White supremacists aren’t the most self-observant bunch.
Without exception, they’re not nearly supreme in the world or even among that subset of people we describe as “Caucasian,” which is probably why they desperately claim some sort of vaunted status. There’s something wrong with them, and to put it mildly, they like to project. As an example, look at the following tweets.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these…to me” pic.twitter.com/EGLkVqzadi
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) January 28, 2017
It’s offensive that such a beautiful, inspiring statue was ever associated with ugliness, weakness, and deformity. https://t.co/XYgNwzewIg
— Richard 🐸 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) January 28, 2017
Who could be uglier, weaker or more deformed than Spencer, in the most important ways? That he and his ilk have a direct link to the White House in baleful Chief Strategist Steve Bannon–not to mention a receptive President–is one of the more stomach-turning realities of our new abnormal.
In a burst of 467 perfect words at Medium, Willie Fitzgerald describes the most famous photo of the poison in the Cabinet, while a Spiegel piece worries about the warrior fantasies of the ethnocentric couch potato. Two excerpts follow.
Whenever I think about Steve Bannon, I see the above photo. Taken by Jeremy Liebman, it accompanies a Bloomberg article describing Bannon as “the most dangerous political operative in America.” It was written in 2015, but made the rounds again before the election. Back then, I saw it and thought, “This guy’s going to vault the ramparts?” Now I look at it and think, “We lost to a Ralph Steadman drawing.”
There’s something about this photo in particular that reminds me, against my will, of Terry Richardson. Maybe it’s Bannon’s blank, vacuous stare, as if the photographer had caught him mid-(probably very racist) thought. Maybe it’s the washed-out color palette, or maybe it’s that penumbral effect around his head and shoulder. This picture is like an inverse of Richardson’s American Apparel ads; it shows the objectifier, not the objectified. Instead of a billboard showing a wan young woman in a leotard, we get the man who listlessly ogles her on a billboard while his car is stopped in traffic.•
Those hoping to understand what the world might currently be up against should know how Stephen Bannon thinks. A corpulent man with a full head of hair at age 62, his gaze is clear and alert and he often pinches his mouth together until his lips become invisible, not unlike a street fighter. Now that he works in the White House, he has begun wearing a suit coat. Previously, though, he was fond of showing his disdain for refined Washington by wearing baggy cargo pants through the streets of the capital, shaggy and unshaven.
In November 2013, the historian Ronald Radosh visited multimillionaire Bannon in his townhouse, located in Capitol Hill. The two stood in front of a photo of Bannon’s daughter Maureen, an elite soldier with a machine gun in her lap posing on what had once been Saddam Hussein’s gold throne. At the time, Bannon was the head of the right-wing propaganda website Breitbart and the two were discussing his political goals. Then Bannon proudly proclaimed, “I’m a Leninist.”
The historian reacted with shock, asking him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” By that, he meant the Democratic Party, the media, but also the Republicans.
Radosh wrote about the encounter in a piece for the news website The Daily Beast and soon thereafter, once close confidants to Bannon came out of the woodwork to share what they knew about his world view. “Steve is a strong militarist, he’s in love with war — it’s almost poetry to him,” his longtime Hollywood writing partner Julia Jones told the website. She said books about war lay all over the place in his home. “He’s studied it down through the ages, from Greece, through Rome … every battle, every war. Never back down, never apologize, never show weakness. He lives in a world where it’s always high noon at the O.K. Corral.”•