left fear-cooties: some antidotes

Emails from friends continue to roll in confidently predicting tanks, sieg-heiling, and pogroms from orange hitler, right around the corner. You know, Hitler, who came to power because of Russia. The Trump we have isn't bad enough, we must magnify his power in our minds.
Recommended antidotes, two posts from Corey Robin:

Against the Politics of Fear

I cannot tell you how much I loathe this kind of politics. At a very deep and personal level. I loathe its operatic-ness, the way it performs concern and care when all it really is about is narcissism and a desperate desire for a fix. I loathe its false sense of depth and profundity. I loathe its belligerent confidence that it, and only it, understands the true awfulness of the world. I loathe the sense of exhilaration and enthusiasm it derives from being in touch with this awfulness, the more onerous citizenship, to borrow a phrase from Susan Sontag, it constructs on the basis of this experience.

December Diary: From the Political to the Personal

This [Politico article re: Trump browbeating Capital Hill Republicans] is ... fascinating, in spite of itself, about the aura of power that the Bannon/Breitbart operation behind Trump tries to create. If you read it quickly, it sounds scary: message discipline enforced by Bannon from on high, gets transmitted to terrified members of Congress down low.

But what’s the actual threat these guys wield? Tweets. Tweets. In other words, they’re depending on that old dream of politics watchers in the US—the presidential bully pulpit-hoping it can be more of a power than it has ever really been.

More analysis to calm Nazi-screeching friends (as if): Radio War Nerd webcast re: the different strains of conservatism tapped by the Trump transition team (paleo- vs neo-conservative, Heritage vs AEI, CPAC connections). Slightly dated because taped right after the election but interesting.

strange pro-oligarchy demonstration

pantsuit protest

Paddy Johnson's explanation of this pro-Hillary Clinton, post-election art event in Madison Square Park isn't very clear.

On days like this, it can be easy to lose sight of the work that is being done. Amidst all the set backs, there are people protesting and taking a stand. One such example came yesterday in Madison Square Park, when a small group of 10 women performers stood clustered in the cold wearing pant suits and holding scissors. Organized by theater directors JoAnne Akalaitis and Ashley Tata, the group invited park visitors and audience members to cut pieces from their suits, drawing from Yoko Ono’s 1965 performance “Cut Piece.” The pieces of fabric, according to Tata, would serve “as a gift or a reminder, a remembrance of recent events and potentially more optimistic actions.”

Layered onto this interpretation, is the meaning of Ono’s original piece, which suggested that viewing without responsibility has the potential to harm. This speaks harshly, to those who chose to cast their vote away or not vote at all. Additionally, it continues to speak the disturbing undercurrent of violence and misogyny in our culture.

Presumably readers get the pantsuit reference (Hillary Clinton favors this garb) but Johnson also assumes they know the specifics and mechanics of Ono's Cut Piece. Johnson offers only vague suggestions of how that work relates to Clinton's election loss to Donald Trump.

Let's unpack it a bit. The Ono piece assumes an aggressive audience cutting off large swathes of the clothing of the vulnerable young woman performer, exposing her body, and it indicts non-participant witnesses who fail to intervene to prevent this humiliation. In the case of the pantsuit protest we're not told how much, if any, clothing was cut from the performers' bodies. The audience is described as "attentive and kind," so it's unlikely any bystander guilt actually took place. Unlike Ono in her piece, the performers were arranged in buddy pairs and had whistles ready if anyone took the artwork at its literal meaning.

Regardless of what effect (or lack of effect) the protest might have had in real time, Johnson editorializes as to the intended message: that voting for someone other than Clinton, or not voting, was the equivalent of standing by while sexual violence is committed.

The performance, Johnson notes, was timed with efforts by the Clinton camp to change the electoral college vote by convincing electors to reconsider their November 8 choices. If Trump had lost and mounted such an effort, howls of outrage would likely have emanated from Clinton supporters. The Madison Square performers' de facto alignment with the intelligence community's "Putin interfered with the election" stories -- also intended to flip the vote -- is not discussed. Also not considered is the cutting-of-the-cloth in relation to Clinton's own aggression. "We came, we saw, he died" (Clinton's brag about the non-judicial murder of Gaddafi) doesn't suggest much in the way of vulnerability.

Update: Just sticking this here, filed under "pantsuit" -- the LA Times reports on the pro-Clinton Pantsuit Nation, a "secret Facebook group." These private groups on Mark Zuckerberg's website have become quite the rage. He may be a data-exploiting monopolist, but it's OK to use his platform to host your political forums as long as they're "secret." And of course no one in Bangalore is monitoring it for content.

clinton excuses

Medium has one of the better rants on Clinton loss apologetics, titled ”Why Are You Still Talking About Hillary Clinton?”

Well, here’s why. For one thing, she’s still out there in the public eye, concocting excuse after excuse for why she couldn’t beat the guy from The Apprentice. Her media loyalists are also still out there in full force, spouting rationalizations of her conduct day after day, and denying culpability for their role in bringing about her failed candidacy. (1) They are confabulating a story to explain away the loss. If left un-rebutted, this “narrative” will eventually congeal into accepted wisdom, and it will then be cited for years and decades to come as reason why they are completely blameless. Notwithstanding their 2016 humiliation, the Clintons still have a huge, well-funded, and feverishly devoted PR apparatus, including a vast array of functionaries and loyalists inhabiting all different segments of elite society. These loyalists have made clear their desire to implant into the public psyche the idea that Hillary is not responsible for her defeat — it was the fault of a whole bevy of sinister exogenous forces.

1. Update: Global Guerrillas has a good list of Clinton campaign excuses. [GG took the post down -- the internet archive still has it, though]

cabinet mutants

Blogger Nina Illingham has been keeping track of Trump cabinet picks in a series she calls The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Clicking on each "meme" (a pic summarizing all the mutant's negatives) takes you to Illingham's blog post, which continues the argument in text form.

Illingham was a Clinton skeptic but hasn't wasted time turning her acid attentions to the orange wonder.

Her blog also has amazing collections of tweets from Clinton partisans in the journalistic community. These were the people we were supposed to "stand with" in the fight against Trump. Yuck.