“Certainly not every Trump voter is a white supremacist, just as not every white person in the Jim Crow South was a white supremacist. But every Trump voter felt it acceptable to hand the fate of the country over to one.”
— Ta-Nehisi Coates
— The First White President
Among the liberals Jon Stewart occupies a special perch as a Mark Twain lite*, palatable to many because he holds the position of national class clown willing to squirt seltzer at both republicans and democrats. Call him a journalist and he will tell you he’s a clown. Call him a clown and he will give you a perfect satire of fake news. It’s been a hugely successful strategy.
However, following the coup that installed the Trump regime Stewart made several statements that chastised the larger liberal community for labeling all Trump supporters as racist.
Stewart’s point is this: Yes Trump is a malignant troll, a misogynistic, racist, professional demagogue and amatueur facist who is so catastrophically stupid, psychologically damaged, volatile, paranoid, and so emotionally crippled that a ouija board could easily be used to better effect as president.
But the people who voted for Trump are not all bigots. He says he knows these people and loves them and they don’t hate Muslims they’re just angry because they can’t afford their insurance premiums.
There are two types of people who voted for Trump: Bigots and people who don’t care that Trump is a bigot.
Some of them are the type of people who vote for a bigot because they seemingly don’t care if minorities and people of some religion, other than theirs are punished or disenfranchised, or killed.
And as long as the trains run on time, and their health insurance premiums don’t go up, it’s alright to vote for a man who wants to torture people, kill their families, ban people from traveling to this country because of their religious faith or country of origin, and views the constitution as toilet paper.
It’s alright to vote for a man who encourages violence against reporters, lies and then doubles down on his lies with more lies and boasts that he could get away with murder which places him in the running for America’s answer to Benito Mussolini, or Juan Peron or August Pinochet.
It’s alright to vote for a man who believes the ongoing environmental collapse and genocide is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, and who trots out a rotating cast of third rate Nazgul and Nurse Ratched’s who spew neo-fascist threats about obedience and glory to the cult of the great leader.
It’s alright to vote for a man whose dubious grasp of reality and sketchy-as-fuck business history make him a target for blackmail, extortion, and political calamity.
It’s alright to vote for a man whose connections to the authoritarian goon running another country threatens the stability of our country, the safety of our allies, and is willing to betray the assets of intelligence agencies tasked with the dangerous work of keeping psychopaths from killing civilians.
Because, not everyone who votes for such a man, is a bigot.
They just are the type of people who vote for a man, who is.
So here’s to Jon Stewart. He can distinguish between the man who sells the rope and rents the tree, and the mob watching the strange fruit swing in the breeze.
See Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article, The First White President here:
*Christopher Hitchens was correct to point out the inherent absurdity of suggesting that Jon Stewart was on par with Twain as one is a comic and the other is a novelist of genius.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein saga the usual Tourette’s syndrome outbursts of hypocrisy have increased.
First we consider Stephen Colbert. At the end of his run on the Colbert Report he had noted Beat poet, neo-fascist and mass murderer Henry Kissinger on to wave at the crowd because, we assume, it was ironic and when you think funny, naturally you think of napalm. Fast forward a few years and Colbert, making his bones as an Anti-Trump spokesman, brought Trump mouth of Sauron Sean Spicer out on the Emmys to make fun of…Trump’s fascism, and his general unhindered jitters and shakes personality.
Where the morally gelatinous Jimmy Fallon continues a deep slide into irrelevancy because he did not consistently attack Trump, Colbert gets a free pass.
Which brings us to John Oliver. Speaking to the idea of hypocrisy in the entertainment industry because, he claims, everyone knew about Weinstein’s abusive behaviour, and said nothing, they are all guilty – neglecting to mention of course that he is…in the entertainment industry. He then draws our attention to Weinstein being kicked out of the Academy but Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and Mel Gibson remain members (so to speak) in good standing.
Of course the first issue here is Oliver having nothing to say about his friends and their hypocrisy. Or his own. In other words, it’s ok for his pal Colbert to make nice with Spicer and Kissinger, and it’s ok for Stewart to make distinctions without a difference in his defense of people who voted for Trump. But failure to mention Weinstein’s abuse means you’re a hypocrite. And of course, he’s right – it does make you a hypocrite just like not calling out Colbert and Stewart makes you one as well.
As to the three people he mentions the only one who should have been expelled was Polanski. Drugging and sodomizing a thirteen year old girl is so morally repugnant that his continued membership in the Academy speaks directly to the inherent hypocrisy of capitalism.
This is separate from the legal issues of the case. That Polanski was betrayed by the legal system and then protected by it, that the victim has asked for the prosecution to be dropped and that the continued prosecution owes more to politics than to the law are all relevant but whether he is guilty or not the Academy’s claims to morality remain a pile of shit so long as he is allowed to remain a member.
As to Cosby the legal process is not done. And until it is done the Academy should do nothing. If and when he is found guilty then he should be expelled.
As to Gibson the issue is one of free speech. That Gibson’s comments were vile is only in dispute among the sort of people for whom things like the First Amendment are at best an annoyance and worst a subject fit for target practice.
The moment the Academy establishes a rule for acceptable language and language used privately or outside of their work for or with the Academy, they eliminate the protections afforded by the right to speak freely.
To see a brief summary of Oliver’s argument click the link below:
Another woman has come forward to accuse Polanski of assault. If the accusations turn out to be true or vindicated by the police than it is well past time to for the Academy to expel Polanski.
Of course this raises a series of complex questions centered around people like Errol Flynn and a host of others. For example compare this to the people braying for Barry Bonds to be kept out of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown but who are alright with Ty Cobb being enshrined.