Friday links! Oh good, ethnic nationalism edition

Yeah, it looks like we're doing this.

Yeah, it looks like we’re doing this.

Donald Trump spoke for 75 minutes at the Republican National Convention last night, alternately aggrandizing himself, predicting doom, and assuring us he’d fix it. The theme of the evening was Make America One Again, which was a refreshing change from Monday’s theme, Make America Scared of Brown People. Yet Trump seemed to double down on separation. He adjusted his promised ban on Muslims to a ban on people from countries Muslim terrorists have “penetrated.” He did not mention any black lives that may have mattered, but he presented cop killing as epidemic, even though fewer officers have been murdered during the Obama administration than during any administration in the last 30 years. Then Trump promised to “end crime and violence very soon.” Today is Friday, and the Republican Party has nominated for president of the United States an ethnic nationalist campaigning on law and order. Won’t you consider fixing up the attic with me?

First, the good news: the GOP may now be the party of white real Americans, but only about 20% of Americans fit that description. The real dweebs at Five Thirty Eight compiled a rough estimate of how many people went into the good column when Duck Commander CEO and convention speaker Willie Robertson complained that reporters and pundits “don’t hang out with regular folks like us who like to hunt and fish and pray and actually work for a living.” First of all, yes: regular folks who speak at the RNC and star in a TV show about their father’s duck call business—you’re the real American, you Kraft macaroni motherfucker. Ahem. Anyway, Five Thirty Eight refined his criteria a little, based on what people who say “real Americans” he might mean:

They often mean white people without college degrees — the so-called “white working class.” They usually mean practicing Christians. Their examples usually refer to people in the South or the Midwest — not East Coast elites or West Coast hippies…If you’re one of these “real Americans,” you’re in the majority in almost every respect. Most Americans are white, most are Christian, most don’t have college degrees, and most live in the South or Midwest Census Bureau regions. And yet, only about 1 in 5 voters meets all of these descriptions.

Did you know most Americans don’t hold college degrees? Only about 32% have completed a bachelor’s. Kind of makes our media discourse seem insular and potentially irrelevant, doesn’t it? But I’ve gotten off-topic. We were talking about the populist candidate for president who plays to traditional prejudices and doesn’t care about facts, whom Hillary will definitely beat in November.

Meanwhile, on the internet, Park MacDougald has written this excellent consideration of Milo Yiannopoulos as gay fascist archetype. You may remember Milo from earlier this week, when he encouraged his followers to tweet pornography and pictures of apes at Leslie Jones. Milo is a young, gay Breitbart editor who calls Trump “daddy” and knows that saying the n-word is totally transgressive and hip. He’s become a darling of the alt-right—and to be honest, who doesn’t love a queer authoritarian racist in aviator glasses? I guess anyone who encounters one in real life, but MacDougald is right: the gay fascist is a recognizable figure of our modern imagination.

Don’t worry: most gay people remain uninterested in the Republican Party. If you ever doubted that the GOP is the party of straight white people, just look at this dancing:

I don’t know if you watched the convention, but the house band—led by deeply professional skeleton G.E. Smith—was both on-the-ball and excruciatingly white. It seemed like they played more and more awful classic rock as the week went on, tearing into such radio poxes as “Can’t Get Enough (of Your Love)” and “All Right Now” whenever there was a gap between speakers. And lord, how those Rotarians danced—the jutting jaws, the awkward twirls. And the snapping—sweet, fanciful Jesus, the snapping! Although to be fair the dancing at the DNC will enrage me, too.

At least the Democrats’ platform won’t make it seem like they’re dancing gleefully before the attack, like shadows gathering at the foot of Bald Mountain. Still, it will be mass of rich white people who are well regarded in their communities, plus a handful of promising young people of color who have shown the potential to become rich later. What this country needs is a black nationalist party. It probably wouldn’t win a lot of presidential elections, but it would almost certainly not play “My Sharona” at its convention. Now that he has finally come home, I nominate Gucci for any position but one of responsibility.

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  1. Wow, that Park MacDougald piece is really good. I felt my heart racing as he said stuff that I knew was true but the majority of my clickbait-sharing facebook network did not–words have meaning. People are entitled to use “fascist” however they like, but it lends no authority to their critique if they can’t write an essay on what it means.

    Enjoying Park MacDougald because it undermines people who do things I don’t like is a base form of enjoyment, pedantic and barely above simple Othering, but still makes it good. He captures in words a feel for history that I stumble to express. Frustrated by a lack of appreciation for how societies change I often try to convey what I learned by studying history. I tell people getting all uppity about gun control that the religious right didn’t exist until they coalesced to oppose radical hippies in the sixties. I tell people that their hand wringing over Google Glass is indistinguishable from the introduction of radio and TV. I tell people their commitment to third party candidates are futile and their disregard for BlackLivesMatter is shortsighted. People don’t seem to understand where change in society comes from. And since I apparently didn’t learn enough to convey these lessons, I really appreciate it when someone points at real threats instead of tired-ass distractions.

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