By ann summers
Like other civil conflicts involving ethnic cleansing, the fevered fantasies of some Americans can all go sideways quickly, even as their cults have existed informally and formally in US history.
Now we have not only our first reality-TV president but one who seems likely to govern as if the world were a single great reality show to be produced, with plot twists coming daily: Hamilton tweets.
An Apprentice-style smackdown with TV-news executives. Bitch, I didn’t come here to make friends!
It is leadership by pseudo-narrative.
Even Orange Gasbag fancied himself as Batman in one encounter with a child after disembarking from his helicopter.
Comic book expert Will Murray was the first to identify Batman’s debt to The Bat, but the story goes deeper. Kane and McCulley were both influenced by an even older source. D. W. Griffith’s 1915 THE BIRTH OF A NATION (a disturbing combination of landmark film innovation and unbridled racism) contains the first origin story for a masked hero’s costume.
After seeing his homeland under “Negro rule,” future Klan leader Ben Cameron sits alone “In agony of soul over the degradation and ruin of his people.” A group of children appear as if in answer. Two white children place a white sheet over their heads, and the black children are terrified by the ghostly sight. “The inspiration.” Cameron stands, now ready to act. “The result. The Ku Klux Klan . . . .” In the next frame sit three mounted Clansmen in full costume.,,
Bill Finger’s plagiaristic impulses, however, are better documented. Finger was only a year old when Birth of a Nation premiered in theaters, but a sound version was re-released in 1930, giving him and the rest of the Batman creative team opportunity to view it first hand. McCulley was already 32 in 1915. He would not have needed to view the film a second time to be influenced by the origin sequence. Most likely McCulley borrowed from Griffith, and Finger borrowed from McCulley.
But however you draw the lines of influence, the KKK still haunts one of comic book’s most cherished superheroes.
[If you’re interested in a fuller treatment of this argument, see “THE KU KLUX KLAN AND THE BIRTH OF THE SUPERHERO” in JOURNAL OF GRAPHIC NOVELS AND COMICS.]
Unfortunately mufti is the garb for most contemporary ethnic cleaners.
The alt-right’s priority, first and foremost, is preserving America’s status as a white-majority nation. To that end, they want Trump to follow through on the most extreme immigration ideas he’s discussed — such as deporting millions of undocumented immigrants and banning Muslim immigration. These steps, they think, will slow what they call the “dispossession” of America’s whites.
But the alt-right wants Trump to go even further. They want him to slash rates of legal immigration and defund groups that advocate for immigrants, like La Raza. Ultimately, they want Trump to push the boundaries of acceptable opinion to the point where the nakedest of naked racism becomes permissible in mainstream public discourse…
Jared Taylor wants Trump to push for a “pause” in issuing green cards, a step that Trump has gestured at but never fully spelled out. He wants Trump to end federal funding for Latino rights groups like the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). He wants him to use executive authority to limit the number of immigrants admitted for the purpose of family reunification.
“There is no end to the good a president could do if he were really convinced that immigration should benefit us rather than foreigners,” Taylor writes.
But alt-rightists’ ambitions for Trump go beyond mere policy. They want him to rewrite the boundaries of the politically possible.
The alt-right believes, at its core, that the American government has been poisoned. Poisoned, specifically, by the ideology of tolerance and multiculturalism. So long as the United States is officially committed to the idea that all people should be treated equally, regardless of race or creed, then it cannot take the steps necessary to make America a nation for whites.
“There hasn’t been a government on our side for 150 years,” Sam Dickson, an attorney who has represented the Ku Klux Klan, said in a 2011 speech to Spencer’s NPI. “The US government — the system in America — is the greatest enemy our race has for its survival.”
Undoing this means going further than shifting immigration policy, even dramatically. It means shifting the lens through which Americans see politics — ushering in a new, racially polarized discourse in which openly racist arguments once again become acceptable to make.
Trump, with his incendiary rhetoric about virtually every minority group — like calling Mexicans “rapists” and describing black communities as dystopian hellscapes — has helped push discourse in what alt-rightists see as the right direction. Because Trump has gotten away with saying offensive stuff, and seized the highest office in the land while doing it, they think they’ve made progress.
“What are we fighting for is a ‘new normal,’ a moral consensus we insist upon,” Richard Spencer said in his recent NPI address (the “Hail Trump!” one). “Donald Trump is a step towards this new normal.”
Now they want Trump to go even further. They want him to continue using offensive rhetoric, and actually escalate it — to use his Cabinet appointments and the bully pulpit to normalize ideas that mainstream discourse shuns.
Taylor, again, is the clearest on this point.
“A change in tone would be as dramatic as a change in policy because a president and his cabinet have tremendous influence that goes well beyond policy,” he writes in his 2015 piece:
They can put a subject on the national agenda just by talking about it. They can make it respectable just by continuing to talk about it. Actually looking at the pros and cons of immigrants could open the door to looking at the pros and cons of different groups of people. White, high-IQ, English-speaking people obviously assimilate best, and someone in a Trump administration might actually say so. A Trump presidency could completely change what is said about the difference between a crowd and a nation, and what it means to be an American.
But Trump’s own Twitter account and public appearances will likely be supremely helpful with this too. Trump has a tendency to go off the cuff, and make offensive statements, in tweets, speeches, and interviews. What comes out of his mouth and Twitter account is extremely unpredictable — and, if history is any guide, tends to push the boundaries of acceptable speech in an alt-right direction.
To be clear, Trump did publicly reject the alt-right last week, saying, “I disavow the group.” But the phrasing was very weak, so the alt-right doesn’t see it as too much of a setback. Unless Trump stops saying Trumpy stuff, there’s a very good chance they’ll get at least some of the rhetoric they want.
This is all in service of the creation of a white ethno-state, accomplished through “peaceful ethnic cleansing”
- In 2005, the historian Gary Clayton Anderson of the University of Oklahoma published The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1830–1875. This book repudiates traditional historians, such as Walter Prescott Webb and Rupert N. Richardson, who viewed the settlement of Texas by the displacement of the native populations as a healthful development.
Anderson writes that at the time of the outbreak of the American Civil War, when the population of Texas was nearly 600,000, the still-new state was “a very violent place. … Texans mostly blamed Indians for the violence – an unfair indictment, since a series of terrible droughts had virtually incapacitated the Plains Indians, making them incapable of extended warfare.” The Conquest of Texas was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
- On May 26, 1830, president Andrew Jackson of the United States signed the Indian Removal Act which resulted in the Trail of Tears.
More white people are dying than being born in 17 states — including 5 of 6 New England states: https://t.co/7KtkwPD5IL
cc @sdooling pic.twitter.com/nsFCLNIfVf
— Ben Swasey (@benswasey) November 30, 2016