching Nazis: A Great American Tradition?
By Amy Ongiri
February 11, 2017
Los Angeles Review of Books
It is not an accident that Jack Kirby’s iconic image of Captain America “smashing through” and coming “face to face with Hitler” introduced American readers to a new kind of hero in March 1941. Born about a year prior to the United States’s entry into World War II, Captain America existed, uniquely, both in the world of fantasy that superheroes always occupy and in the political reality of the prewar United States.
What are we to make, then, of the resurgence of this imagery in the viral video of white supremacist Richard B. Spencer, creator of the term “alt-right,” getting punched in the face on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration? The original video has now logged over two million views on YouTube. And as anyone who spends any time on social media knows, the attacks on Spencer spawned a sprawling debate on the ethics and efficacy of punching Nazis.
We’re Going to Need That $4,000 Back
By Helaine Olen
January 16, 2017
An estimated 4.2 million workers left in personal-finance limbo when a federal district judge in Texas issued a last-minute stay to the Obama administration’s initiative to overhaul the rules for overtime pay, which had led many employers to announce forthcoming changes to their workers’ compensation.
These workers were promised they would receive raises or overtime pay. And then, a presidential upset and a judicial ruling later, that promised money was taken away.
No, it Really is that Bad
February 16, 2017
Lawyers, Guns and Money
The United States is facing a major institutional crisis.
While at least some of the leaks we’re seeing about the Trump Administration emanate from factions within the White House, others are coming from the professional civil service—most notably the intelligence community. All of these leaks suggest a White House plagued by incompetence, insularity, and paranoia.
Various conservatives claim that this is a war of the “deep state” against a ‘change agent.’ Some argue that that the revelations about Flynn were a dead-hand effort by the Obama Administration to save the Iran nuclear-weapons deal. This is a profound misreading of many things, including what an actual deep state looks like. But it’s how dysfunction and civil-service blowback play out in a highly polarized environment.
4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump
By Dale Beran
February 14, 2017
Trump supporters voted for the con-man, the labyrinth with no center, because the labyrinth with no center is how they feel, how they feel the world works around them. A labyrinth with no center is a perfect description of their mother’s basement with a terminal to an endless array of escapist fantasy worlds.
Trump’s bizarre, inconstant, incompetent, embarrassing, ridiculous behavior — what the left (naturally) perceives as his weaknesses — are to his supporters his strengths.
In other words, Trump is 4chan.
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